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January 17, 2008|PAUL YOUNG

Call me new-fashioned, but I've always had a soft spot for emerging art forms, especially kinetic and interactive works. "People are coming around" to interactivity, says Eleanor Stewart, director of UC Irvine's Beall Center for Art + Technology, "in the same way that people had trouble accepting video as art, and photography as art before that."

The Beall's current exhibition features the work of Computational Poetics Group, of Vancouver, Canada, which uses 100 screens, six speakers and a computer to create the equivalent of David Hockney's Cubist photography. Each screen depicts a close-up of flesh, mostly from different people, yet they combine to create a single image of a man or woman that changes as the viewer moves about the room.

Other artists are connecting their works to even larger systems. James Turrell, the lord of luminance, anticipated that idea in 1996 when he linked the lighting of each floor of the Mondrian to scrambled signals from local TV channels. But the L.A.-N.Y. design team Slap! has taken it further for a show opening Jan. 25 at SCI-Arc in downtown L.A. Here, fluctuations in the cosmos weave thousands of LEDs, acrylic strands and sounds into a synchronized web.

There's a slight Big Brother aspect, but these are cognizant works seemingly beseeching us to become more aware.

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-- theguide@latimes.com

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