Art in all its forms allows for the expression and application of human imagination and skill. We usually associate this with visual arts such as paintings or drawings, music or literature. These forms of expression have been around for many years already, but in the 20th and 21st centuries with the advent of technology, we have found new ways to express ourselves.
We have used technology to create odd and whacky creations. Some people may remember Mario Paint, a Super Nintendo game that allowed people to create images, looping animations and even create music from the comfort of their living room. Others, myself included, will fondly remember Microsoft Paint as their first experience of arts through technology. While my images for the most part may have been crude, the enjoyment was endless.
Technology has advanced in the meantime and gifs and memes have become part of the cultural lexicon. Our fundamental desire to express ourselves has not diminished though and many avenues are now available to us – YouTube, Snapchat and Vine, amongst a myriad of other apps. Understanding both our need to express ourselves and perhaps an understanding that people crave nostalgia, a new app has been launched by a team led by co-founder of Vine, Dom Hoffman.
The app is called Byte and it brings our early experiences of Mario Paint and Microsoft Paint into the 21st century. The apps allows for the creation of single canvas multi-media pieces – bytes. Users can of course draw as they could in Paint, but can also insert gifs and memes from the internet. Other content that can be inserted into the byte includes WordArt-like “Text to Sparkle”, images from NASA and “Florida Man” which inserts headlines reminiscent of the Florida Man meme. Soundtracks for each piece can also be created using a simple composer – the results of which are surprisingly catchy.
The app is not as difficult to use as you would expect and I was able to create some rather wacky content in under an hour (my handy-work can be viewed at http://byte.co/~trinity_news). Byte also has a social side to it – users can upload their content for the Byte community to see. The custom creations from users are truly varied and entertaining.
At present, Byte is only available for iOS, however it has been reported by the Verge that an Android version will be available soon.
Byte represent one in a string of apps being developed by Hoffman. Peach, a messaging app which inserts gifs, drawings and other items via the use of magic words has also been launched. Clearly there is an appetite for apps that feed our desire for creativity if only for nostalgic value, however, it remains to be seen whether apps like Byte can gain traction and become truly social interactive networks or remain niche ventures.