"N0things" (2012) is an iPhone app by Constantijn Smit.



The form of this work is an iPhone/iPod/iPad application which functions as a sort of photo filter. The user can subtract, or better yet, abstract a simplified geometric shape from the picture. This shape is uploaded to a database where all shapes of all users are collected. This collection is then segmented into different classes into which the collected shapes are 'stored'. The segmentation is done based on all the shapes present. So the collection is dynamic and changes through the collected shapes.

The user will receive feedback about the shape and its place in the collection (and maybe his or her role compared with other users). For example: Well done! Your shape is now part of the pink cube section! There are 32 shapes in this section in which you contributed 4!. Or similar feedback in a graphic form.

However, the collection is analyzed periodically and it could happen that your personal collection of shapes is suddenly completely scattered. Rendering earlier valued shapes, because they were for example rare or part of a whole set,  suddenly unimportant and vice versa. The user will have (but also want) to start collecting again, and again, and again. Not only to fill the 'new' collection or explore the edges of the collection but also to try and have an impact on the whole.

I guess it is a game of life through abstract imagery.

Says Smit: As an artist in residence at the Summer Sessions of V2_ I try to create a work that is basically about nothing. A work that paradoxically tries to appeal to an audience as if it is about something but then the user will experience nothing really. Despite this void experience my goal is that the user keeps using the app even though it serves no goal. In this way the meta-experience beyond and above the direct use of the work is of an existential nature. The ultimate goal is to confront the user with the question why he or she keeps doing endless repetitive actions for superficial rewards even though he or she knows that it serves no purpose, has no end nor goal but at the same time remains worthwhile.


The app is available on the Apple App Store.

N0things by Constantijn Smit (2012) from V2_ on Vimeo.

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