The man I would like to write about has mesmerized me a few years ago and still makes me follow his progress. It is possible that you’ve already come across the work of this so called Da Vinci of these days on the Internet. His artworks have been multiplying in there, as they are really unique. A few years ago I didn’t have this possibility but now I’m pleased to introduce Theo Jansen.
I don’t like writing biographies, so I’ll just put it briefly: Theo used to study physics but then he discovered himself in drawing and left the university. I won’t be talking about his early artworks either. I was suddenly captivated by his unique way to see the world around us and to perceive motion as a phenomenon. What I admire most is that when it seems that a certain problem doesn’t have any other resolution, someone appears and makes you conceive it in a completely different way. Theo is exactly that type of person who created an alternative for such an old and common artifact as a wheel and simply asked “Why not?”
Another marvelous thing is that the meaning of his kinetic creatures is more aesthetic and philosophical than scientific or financial (actually, I cannot be certain, therefore, I leave it to decide for those who’re more concerned about this). For centuries land transport was confined to circular frame. But if we move on our own feet why human came up with an idea to move things with a help of wheel? It’s understandable as a circle is a primitive figure and it might be made without much effort there’s no wonder that prehistoric human gladly accepted it. On the other hand, this proves that before mentioned prehistoric human indeed had a different perception and a flexible mind since everyone else around probably imagined that the transport of the future will be based on walking and on everything what they see in motion around.
This art is both social and philosophical that’s why it’s so charming. When I see Theo’s creatures gracefully passing windy sands I start believing that this artist and the man upstairs are somehow connected in a particular way. Even though, one of them changed the world more than another, nowadays we seek to leap from our daily wheels to air gliding. While an ordinary man believes that everything is already invented, that all chords are discovered and that all technologies are projected hundreds of years ahead, Theo simply turns away from the so called progress and closes up in his own world.
I will create my own laboratory for sand creatures on the top of this mountain” that’s what Theo said when he started his project in Ypenburg.
Kinetic sculptor – that’s how he names himself. Theo also claims that his artworks are living creatures. This might be true, since we are all pushed by natural forces and his “Sabulosa” (a sand fly) or “Animaris Rhinoceros” (a rhinoceros) that instantly become in motion with the help of the wind. These wights might even be conscious as they already distinguish land from the sea. And where’s land, there they can slowly move while wind nurtures them. Could this be a generation of artificial intelligence? But again, these questions are philosophical. Each scientist could easily come up with a contradiction.
I could meditate and meditate on this matter. Even though others may find it worthless but that magical never ending leg motion, as well as the wheel, hypnotizes and like a fresh whiff of air gives a very pleasant feeling. For this reason, I find Theo Jansen’s invention truly meaningful.