Feb 2, 2007

Lightascope is a fitting product with which to wrap up Art Month.

It's a thin sheet of plastic that attaches (temporarily) to the face of your flat panel TV. The plastic is mostly opaque, stamped with one of six fetching stencil-like patterns, and the clear areas filter the color and light emitted by the screen into abstract, ever-shifting patterns.

Our first blush response to this was that it seemed a little silly. But Jason, who wrote in about it, described "wonderful, glimmering diffused light...a wonderful way to bring the campfire and starry sky magic we all crave indoors."

We thought of the mesmerizing effect of the iTunes Visualizer, and the happy relaxed state that prolonged staring at its kinetic fractals can induce...and that helped us shelve our doubts long enough to explore the Lightascope simulator on the company's website. We began to understand the appeal.

A tech-savvy riff on Indonesian shadow puppet theater? A meditation tool? A conversation piece at a party? Rave stim? Whatever else you use it for, it's also an appealing way to fight the domination of rooms by flat panel screens.

Lightascope is homegrown in SF by Daniel Goldstein and John Kapellas. Prices run from $135 to $199 on their website, TV2ART.

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