Refresh is an art app for iPhone and Android (in the app store its called Refresh by Owen Ribbit because Refresh has already taken by an unpublished app).  This started as an Internet based project that was in reaction to some research I was doing on net art.  It tells a story in a sort of maze, with buttons connecting pages in a narrative, while each page will time out at a certain point and Refresh the app back to the beginning, modeling video games that send the character to the beginning of a level each time they “die”.  Through repeated readings of these pages the viewer pieces together the narrative and learns the various pathways from beginning to end.

iOS Simulator Screen Shot Feb 11, 2015, 2.32.51 PM iOS Simulator Screen Shot Feb 11, 2015, 2.35.14 PM

iOS Simulator Screen shot Jan 7, 2014 9.21.29 PMiOS Simulator Screen shot Jan 7, 2014 9.21.34 PM


I built it in HTML/CSS/JavaScript, but was starting to think a lot at that time about smart phones as a platform for art and storytelling, also as a reaction to my research on net art, because platforms like Apple and Android provide a much higher degree of control over digital work than is possible on the web.  In theory you could create something and control the price of it and way it is viewed.  There are other obvious limitations, one being censorship on the Apple platform as I experienced with more frustration while creating Something Ave., and another being accessibility, as not everyone has a smart phone, though it’s hard to think of people I know who don’t use smart phones at this point.

Anyway, having built it with web languages, I realized PhoneGap might be a good way to quickly build a mobile app version and send to Apple, as I wanted to see if something like this would even make it into the app store, essentially an art app or an app that doesn’t clearly fit into one of Apple’s categories, which include things like Business and Games, and doesn’t “do anything” as a lot of people have asked when I explain it.


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