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"The walls between art and engineering exist only in our minds."

Or so claims http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7Ny5BYc-Fs, which is as much about Theo Jansen as cars.

His "contraptions" are fascinating, amazing, and have a considerable element of beauty . . . but even before the part of the commercial saying, "The walls between art and engineeing exist only in our minds," I was wondering to myself what he was really trying to do . . . was he more of an artist or an engineer?

Many artists, at least stereotypically, don't have the mind to do such calculations. It's not natural for me, although I did have some advanced math and engineering as an architecture student (the engineering was interesting to me, but I didn't excel at it).

Edited by Chashab
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More on Jansen, courtesy of Wired Magazine:

A self-styled god, Jansen is evolving an entirely new line of animals: immense multi-legged walking critters designed to roam the Dutch coastline, feeding on gusts of wind. Over the years, successive generations of his creatures have evolved into increasingly complex animals that walk by flapping wings in response to the wind, discerning obstacles in their path through feelers and even hammering themselves into the sand on sensing an approaching storm.

A scientist-turned-artist, Jansen's bizarre beach animals have their roots in a computer program that he designed 17 years ago in which virtual four-legged creatures raced against each other to identify survivors fit enough to reproduce. Determined to translate the evolutionary process off-screen, Jansen went to a local shop and found his own alternative to the biological cell -- the humble plastic tube.

"Animals are machines as well," said Jansen. "I was making animals with just the tubes because they were cheap but later on they turned out to be very helpful in making artificial life because they are very flexible and multifunctional as well. I see it now as a sort of protein -- in nature, everything is almost made of protein and you have various uses of protein; you can make nails, hair, skin and bones. There's a lot of variety in what you can do with just one material and this is what I try to do as well."

You can watch more videos of his "kinetic sculptures" here.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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