How many people are in your smartphone’s address book? Now that these devices automatically sponge up the metadata associated with every incoming call, email, or text message, it’s not uncommon to have a contacts database containing thousands of (mostly inessential) items. Leo van der Veen, the app developer behind Barcodas (which transforms bar codes into music), sees our overstuffed digital address books as a data source to mine for similar artistic purposes. His new app, Kontakt, scans the contact list in your iPhone and reformulates them into simple, playful infographics. Think of them as sparklines you can dial.
The menu of infographics that Kontakt morphs your phone numbers into includes boldly colored bar charts and line graphs, as well as less obvious visualizations like extruded pie charts and illustrations of daisies. The app can even play back these patterns as music, too.
Like Barcodas, Kontakt is more of a generative art toy than a useful tool–after all, even when navigating a contact list thousands of items long, alphanumeric search is still the most efficient way of finding the item you want. But there’s something undeniably appealing about seeing your more important contacts (like your family, friends, or even the hot one-night stand you’re hoping calls you back) translated into unique visual patterns. Maybe the most interesting takeaway from an app like Kontakt is how it reminds us that the mundane, mostly invisible datasets we surround ourselves with can be brought to life in surprising ways with a just few lines of code–and the creative will to see them with fresh eyes in the first place.
[Read more about Kontakt. Top image by Shapiro Svetlana/Shutterstock]