Tom Shannon «Airlands» 2000.
written, Designed, Directed by Tom Shannon
actors: Marianna Nahid, Franck Raharisosy, Spela Sterle, Aska Langman, Louis Shannon, Jack Shannon, Nick Shannon.
For over 30 years, Tom Shannon has created objects derived from the macro- and sometimes microcosmic relationships of phenomena in our universe, thus taking into account bodies and forces far beyond the sphere, cone and cylinder that Cezanne saw as underlying all nature.
A number of Shannon's objects have practical applications and have been granted patents from the U.S. government, such as his Telephysical Phone from 1973, which transmits both voice and touch, or the Synchronous World Clock 1986, which tells us the time of day throughout the world at a single glance.
Other works are more visionary in nature, like his proposed Airborne Islands, conceived in 1973, illustrated in photomontages in 1979, tropical landscapes covered by transparent domes that would float about a mile above the earth and wander to various locations around the planet.
Becoming more aware of physical fields, molecular structures and the workings of the mind, he recently told an interviewer, can bring us closer to «correcting the problems that continually plague humanity.» Similar concerns were at the heart of the controversial theories of Buckminster Fuller, the revolutionary architect and engineer who devoted his life to creating designs intended to solve the problems of modern living. Shannon attended Fuller's memorable lectures while a student at the Art Institute of Chicago. But Shannon's interest in modern technology can be traced to his youth. His father was a professional inventor and manufacturer, with over 40 patents to his name. When only 19 years old, Shannon created Squat in 1966, a large robotic device that undulates when one touches the leaf of a plant to which it has been electronically connected. This work was included in Pontus Hulten's exhibition The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age at MOMA in New York in 1968.