Thursday, February 11, 2010

TED visits Tom Shannon in his Manhattan studio for an intimate look at his science-inspired art. An eye-opening, personal conversation with John Hockenberry reveals how nature's forces -- and the onset of Parkinson's tremors -- interact in his life and craft.

Artist and inventor Tom Shannon's sculpture has been exhibited in galleries and institutions all around the world, including the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. His clever orchestrations of hidden magnets and tiny suspension cables make otherwise inert materials such as steel and wood take on a truly otherworldly quality -- bringing objects like planets, stars and atoms to a scale you can understand (and touch).

Shannon also holds the patents for the first tactile telephone, a color television projector and a synchronous world clock that is in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution. He is developing a spherical helium airship whose entire surface is an LED video screen.