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'Retrofuturist'
Through May 4, New Langton Arts

THE DIN OF multiple sci-fi soundtracks greets you as you enter the New Langton Arts gallery. One of them comes from Leona Christie's Ataraxy video, which seduces you with fantastic images of beautiful cartoon girls floating through a labyrinth of strange machinery. More electronic noises, combined with blinking numbers, glowing grids, and twinkling star clusters, beckon from Yorgo Alexopoulos's Far Moon multimedia installation in the adjoining room. Christie, Alexopoulos, and the five other artists featured in "Retrofuturist" use science fiction-inspired artistic styles from past decades to create works that seem old-fashioned and futuristic at the same time. Some of them make heavy use of modern software and technology, such as Macromedia Flash (Christie) and DVD (Alexopoulos), but their finished pieces still look like something straight out of a 1960s sci-fi paperback. A few of the artists, like William Swanson and Adam Ross, have drawn seemingly serene, utopian cityscapes. Others, like Luisa Kazanas, have a much creepier vision. Kazanas's To Reach You sculpture shows an actual bird (dead and stuffed) wearing a white space suit and sitting on a branch over a frozen pond, the whole tableau encased in a clear plastic bubble. Usually, putting something under glass or plastic preserves it, but here that's not the case: the bird stares out from its space helmet with unseeing eyes, the pond and the tree branch are plastic, and there couldn't be enough air inside the bubble for a live bird to survive. Rounding out the show are David Huffman's Trauma Smiles figurines (part robot, part Japanese anime, and part stereotypical black minstrel) and Russell Nachman's painted re-creations of '60s sci-fi novel covers. Wed.-Sat., noon-5 p.m., 1246 Folsom, S.F. (415) 626-5416. (Lindsey Westbrook)