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Peter Sarkisian: Extruded Video Engine

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Once known for things austere and esoteric, New Mexico artist Peter Sarkisian has of late created colorfully illuminated sculptural animations sometimes described as 'impossibly futuristic, brightly colored language machines." They are in fact backlit digital projections beamed onto machine-shaped plastic shells that recall retro sci-fi marvels. Inspired by Katrina as a mass-media event, Sarkisian interviewed New Orleans residents and asked them to compare their personal experiences with the media reports during and after the storm. Luminous before-and-after Katrina news topics mechanically swirl as verbal commentaries available via earphones provide counterpoint. It's all about the mass-media spectacle as it was experienced. If that sounds like a theme that's a tad overworked by now, Sarkisian's treatment is unique, a mysterious series of high-tech pyrotechnics in sharply colored light and polyvinyl. — D. Eric Bookhardt

Through Oct. 5

Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp St., 528-3800; www.cacno.org

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