TU Delft to participate in Museum Night

This year, you can exhibit at the Museum Night too. All you need to do is become Theo Jansen… Okay, not quite. In May, a joint project between Sports en Cultuur and the organisers of Museum Night gives students a chance at designing mobile artworks like Jansen, works that will then be displayed to the people of Delft on Friday, October 24.

‘The walls between art and science exist only in our minds’. These now famous lines by Dutch artist Theo Jansen exemplify this workshop. Called ‘Build Your Own Theo Jansen’, this 14-week courses teaches students how to make Jansen’s trademark Strandbeesten (Beach Animals) – but with an evolutionary twist. While the Strandbeesten cannot function in water and thus remain on the beach, the challenge for TU’s techies is to create beasts that can walk on water.  

Jansen, who studied physics at TU Delft, was involved in a number of crossover art-science projects while at the university. Though he began working with PVC pipes in the late 1970s, the Strandbeesten project began in 1990. Today, the animals have detailed skeletons that can function autonomously.

“Given his association with Delft and TU Delft, Nina Voets, the project leader of the Museum Night, felt it would be interesting project to collaborate on. The idea is to teach participants how to build these animals with PVC wires and used plastic bottles, like Theo Jansen does. But, we want to take it a step further so they can be adapted to work in water as well. Just like nature is always evolving, these Strandbeesten will evolve as well,” said product designer Marc Borger who will be teaching the class. 

While technical knowledge is not necessary, a certain amount of knowledge will help of course. The process involves a lot of handiwork, from melting the wires to created hinges so that the animals can move their ‘limbs’.

 “While planning the Museum Night for 2014, we considered all the public spaces in Delft that could be incorporated. We realised that the canals are unused, except for a few days in the year when private boats come out. So we considered the idea of having exhibits on the water,” says Rene Jacobs,  of Gallery of the Kunstkop, one of the co-organisers of the night.. “We have always wanted to do something with TU Delft and involve them more in the events, this was a great way to do so,” he adds.

If all goes well and the participants of this workshop pull it off, Delft’s ducks and swan will soon have company.

For more on the course. For more on Theo Jansen, check out his TEDxDelft talk.

Editor Redactie

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