Apple's iPeople get world's largest iPhone arts exhibition

The event might not appeal to crack-smoking lawyers, doesn't need a fingerprint scanner to get in and probably won't make it onto cable, but Apple [AAPL]watchers might be interested in yet another iPhone-driven example of cultural progression, the world's largest ever exhibition of art made on the device.


Introducing the LA Mobile Arts Festival

Organized by the people behind iPhoneArt, the show opens this Saturday August 18 and is part of inaugural LA Mobile Arts Festival (LA-MAF), an eight-day event focused on all forms of mobile art. 225 artists from thirty countries have chosen to exhibit at the show. LA-MAF exhibits also include interactive digital sculptures, film and performance installations.

The existence of the event shows iPhones and iPads are indeed tools for creative expression. It isn't the first time we've heard this message, either: David Hockney, Annie Leibowitz, David Byrne, Bjork, Gorrilaz -- there's a host of world-renowned creative types who've been energetically exploring the creative uses of this technology.

And that's even before you look to the many active uses of these digital tools within the education sector.

Apps for creative folk

Then there's the apps.

LA-MAF is sponsored by: Autodesk, ArtRage, Diptic, Lantronix and Coda Automotive. Three of these make apps, Autodesk develops a full suite of tools for digital expression; ArtRage is a high-end painting app; Diptic offer apps/tools for photographers and Lantronix provides a handy gadget that lets iOS users print wirelessly from their device.

The industry around creative expression on Apple's iOS devices is huge: there's around 7,000 apps for photography on the App Store, for example.

"The mobile arts are all about breaking new ground, and Diptic is a great example of how many artists are able to push the boundaries of the apps they use into unexpected realms," IPA cofounder and LA MAF producer Daria Polichetti told SFGate.

Given the remit of capturing digital expression, it's interesting that the exhibition turned retro in its call for entries, seeking "a new kind of Daguerrotype" show organizers stressed: "Everything is old again. We are looking for artists with a "vintage feel" to their work…"

In a sense, the iPhone art story isn't a new story. Here's three links to keep a technology-savvy culture vulture munching:

"The new technology creates strange effects because it is new and because it is a medium the audience is used to." South Korean film director Park Chan-wook.

"Munich-based design studio Lunar Europe thought up a pretty sleek art piece that doubles as a climbing wall and syncs up with an iPhone app."

The next-gen digital natives are here

There's a point to this, of course: a new generation of digital natives are now reaching adulthood.

The iPhone has informed these people's lives since being in their late teens. The iPod was their musical youth. The iMac was the computer they pestered mom and dad to get. Apple's consistency in delivering high-quality experiences kept them interested.

It's quite natural then that today's modern proponents of the digital arts are actively exploring new ways to use Apple's devices creatively.

Acolytes of alternative mobile platforms may want to take the iPhoneArt people up on this challenge, rather than grouse about the cultural reality I'm reflecting on here:

"Yes. We know the ideal devices for creating the best digital art are created by Apple and are none other than the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. If you disagree with us, please, prove us wrong. Upload artwork created on your Blackberry, Droid, HTC and label it as such and send it our way. We love a challenge. Heck, we might even give an award to the best non-iPhone artwork!"

In a sense, your choice of platform is far, far less important than the impact of Post-PC mobile devices on the cultural industries which, generation after generation, serve to define the age. Creative expression, they say, reflects society. The society we live in today is digital, connected and mobile.

This impact is transforming the enterprise and education markets and creating a new breed of globally connected consciousness. It's about to change broadcast television into a completely new form of content acquisition, in which enslavement to TV schedules will disappear, a move which will likely deliver new opportunities for unknown broadcast talent to come through. This is highly interesting, because where art goes, society, kicking and screaming perhaps, follows.

Where are we going? You tell me. It's your ideas which will get us there.

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