‘Your screen is the window into an evolving world.
Move around to look around.
You can follow the red dot.
You can wear headphones.
You can get some pretty strange looks on the train.’
This sums it up nicely. Radiohead’s new app PolyFauna takes you on an abstract journey into your subconscious. I’m resisting all the easy drug references that could be attached to making an interactive trip like this one, instead I recommend just getting in there to see it for yourself (Download here for iOS or Android) as it’s a truly immersive experience.
In the spirit of Björk’s Biophilia project, this app for Radiohead takes you to explore alternate realities on multiple levels of a virtual universe. It’s like digging down a wormhole into your subconscious, and it is not always a pretty experience.
PolyFauna is inspired by Radiohead’s last album The King of Limbs, and the imagery and sounds are taken from the brilliant Bloom from that record. For the project Radiohead collaborated with experimental interactive design agency Universal Everything to create the app. And what an amazing job they did. While testing the app I tripped and banged into furniture a number of times. That’s because the interactivity and gyroscope sensitivity of this app makes it a completely flawless and engrossing experience. It really feels like you are looking around a subconscious world, wandering through and experiencing it as you turn with the device.
This flawlessness comes from the simplicity of the app design. Vast, minimalistic landscapes, abstract plant-like elements that float around which you draw and bring to life to with your touch. Restricted colour schemes and moody gradients set the scene for every beautiful level of this ‘Radiohead consciousness’. It is a nice balance between “less is more”, but still with lot’s to explore. A red dot guides you to the next dimension, which can be quite a relief as some worlds make you want to leave quickly, whereas some layers make you want to explore in all thier depth.
The soundscape for the app has been created from Bloom and is obviously a perfect match as it pulls you in even further. If you take my advice you’ll install this app on your tablet (iOS or Android), plug in your noise canceling headphones and play around in a completely dark room. Remember, if it get’s too depressing, just follow the red dot to boost you to another landscape! Have fun!