Cellphone city art

Found via Textually.org > Engadget Mobile > Make (nice trail):

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Artist Jorge Colombo (Portugal) made a couple of cityscapes by drawing with his fingers in an application called Brushes on an iPhone. He also posted a short movie showing in speed-up how he created his drawings. You can see all of the drawings on his website. Not only do these drawing look really nice, they also come quite close ‘the urban experience’ of neon lights, big structures, and a blurry sense of movements and speed. The medium indeed perfectly fits the subjects depicted. It also possible to relate this to the theme of “urban computing”, as an artistic way to ‘write’ one’s experience of the city, as Greenfield and Shepard call it (though, granted, this experience doesn’t ‘stick’ to the location as a kind of locative tag; that should be the artist’s next step!).

What I think is really interesting about is how the mobile device gradually becomes a platform for creative production and playfulness, like the (desktop) computer has been for much longer. A similar kind of creative production on mobile devices has existed for a while in the digital music scene. Here, the iPhone is used as an interface for music sequencing, tracking and beat creation. And in a related field called Chiptunes or 8Bit music, much older portable devices such as Gameboys have been given a brand new second life in being used to make electronic tunes. Also, as posted elsewhere by me, the mobile phone is increasingly being used to make (short) films. Last example: the mobile phone is used to not only read but also write texts and even entire novels. This has to do with the fact that many Japanese make long commutes by public transport.

It’s really nice to see how the mobile phone develops from a platform for consumption of services to a medium for creative production as well. Moreover, some of these examples clearly indicate that there is a relation between artistic creation on mobile platforms and the physical surroundings and urban experience, apparently much more so than with fixed computers.

Michiel de Lange

Michiel de Lange (1976) is an Assistant Professor in New Media Studies at Utrecht University, researching mobile media and urban culture and identity. He is the co-founder of The Mobile City, an independent research group founded in 2007 that investigates the influence of digital media technologies on urban life and the implications for urban design and policy. Michiel is trained as a cultural anthropologist, and holds a PhD in philosophy (2010) with a dissertation about mobile media technologies and urban identities. He collaborated in a locative media art & science project (www.nomadicmilk.net). He worked for  Kennisland, a Dutch think-tank that aims to strengthen the knowledge-based society. Here he worked on several projects at the intersection of ICTs and the city, e.g. co-organizing the Creative Capital conference. He also volunteered and worked for Cybersoek, a computer neighborhood center in Amsterdam. He is advisor e-culture at Mediafonds.
Michiel is on Twitter and LinkedIn.