Annamika iPad app (2011)

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Annamika is an app for the iPad and a collaboration between artist Catherine Hubert and software engineer Scott Collard.

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Meditative and visually stunning, Catherine Hubert’s artwork in the Annamika application stimulates both the eyes and the intellect. Based on the high-performance OpenGL engine of Scott Collard’s Kaleidoscope X, the app also takes full advantage of the iPad’s interactive nature – and its ability to showcase artwork.

Touch and drag to rotate one of the constantly morphing images, pinch to zoom in or out, or tap twice to change the full-screen image to the classic kaleidoscope circle. Speed and color can be changed, and screen shots can be saved to the user’s photo library. The app also takes advantage of the iPad’s new VGA-connector option and delivers live video at the device’s native 1024×768 resolution. Essentially it turns the iPad into a Video-DJ tool.

Each of the ten works of art is named for a city, and the hand-drawn imagery reflects its design culture in color, detail and mood. “Venice,” in grays and white, was inspired by Venetian lace, while “Bangkok,” a riot of red and gold, recalls Southeast Asian textile motifs.

As a designer, instructor and fine artist, Hubert has always looked for the place where design intersects with and is elevated into art. Since 2000, she has created artwork in various mediums with the central theme of radial symmetry. “I’ve always loved patterns, color and symmetry,” she says. But Annamika, built upon her drawings and software created by Scott Collard of Gritless Digital, has strong intellectual and spiritual components as well.

“Annamika was created to provide viewers a place for meditative contemplation,” says Hubert. “Radiating designs are found in many kinds of religious art, from the mandalas of Buddhist art and Islamic muqarnas domes to the rose windows of Gothic cathedrals.”

And the name? Annamika, in Sanskrit, means “Without a Name,” and is given to avoid the destiny a child’s name is thought to predetermine – an appropriate handle for artwork that is constantly in flux and subject to the viewer’s whim.

Catherine Hubert is also fascinated by science, especially theoretical physics. “Supersymmetry is a vital concept in string theory. The curvilinear lines in my artwork are inspired by photographs of subatomic particles; the spirals that jetty out of the mass explosion,” continues Hubert. “But,” she laughs, “You don’t have to be a monk or a physicist to appreciate Annamika. It’s really a feast for the optic nerves.”

Hubert sees the iPad as a superb new medium for creating and displaying art. “David Hockney is using it as a sketchpad, John Baldessari had developed an interactive app, and David Kassan has created a whole body of work using the iPad and the Brushes app. I love that we have the technology to do things that I dreamt of as a child,” says Hubert. “The future really is now.”

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