Apps & Playful Creativity

This is a list of apps that emphasize the intertwining of words, visuals, and music through creative play. While some incorporate unique artistic qualities, a lot of these apps are on this list because they offer playful experiences that can be quite immersive and inspirational, despite being contained in such small spaces.

Apps & Creative Play: Flomm

Screenshot of the game Flomm, from their website.

Flomm

Flomm by Flomm Modern brings classic gaming and art history together in a unique way. The game is designed as a metaphorical battle between modern art and tradition. It’s rich with references to art and literary movements. Their website also provides interesting background details, including essays, resources, and even a Flomm Manifesto where you can add you name as a Flommist. Available (purchase) for iOS.

Fracture

Fracture is created by James Alliban, a visual artist and programmer. Fracture lets you create portraits, using your own photos, in a Cubist style that follows after the techniques of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. It feels intuitive and expressive to use, your fingers act as a brush across the screen unveiling your results in real-time. Alliban’s other projects are quite fascinating as well, including another Ipad app, Composite. Fracture is available (to purchase) for iOS.

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz

Yes, that really is the app’s name. Media Artist Joerg Piringer is the creator of this and several other apps that turn letters into tiny creatures full of character, gliding across the screen and creating intriguing soundscapes of the alphabet. Konsonant is another similar text experiment by the same artist that playfully merges layers of sounds and visual effects. abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz is available (to purchase) for iOS.

Apps & Playful Creativity: PolyFauna

Exploring the ambient world of PolyFauna

PolyFauna

PolyFauna is an experimental collaboration between the band Radiohead and Universal Everything. The app draws you into virtual realms pulsing with electronic sounds, that react and transform as you navigate through the ambient surroundings by moving your device. A truly mesmerizing experience that reflects a unique vision towards app design and Radiohead’s experimental approach to music. Available (free) for iOS, as well as Android devices.

SoundyThingie

Soundy Thingie by Hansi Raber is an amusing toy that turns simple line sketches into animated sound elements. It includes a short tutorial that gives an introduction to how simple or complex the sound thingies can become. Available (to purchase) for iOS.

Foldpass

Foldpass by Galaxy & Sons is a simple but innovative reinterpretation of the game “Exquisite Corpse.” The Idea of the game is for one user to start the first line of a Haiku poem, invite friends to write the following lines, and then complete the piece with a background image. The blend of words and visuals is a creative take on this collaborative game, and the results are often amusingly quirky. Available (free) for iOS.

Apps & Playful Creativity: Thicket

Playing with the visual music of Thicket.

Thicket

The creators Interval Studios describe Thicket as “an audiovisual playground that allows anyone to create beautiful sounds and pictures from simple finger touches.” The app creates hypnotic generative art that follows the movement of your touch, and reacts with rhythmic sounds and music, so that it also doubles as an interactive musical instrument.  Available (free) for iOS.

Hypnoglyph

Iotic have worked on several experimental apps that involve interactive sound, visual distortions, generative art and even a font design that you can download free here. Hypnoglyph feels like a fusion of a kaleidoscope and glitch art, resulting in some very pretty images. Available (free) for iOS.

Compasso 2

Compasso 2 by RubyJock embraces the concept of expression through technology. It works like a sound synthesizer that reacts to your movements, changing tones and effects as you turn around or wave your device in different directions. It’s available (free) for iOS. The founder of Compasso 2 shares his vision on the itunes preview page, with words that nicely sum up why these apps can be so fun to try out:

Directions. We take a lot of them in life, I know I have. Ups and downs, backs and forths, tough times and worse times. All the while you sing an inner song, an inner note. Each side of the brain is an oscillator. Sometimes it feels good to detune a little- and sometimes it feels great it really does.

If you are inspired by creativity that connects textual elements, visual art, music, programming, and playfulness, you’ll probably enjoy a few of the apps on this list.