Shih Chieh Huang doesn’t make art that’s meant to be admired from afar. He dissects and disassembles the detritus of our lives—household appliances, lights, computer parts, toys—and transforms them into surreal experiences.

Why you should listen

Shih Chieh Huang has one goal with his art: to create experiences for people to explore. He finds inspiration for his work from some highly unusual sources: a bioluminescent fish, a garbage bag, even his belly button.

A TED Fellow, Shih Chieh Huang grew up in Taiwan, where he enjoyed discovering strange objects in his local night market. He developed a passion for taking apart everyday objects and transforming them into something new. These experiences—as well as a  fellowship at the Smithsonian Institute studying bioluminescent organisms—deeply inform his work. 

Shih Chieh Huang has created a helmet that records the movement of the eye, and then uses the blinks to turn on and off a nightlight. He’s also used similar mechanisms to send glowing water pumping through tubes. His most recent work, however, takes plastic bottles, garbage bags and other everyday items and transforms them into gigantic sculptures that move and light up—as if they were actual sea creatures.  

What others say

“There's an infamous scene in 'American Beauty' where video voyeur Ricky says the most beautiful thing he ever filmed was a plastic bag dancing in the wind. Shih Chieh Huang, takes that logic and evolves it to the nth degree.” — The Creators Project

Shih Chieh Huang’s TED talk

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