iScream (2009)

iPhone home screen hack
16x empty iPhone applications with custom icons, custom software
Duration: N/A

1ch HD Video, 2ch sound
Duration: 1:06

iScream was born out of multiple frustrations in dealing with Apple’s new iPhone:
1.) Having a number of art applications rejected on the App Store for ‘not being functional enough’
2.) The awkwardness of trying to organize icons on the iPhone home screen, a gestural interface language not yet established as the norm, also buggy and unforgiving in implementation.

iScream consists of 16x iPhone applications that do absolutely nothing. Each one has a custom icon, which is a small section of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”. Using the iPhone’s built in home layout interface, one can jumble up or re-align the tiles until the original painting is revealed; locked behind the iPhone home screen with the icon spacing acting as black cage bars.

Music “Raindrops keep falling on my head” excerpt by Henry Mancini. A joyous ode to the acoustic-guitar-driven soundtracks used by the official iPhone commercials, acting as an ironic reminder of the infiltration of this ‘game-changing’ device – and the values it brings – into our lives. Its ‘fantastic’ features and powerful marketing acting as a distraction while pushing such closed systems – that defy the owners / users the most basic rights of choosing what they wish to install – to become accepted by the public without question.

The iPhone App Store is based on a curated model, whereby Apple decide which apps are allowed on the app store, and they reject apps based on ridiculous reasons such as “it isn’t functional enough” or “it wouldn’t appeal to a big audience” or “there are already similar apps like this”. This would be ok if the Apple App Store was one of many stores from which users of the iPhone could choose to buy their apps from. Then it would be perfectly normal and it is the right of any store owner to choose and hand pick what it wants to sell. However Apple goes further by prohibiting its users – all iPhone users – to buy and install apps from any other shops. If Apple rejects an application from their store, there is no legal way to distribute that application to public. This is the equivalent of buying a record player from Sony, and then finding out that technically you are only allowed to buy and listen to records from Sony Stores, which Sony deems appropriate for you to listen. While everyone I’m sure will not stand for the record player analogy, for some reason they are happy with the iPhone / App situation.