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THE FINE ART OF HIGH-TECH

The University of South Florida Center for Research in Arts and Technology: Smarter Than Dogs. Performances 8 tonight and Saturday at Theater II on the University of South Florida in Tampa, 4202 E Fowler. Tickets are $6, $3.50 for students and senior citizens. Call 974-2323 (Hillsborough) for information.Don't be put off by the title.

Smarter Than Dogs came from a fragment of text that we're not even using now," said John Mitchell, who is the musician at the center of the peculiarly titled multi-media work premiering tonight. "It came from the question, that, if pigs are smarter than dogs, why are pigs always being eaten? The piece has gone in a totally different direction."

Never mind that the answer to the pigs-versus-dogs debate would be different if we were in Korea or Taiwan (both centers of canine consumption). Mitchell and a cadre of artists are collaborating to produce Smarter Than Dogs at 8 tonight and Saturday night at Theater II on the University of South Florida's Tampa campus.

The piece, according to Mitchell, has little to do with dogs and much to do with technology. Mitchell is a talented composer/performer who has worked with dancer Gary Lund to create dance/music pieces that feature innovate uses of technology. Lund and Mitchell both danced and played in a piece last year, which used light- and touch-sensitive activated sensors to produce music from a series of electronic instruments.

For the current project, Lund and Mitchell are working with other musicians, visual artists, a poet and other dancers to create a work that integrates all those disciplines into a single work. While the idea of combining the arts is not new (opera is probably the best modern example of collaborative art), the use of computer-generated images and music, combined with chance elements and performance, is innovative.

So innovative, in fact, that the Commodore computer company is partly sponsoring the event.

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