If, like Emily Short, you’ve been lamenting at the lack of decent iPhone creative apps having been made to date, despair no more.
Aya Karpinska has finally had her iPhone / iTouch app – the children’s story “Shadows Never Sleep” accepted in the Apple apps directory. This, to my knowledge, is the first piece of interactive fiction which makes use of the iPhone’s multitouch technology in a non-trivial way – i.e. it relies on the technology to produce readings and experiences in terms of the device’s capabilities, rather than being a case solely of remediation from what would then be a more practical paper-page.
“Shadows Never Sleep” at Aya’s website (includes link to App at iTunes Store)
Admittedly, Karpinska’s use of a somewhat expensive device (with currently pretty much exclusive technological capabilities) for children’s stories throws up a few problematic questions which I needn’t go into here. More important for this project, I think, is the conceptual step of producing literature in ways which are exploiting such capabilities. Her ‘zoom narrative’ takes advantage of the gestural features of the iPhone in which direct contact brings the body into a more transparent reflexivity with the device. From the dissertation:
Large digital projections can be shown on any surface: the wall of a room, a building façade, or a sidewalk. This presents interesting opportunities for digital storytelling, but the scenario of laptop plus digital projector lacks some of the small screen’s key strengths, such as the intimate scale, portability, and the ability to be viewed even in bright light conditions. With the iPhone, I had access to an important feature: the multi-touch screen. No mouse, no pointer, no buttons needed to make a story go. Just fingertips. I was particularly interested in the ability to pan and zoom within the display—left and right, up and down, in and out. The iPhone screen is flat like a page, but unlike a page in that its surface can be flicked and pinched to reveal unseen spaces beyond what is immediately visible. New kinds of writing emerged with the transition from scrolls to books. What if turning pages becomes zooming into surfaces and walking your fingers across a screen?
If you are not a child with an iPhone, you can check out the video of the work and a web instantiation of it here.