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Animaris geneticus, or: Intergalactic planetary landscape architect
“Since about ten years Theo Jansen is occupied with the making of a new nature. Not pollen or seeds but plastic yellow tubes are used as the basic matierial of this new nature. He makes skeletons which are able to walk on the wind. Eventually he wants to put these animals out in herds on the beaches, so they will live their own lives.”



Instead of scattering these creatures on a beach, why not release them into the arid, wind-swept open spaces of Antarctica as well? Wait a decade or so until its ice caps have melted away, and watch them scamper about over newly revealed soil. With pollens, seeds and alien microbes gestating inside their plastic yellow tubes, they'll plant new orchards and forests, maybe a farm or two, like an army of robotic Johnny Appleseeds.



How about dropping them off in Chernobyl? Using the ample ambient radiation as their power source, they'll proceed to deposit phytoremediating flora and fauna. In future sites of nuclear disasters, they'll become part of the primary emergency response protocols.


Let's also send them to Mars or Titan or some extrasolar planet. A new breed of intergalactic planetary landscape architects capable of exploration and terraforming: fast, cheap, and out of control.

Powered this time by dust devils, they will seed entire ecosystems, cultivating and pruning for centuries. And even when the planet has been fully colonized, they will still be marching across the landscapes they had created. Inorganic and extraterrestrial they may be, no one is going to dispute that they're an inalienable part of the planet's natural history.

They will also become central figures in the colony's mythology as well. Around machine oxygenated campfires across the planet, terraformers will entertain themselves with stories of The Creation that might as well have been written by Ovid. “The Animaris geneticus wasn't manufactured by NASA, but rather the result of incestuous and bestial trysts between the Gods and the First Colonists,” is how future Aesops and fabulists will start to spin their yarn.

As a way of maintaining social cohesion in a still unforgiving place, colonists will scare their extaterrestrial children with ghost stories of disobedient youths snatched from their beds in the middle of the night by these ancient beasts, who then imprisoned them inside their skeletal frame as their pneumatic creaking, clicking, trilling howls fill the terraformed air.

  • Alex
  • June 21, 2006 at 8:07:00 AM CDT
  • Hi,

    I read your article at your website about Theo Jansen and I take the liberty to inform you about my film „strandbeesten“. It is a documentary about Theo Jansen and his work.
    For this project I have a website like a diary during the production process. If you are interested in our film you will find more information on
    From 22nd June until 6 th July we accompany Theo Jansen to London. There he has an exhibition at ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art) and the strandbeesten will walk on the Trafalgar Square. I try to write an article each day about our shooting.
    Thank you very much for your attention. Please feel free to inform your friends about my website. Best regards,

    Alexander Schlichter

  • Unknown
  • June 26, 2008 at 12:21:00 PM CDT
  • Hi, the spanish version of strandbeest website is ready. If you wanna see, you can click in this url:

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