Watch: Instagrammers meet a herd of beautiful, weird art beasts

A Strandbeest at rest in Miami.
A Strandbeest at rest in Miami.
Image: Jenni Avins
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At Art Basel Miami Beach, the international art fair best-known for the parties that surround it, a meeting at the crack of dawn will only draw the diehards.

This morning, hours before the fair’s first day opened, about 50 Instagrammers, art enthusiasts, and locals—including one puzzled long-haired dachshund—gathered on the beach to watch a pair of 7-foot, hollow-boned structures go for a walk in the wind.

The structures, called Strandbeests, are the creation of the Dutch artist Theo Jansen, and they arrived via shipping container from the Netherlands, along with some much larger cousins that waited, still and quiet, at a sandlot near the beach.

“These are very primitive evolutionary beasts, which just walk with the wind,” said Jansen, securing one of his creations so it didn’t run away.

A helper reminded Jansen of some small side sails he could use in place of an overpowered topsail. He attached them to the structure like little square wings. Before long, the beast dashed for the dunes, its oddly anthropomorphic joints powering its many feet, before being gently pulled back for another run.

“If the wind would be parallel to the beach,” said Jansen. “We could go to the Keys.” The Strandbeests weren’t scheduled for their Miami debut until the more civilized hour of 10:30am, but Instagram called for an “instameet” and sunrise test drive.

The beasts will be going for twice-daily strolls during Art Basel Miami Beach, and will then amble through Nagasaki, Paris, Moscow, and Amsterdam. See if you can catch up with these extraordinary creations here.

The Facebook share photo for this post was taken by Noah Mostkoff, @newteam.