“The Lake District (or Lakeland, as it’s often known) is by far and away the UK’s most popular national park. Every year, some 15 million people pitch up to explore the region’s fells and countryside, and it’s not hard to see why. Ever since the Romantic poets arrived in the 19th century, its postcard panorama of craggy hilltops, mountain tarns and glittering lakes has been stirring the imaginations of visitors.” – Lauren Bentham (Info card on Netherwood sim)
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Strings by Cica Ghost. A creative new installation that merges whimsical charm with a thoughtful musical backdrop, highlighting Vitamin String Quartet. Cica’s lovely scenes are a joy to explore especially with the accompanying music.
Music, uniquely among the arts, is both completely abstract and profoundly emotional. It has no power to represent anything particular or external, but it has a unique power to express inner states or feelings. Music can pierce the heart directly; it needs no mediation.
― Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain
Cica Ghost always has new projects on the horizon, so it’s a good idea to experience them before they are replaced with her latest work.
Now, the distortion continues, and nature is gasping for space.. Reduced Territory, a thought provoking installation by Haveit Neox, open through August at Wolves Land. Haveit’s own vivid words at the installation add a crucial layer of insight to the work. See for yourself, while you can make it.
Little solace comes
to those who grieve
when thoughts keep drifting
as walls keep shifting
and this great blue world of ours
seems a house of leaves
moments before the wind.
― Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves
I am a dreamer. I know so little of real life that I just can’t help re-living such moments as these in my dreams, for such moments are something I have very rarely experienced. I am going to dream about you the whole night, the whole week, the whole year.
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, White Nights
Wander through a world of stories, written along the walls of a labyrinth turned inside out, to reveal its hidden layers of reality. City Inside Out, an exhibit by Haveit Neox, now at LEA20.
There was a sky somewhere above the tops of the buildings, with stars and a moon and all the things there are in a sky, but they were content to think of the distant street lights as planets and stars. If the lights prevented you from seeing the heavens, then perform a little magic and change reality to fit the need. The street lights were now planets and stars and moon. ”
― Hubert Selby Jr., Requiem for a Dream
Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back. That’s part of what it means to be alive. But inside our heads – at least that’s where I imagine it – there’s a little room where we store those memories. A room like the stacks in this library. And to understand the workings of our own heart we have to keep on making new reference cards. We have to dust things off every once in awhile, let in fresh air, change the water in the flower vases. In other words, you’ll live forever in your own private library.”