Philia 01 Support Video from Lia on Vimeo.

Artist Lia has created her first piece of art for the iPhone and iPod touch, something called PhiLia 01. It’s a quirky, gorgeous generative sound and visual app activated by movement, one that encourages users to save their own artwork.

On the iTunes Store

Composer Morton Subotnik used to talk really eloquently back in the days of multimedia CD-ROMs and The Voyager Company about computers as “chamber music” environments. Instead of seeing the personal scale of technology as an impediment, he viewed it as something intimate and wonderful. So it’s fantastic to see artists engage mobile platforms as a way to have that relationship with a participant.

There’s now also a page up that is beginning to collect some of these particular artworks, focusing on generative-style interactive creations, and featuring work by our friend Memo Akten. Joshua Davis’ kaleidoscopic artmaking tool Reflect, which he showed for the first time at OFFF earlier this month in Lisbon, is enroute.

Open Source iPhone Art

The way in which these tools are being created is interesting, too. PhiLia is built in OpenFrameworks, the open source C++-based development tool made friendlier for artists with integrated toolsets, a community of friendly creative folk, and simplified, speedy syntax similar to Processing. OpenFrameworks, thanks to its open source nature, has made its way onto the iPhone.

Part of what this demonstrates is that, while the iPhone itself is proprietary, some of the power of open source can still triumph. And, indeed, by basing work on this open source foundation, these same artists aren’t imprisoned by a single platform. PhiLia could be a desktop app, or on other mobile platforms once they support OpenFrameworks.

And, yes, it means I’m aching that much harder to get OpenFrameworks and/or Processing onto Android – it should be possible. (Java on Android is not identical to Java on desktop, so it can’t be a direct port – you can’t just install Processing on Android – but it is possible.) There are also still some wrinkles in the App Store approval process; it really is refreshing on Android (and presumably things like Palm WebOS) not to have those restrictions.

Then again, that’s the whole point: OS and specific platform shouldn’t have to matter, and open source software – and artwork – can be just as brilliant on a proprietary platform as an open one.

Ready to try this yourself?

Developing for iPhone using openFrameworks and ofxiPhone []

Using openFrameworks for iPhone dev [Rober Carlsen]

On the OpenFrameworks Wiki

You can thank Lee Byron, Memo Akten, Damian Stewart, Zach Gage, and the core OF team (Zach, Theo, and Arturo). The “power of open source” is not some sort of magical whirlwind that surrounds code and makes things appear spontaneously – it’s blood, sweat, and tears (unpaid!) by real people. Although, if you get those real people together in a room and do some sort of battle shout or Care Bear Stare (sorry, I’m an 80s kid), it might help psych you up.