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Touch screens: Interactive art show for kids comes to BAM

Bust a move: At the “Teknopolis” art show, tykes can use the Pop ’n’ Lock Dance Machine to turn a sequence of motions into an animated dance video.
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Talk about techno music!

A digital arts playground for kids will light up the Brooklyn Academy of Music for three weekends starting on Feb. 25, showcasing interactive displays that fuse technology with music, dance, and visual art. “Teknopolis,” at BAM Fisher, aims to turn to turn kids from slack-jawed viewers of the boob tube into interactive artists, and to think of digital files and finger paints in the same category, said the show’s curator.

“It’s really meant to move children away from consumer-based experiences to using it as something to create with rather than just being a spectator,” said Steven McIntosh. “Technology isn’t going anywhere and our kids are faced with it all the time. Through this, hopefully they’ll be able to see technology as something akin to a guitar or a paint brush — as another mode of creative expression.”

“Teknopolis” is a tech-art-musical mash-up of installations, including a virtual reality paint brush that draws in three dimensions, choreographed light displays projected onto suspended string, and interactive projections that look like thousands of dandelion seeds swirling in a breeze. Visitors age 6 and older get 90 minutes to wander between the exhibits, all of which encourage users to reach out and react, said McIntosh.

“All the installations inspire performing arts-like impulses in the participan­ts,” he said. “All of this work is going to get you to move and dance, make music, immerse yourself in a role.”

As each visitor jumps into digital displays, they become part of the show for other audience members, creating an impromptu community of curious kids.

“Not only is the participant having a creative experience, their very experience becomes an experience for someone else,” said McIntosh “It’s very satisfying to see.”

The showcase seeks to spur the next generation of adventurous artists to embrace technology a way to reach out and touch someone, rather than a way to isolate themselves, said McIntosh.

“I was looking for work that doesn’t isolate the participan­ts,” said McIntosh. “Even for the virtual reality, we have monitors up so people can experience what the person is seeing and doing. We want to make sure that person’s experience is helping prepare someone else’s experience. We’re very much working against the stereotype of someone sitting at home in isolation with technology.”

Teknopolis at BAM Fisher [321 Ashland Pl. between Lafayette Avenue and Hanson Place in Fort Greene, (718) 636–4100, www.bam.org]. Saturdays and Sundays from Feb. 25–March 12, 10:30 am–6 pm. $15. ($25 for select evening tickets).

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 10:07 am, February 21, 2017
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