10 Experimental Art Apps on the iPhone

While writing 22 Beautiful & Creative iPhone Apps I found many wonderful apps exploring different aspects of user interaction with art, imagery and sound. Experimental Art applications like these are not new, but user access to them and how they interact with them is.

These devices are small, tactile and allow artists and developers to push apps to millions of users. Users then have the ability to give the artists and developers feedback on their experiences. This is exciting because this dialog will help to speed the development of more apps like these. I hope you enjoy this collection of experimental art apps.

This iPhone app is mesmerizing and beautiful. Combing music and visuals, users can create wonderful soundscape/compositions.

Unlike a normal sequencer where you place notes on a grid and a moving playhead plays them, in synthPond you place nodes in a field (pond).

Because the system is spatial, it’s easily graspable and very intuitive, but also very deep. While it’s easy for someone with no music knowledge to create a complex melody, synthpond is also suited for advanced musicians who are interested in generative musical composition.

synthPond – $1.99

Record Makers - for iPod iPhone iPad
Record Makers
Download this iPhone app if you want to laugh. Create countless combinations of fantastic imagery with one finger.

Record Makers is a French independent label celebrating 10 years of activity. For the occasion, contemporary artists Mrzyk & Moriceau have conceived a truly surrealistic game in which you can create random art with one finger only.

Record Makers – FREE

JD Reflect - for iPod iPhone iPad
JD Reflect
Joshua Davis brings his style in this iPhone app. JD Reflect allows users to take a peak inside his world of random vector images and color.

Created by one of the founding fathers of the contemporary digital arts aesthetic, Joshua Davis, and software designers, Wolter Group, REFLECT explores the artistic side of the iPhone and iPod Touch. Working with shape and color palettes from Joshua Davis, design your own works of art and play with them in a reflective kaleidoscopic.

JD Reflect – $1.99

Buro Destruct Designer - for iPod iPhone iPad
BDD • Büro Destruct Designer
Shake your iPhone or iPod to set the initial minimal, random art. From there you have tools to manipulate and save the art when you are finished. I am having a lot of fun with this one.

Just shake your iPhone to create a virtually infinite number of beautiful designs. Using only circles, squares and a set of rules, Büro Destruct Designer lets you find inspiration for color combinations and graphic shapes.

BDD • Büro Destruct Designer – $0.99

Satromizer - for iPod iPhone iPad
This app lets you glitch your photos on purpose. You are given loose control on how the glitch is applied, but it is pretty random. Super cool concept and fun to play with.

To use the Satromizer, simply touch the screen where you want to add a glitch. You can use multiple fingers to glitch more than one area at a time. To reset the image, just double tap. To load new images, tap the info button. You can load in images from your Photo Library, take a new photo with the Camera, or save your current glitch to the Photo Library.

Satromizer – $2.99

PRTCL - for iPod iPhone iPad
Simple in concept, this app explores the movement of you finger on the display of the iPhone.  As you move your hand points are plotted which then morph into larger circles while changing colors.


Explore mark making, movement and sound in this app.  They do a better job of explaining it than I could:

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz is a sound toy, a performance tool and an art work in its own right. You can play with the letter-creatures and watch and listen how they interact with each other or use them to produce soundscapes like you would with an electronic musical instrument. abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz blends art, biology, fun and physics to create a unique, dynamic and interactive sound ecology.

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz – $1.99

This one breaks the rules of the post a bit because it has scoring which technically makes it a game, but I feel like it leans more toward experimental art.  This hypnotic iPhone app plays ambient sound as you perform the simple task of touching the screen as the correct colored circle passes by.

An ambient reaction game. Touch the screen when a circle is in the zone of the same color. Accuracy is rewarded, missteps are punished severely. Three levels with unique themes and music: “Day”, “Evening” and “Night”.

revolve – $0.99

For All Seasons - for iPod iPhone iPad
For All Seasons
Poetry and storytelling meets art and animation.  Beautifully done.

…a Piece about memories, seasons and using the elements of textual representation of the memory to create an interactive one.

For All Seasons – FREE

Glory Math
Glory Math
This is a hypnotic app that reacts to touch and shaking the iPod or iPhone.

Starting with a blank slate, touch and shake to create constantly evolving shapes and fields of color. Explore color noise, merging liquids, and spastic color bars, each only briefly maintaining existence. In the end, all devolves into a single color state… Until you begin your exploration again.

Glory Math – $1.99

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