A couple of years ago I listened to this IT Conversations podcast of an interview with the Dutch artist Theo Jansen on the subject of his "Strandbeest" project. Unseen it was fascinating enough, but the films of his creatures are truly (and you'll pardon the pun once you've seen them) mind-blowing. What's particularly interesting to me is that this project is implemented as a collection of real physical artifacts, not simply computer simulations. I find particularly romantic the notion of "releasing" herds of these creatures on the beaches of northern Europe, to roam freely until solar radiation eventually destroys their plastic-tube skeletons and ends their lives.
I'm posting now, and sort-of off topic vs. the usual subjects here, simply because I find myself telling folks about this over and over about it, but not always remembering the artist's name or the name of his creation. So, sorry to webbier friends if this is an "echo" in your aggregators, but if you haven't seen it, it's a must.