JODI: ZYX-app (2012)

Equally on-site & online
Wildly experimental
Dive in deep
Pretty sophisticated
JODI performance ZYX-app, Net.Specific

ZYX-app is a smartphone application developed by JODI that allows the user to become the performer and to experience the usual interface and surroundings in a new way. ZYX uses the iPhone or iPod Touch’s built-in motion-tracking capabilities to guide users through a series of gestures endemic to using a cellular phone, from turning in a circle to raising your arm up and down as if looking for reception. Each time the user performs a gesture correctly, the phone clicks. When all the gestures have been completed, the device sounds an alarm in celebration.

ZYX situates the user in a realm that is both virtual and physical, now often referred to as hybrid. Bystanders see the user performing a strange dance; in contrast, the iPhone observes and rewards the user’s adherence to a prescribed set of movements. This dissonance between the virtual space inhabited by the iPhone user and the physical space occupied by the observer has become an everyday phenomenon, exemplified by the experience of passing someone on the street who appears to be delivering a nonsensical monologue, when they are in fact speaking into the microphone of a wireless mobile device.

The application has a corresponding website that has both code and small illustrations showing the application in use.

JODI is a collective of two internet artists, Joan Heemskerk (NL) and Dirk Paesmans (BE), created in 1994. They were some of the first artists to create web art, software art and artistic computer game modifications.