Prize-winning art, on your tablet and in the gallery

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An exhibition of creative apps is on view in Germany and will tour internationally

Visitors interact with the App Art Award winners at ZKM

If there is one European institution where you would expect to find an exhibition honouring those working at the interface between the arts and technology it’s ZKM—Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany. The exhibition, which will later tour internationally, presents the winners of the App Art Awards, now in its fourth year, where €10,000 prizes are given for achievements in the creation of smartphone and tablet applications in the fields of Artistic Innovation, Crowd Art, Sound Art, and Art and Science.

At a lavish awards ceremony in Karlsruhe—including interactive theatre and laptop-driven music performances—the prizes were given as the developers demonstrated their wares.

The prize for Artistic Innovation went to Last Clock from the international developers New Mediology. Designed for iPads, this striking, beautiful app uses the tablet’s camera to create three concentric time circles, sampled from live video set to coincide with seconds, minutes and hours. Depending on where the pad is placed, each twelve-hour sweep might create a timeline, say, of the changes in weather from a window, while the second hand sweep would capture slices of what happens in front of the window every 60 seconds.

The German studio BTF took the award for Crowd Art for Lasact, an interactive smartphone app that allows multiple users to control the movements of an RGB laser projected onto to the side of a building or into the sky.

The prize for Sound Art went to the Belgian designers Superbe for Geometric Music. Users using smartphones or tablets running Apple or Android software can sample sounds that are then controlled using on-screen circles, triangles, squares and hexagons. Volume and pitch are controlled by the size and position on screen of the shapes, while the repetition is controlled by the number (or lack) of corners.

The Science and Art award went to the South African developer Ernst Uys for Sablo, his graphic interpretation of a model from theoretical physics that predicts the actions of individual grains of sand in a pile as more grains are added.

The exhibition will close temporarily on 18 August in the Media Museum as ZKM prepares for renovation, before reopening in the neighbouring ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art on 12 September.

The final itinerary for the touring exhibition, in association with the Goethe Institute, has still to be announced, but in previous years the show has been seen in Washington, DC, Chicago and Los Angeles in the US, in Ottawa and Montreal in Canada, in Mexico City and in China, Taiwan and Korea.

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