HERE’S WHAT THE ARTIST SAID:
How do you transport the beach animals?
The beach animals are divided into segments of 2 to 3 meters and stored in containers, they are transported by boat or by truck.
How much time does the design process of a large beach animal cost?
In the spring I bring a new animal to the beach, which I built in the winter. The process of thinking and design precedes building. During the summer I do all kinds of experiments with the sand, the wind and the water. At the end of the summer I made all sorts of adjustments to the beast and I became a lot wiser. Then I declare the beast extinct. In other words the process for developing a new strandbeest takes an average of one year.
How did you come up with the idea?
In the 80’s I was a columnist for De Volkskrant (a Dutch newspaper). The pieces I wrote were a kind of trips in the imagination. In one of those columns I wrote about a kind of skeletons on the beach that moved by the wind. They scooped up sand and my idea was that they would raise the dunes in that way and protect the Netherlands from rising sea level. I was obsessed by this idea and bought electricity tube in a DIY store. After some experiments with it, I had gained so many ideas and inspiration that I promised myself to give one year to this material. This intention totally got out of hand.
What kind of material is the tube made of?
It is made of PVC, which is known in the Netherlands as electric conduit. It is used to conduct electricity cables. It has a kind of yellowish colour, it is light material and it is also cheap. I would prefer to use a more environmentally friendly material, however the disadvantage of other materials, such as bamboo, is that it rots away at the beach. The PVC tube is the only suitable material that can withstand the given circumstances such as sun, sea, wind, water and beach.
Do you also love the animals like a person or a pet?
I love my animals but not in the same way as I love people, for that they are too far away from us in evolution.
Do you sometimes think of swimming or flying animals?
Yes, I think often about this, however the starting point of my animals is that they must be able to survive. Swimming or flying animals are less suitable for this.
How heavy is a beach animal? And how many meters of PVC tube is there in a beach animal?
A big animal is about 180 kg. There is an average of 2 to 3 thousand meters in an animal.
What is the function of PET bottles on the animals?
The PET bottles are a type of wind stomach for the animals. The wind is stored with the help of the wings. The wings on the back of the beast wave in the wind, they are connected to a crankshaft, on the crankshaft are pumps that pump air into the PET bottles to high pressure. They can use that pressure to drive their muscles, for example, to walk or to drive senses.