(Also posted on The Mobile City blog)
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 on this blog, 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.