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Joshua Davis creates open source art with Reflect iPhone app

JoshDavis I have been a fan of Joshua Davis for a long time for several different reasons. It started with his work as an early Flash pioneer with Praystation and that he was a one of the first people to release their Flash code as open source so everyone could learn and grow from what he was doing. I have continued to be a fan as he has transitioned into speaker, artist and technologist. If you ever have a chance to see him speak it is worth not only to be able to hear about how he creates his artwork but because I think it is fantastic to watch the jet lag and Red Bull fight for control of his brain (you can see a good sample of what I mean here).

His artwork is created using a technique called generative art in Flash by inputting different design elements into computational systems that use them to create the final piece of art. I have been drawn to and collect his work because I not only love the look but because of play between the left brain/right brain intersection that happen when you bring art, technology and interactive together like this. This week he opened up his art and took it in a new direction with the launch of the Reflect iPhone application. You start in Designer mode where you can choose one of his six distinct visual systems and one of ten color palettes. Then it gets really interesting because you collaborate with the application to create the final work of art. You draw on the canvas to control where symbols are placed but the application uses dynamic abstraction to select the symbols and colors so each piece is always unique. This is the type of left brain/right brain intersection I was talking about and love. When you are happy with you creation you can save it to your photo gallery for various uses or put in into the Kaleidoscope view within the application.

I would love to see Apple celebrate and promote applications like this in the iTunes application store instead of things like the ‘The Moron Test’ that I think doesn’t do anything but prove that if you buy the test you are a moron. I have found myself spending a disturbing amount of time with this application over the past 48 hours enjoying the experience, the artwork and the inspiration I find from this intersection of art and technology.

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