AppArtAward 2017 – Highlights
The coveted trophies.
Fri, July 07, 2017 – Sun, June 10, 2018

In the artistic design of apps new tendencies emerge in rapid succession. To follow these aesthetic and technical developments and to award prizes for the best apps is the mission of the AppArtAward competition, now in its seventh year. Besides the principal categories »Game Art« and »Sound Art«, this year's competition features for the first time the category »AppARTivism«. By combining activism and art, we are keeping abreast of the numerous recent developments in which new media are being utilized in the arts for social or political concerns.
To give an impression of the vivid variety of AppArt, in addition to this year's award winners the five highlight apps of 2017 are presented in the exhibition.

The winners of the AppArtAward 2016

Prize for AppARTivism: »Polluted Selfie«

by David Colombini
»Polluted Selfie« is a web application connected to a sculptural stand that holds your phone and contains a sensor that allows you to take a »polluted selfie«. A filter alters the appearance of the image depending on the surrounding level of pollution recorded in real time by the sensor. Instead of letting you show your best angle, the »Polluted Selfie« lets the levels of three main air pollutants (PM, CO2, and CO) each affect a different parameter of the image. PM (Particulate Matter) determines the level of glitch in the image, while CO2 and CO impact its color. As a result, no single »polluted selfie« looks the same. The app allows citizens to act as environmental activists by sharing their images, which indicate pollution levels, on social media. Adopting an aesthetic inspired by Net Art, glitch, and computer viruses, »Polluted Selfie« also suggests that it is possible to be digitally polluted. / Web application for Android 

Prize for Game Art: »Glitchskier«

by Shelly Robin Alon
»Glitchskier« is a classic and challenging »shoot-em-up« game with a surprising aesthetic. It combines smart programming with the look of illegally downloaded software in last fin-de-siècle style. The user interface looks like a virtual retro-desktop, on which the players open »files« via the long-lost double click to start the game or change its visual appearance. This virtual return to old designs and structures allows users to reflect on our modern interactions with smartphones and tablets. / Application for iOS, Android, and Windows 

Prize for Sound Art: »Mazetools Soniface«

by Jakob Gruhl and Stephan Kloß
»Mazetools Soniface« is a visual synthesizer and groove sequencer application – a software that allows you to create various styles of electronic music on mobile devices. Bringing together the words »maze« and »tools« represents the interaction between exploration and expression offered by the app. Its immersive music space is based on common aspects of notation and production, including the circle of fifths, Alexander Scriabin’s color-organ, and polyrhythmic percussion, as well as conventions from digital music production and mobile app usage. The framework of action is a grid that works audiovisually, with each line representing a single note. The grid can be morphed through multi-touch gestures, and the sound of the synthesizer modulates simultaneously. A circular editing interface provides several sound and visual effects. / Applikation für iOS, Android und Windows 

Prize for Sound Art: »Visual Beat«

by Max Mörtl
Interactive music video »Visual Beat« blurs the distinctions between the ostensibly passive audience and proactively creative directors and musicians. App users become a part of the artistic process, contributing to the musical arrangements and visual design of a variety of music videos. New combinations of sounds and films can be created from a versatile and multi-faceted repertoire of instruments and vocals. The music video construction kit provided by »Visual Beat« was composed collaboratively for the project by four very different musicians – Mohna, Nutia, Clara, and Dobré – and four specially developed stop-motion animations bring these musicians to life. / Application for iOS, Android and Windows


More Highlights from the Competition 2017

Crazy Cow

by Jouni Hätinen
The »Crazy Cow« is jet-propelled and eats melons and strawberries while flying through a labyrinth of hay. The app appears to just be a simple jump’n’run game. The players can navigate the cow through four different levels in which they have to collect certain items, or take on the classic task of overcoming obstacles. The »fuel«, though, is limited – the petrol on the fields, the kerosene in the air, and the oxygen during a dive – so the player must find the most efficient path through each level to get a high score. / Application for iOS 


by Seph Li
In »EXODUS« you role play a little boy flying around a giant, quiet and lonely city. A mysterious glass ball drops into your hands and it seems to be guiding you to brightly colored balloons spread over the monochrome city. Every time the boy picks up a balloon, an image arises showing a scene of the boy together with a girl. As the balloons are collected the glass ball is gradually dyed with colors, but to find out what happens when they are all collected, you must follow the boy until the end of the game. / Application for iOS

Schnaubi & Lisu – Early Bird

by Studio Fluffy (Johannes Riesterer, Chiharu Schmalzriedt and Sierk Schmalzriedt)
The good-natured elk Schnaubi loves fresh apples and his best friend, the smart squirrel Lisu, flies around in a balloon to pick the best fruit for him. But inquisitive birds repeatedly threaten to puncture Lisu’s balloon. The player who controls Schnaubi and Lisu on a smartphone or tablet develops an individual strategy of navigation through turning and touching. By tapping the screen, he or she blows Schnaubi, Lisu, and the balloon up into the air. To navigate, the smartphone or tablet is tilted to the left or right. When the player takes his or her finger off the screen, Lisu sinks downwards and the elk can finally tuck into his tasty apple. Jazz guitarist Christian Nold’s music and the cheerfully illustrated scenery create a happy mood and an engaging gaming experience. / Application for iOS 


by Ryan Alexander and Gabriel Labov Dunne
»Seaquence« is a music app for iOS that enables you to compose sounds with collections of marine creatures, each with its own synth voice. Only the voices of the creatures in view can be heard, resulting in organic and dynamic soundscapes as you explore and create your mix. Each creature’s body and tail are generated from the parameters of its synth and sequencer, which in turn modify its swimming patterns. You can share your sessions with friends or discover what other people are developing to get inspired. Even composers who are brand new to music and synthesis will be able to unlock their synesthetic creativity. / Application for iOS 

Zip Zap

by Philipp Stollenmeyer
»Zip Zap« is a game of physical skill in which a virtual mechanical building element has to be moved so that a white dot is reached, either directly or with the help of other elements. The obstacles are the laws of physics – friction, inertia, and momentum – but these hindrances can also be of help. The initial element can be moved in a very restricted way: it can only be bent and reopened, rather like a simple muscle. As the player controls it only by touching and letting go, interaction with the interface is reduced to a minimum. And although the player has minimal control over the action on the screen, the impression arises that the few elements assemble themselves into a simple, living creature. In this way the game shows how easily empathy can be generated. / Application for iOS

Exhibitions team

Project management:  Stefanie Fritz
Technical management: Volker Sommerfeld

Organization / Institution
ZKM | Karlsruhe

Key topics