Tom Shannon & Looking

Check out these two TED clips to tour the amazing work of artist Tom Shannon:

I've been thinking a lot about the intersections between art and science ever since I attended the Phillips Collection's second annual Art & Innovation Design Gathering, which was cosponsored by the University of Virginia. We need more art that utilizes science. We need more science that engages art. I've never been able to attend a TED conference, but I think I got a tiny glimpse of the energy inherent to them from that day at the Phillips. The theme was "looking," i.e. using experiential learning and dynamic interactions with change agents to explore the power of perception and cognition; the art of looking slowly. We were given the opportunity to talk with artists Tobi Kahn and Sam Gilliam (the latter of whom has just installed a piece that hangs the entire height of the new wing's stairwell); learn from UVA professor and cognitive psychologist Denny Profitt how the human eye determines horizon line (in both daily life and on the canvas); and enjoy Ren Weschler's theory of convergences (both real and imagined). 

It was an amazing session of revelatory, substantive conversation, and I felt so lucky to have been invited. In these days when the popular economy runs the danger of choking the creative economy, it's encouraging to think a curator would judge it worthwhile to add a poet to the mix. DC has all it needs to foster such collaborations. Let's get Tom Shannon to the National Science Foundation, STAT.