Friday, January 22, 2010

iKleinBlue Rejected!

"We've reviewed your application iKB 1.0 and we have determined that this application contains minimal user functionality and will not be appropriate for the App Store."

I thought this might happen because of the unusual nature of iKB, an app based on Yves Klein's art and the color he developed: International Klein Blue.

I can see that this sort of post modern, new realism experiment would easily be dismissed by reviewers. The app basically consists a screen filled with blue (for a similar experience try this web site).

After the rejection, I wrote to the reviewer and urged them to reconsider taking into account the historical and artistic context of the app, the numerous websites dedicated to Yves Klein's art, the philosophy of the real and the unreal, the emphasis on a raw material and a on a unique and pure color and even the impressive market value collectors attributed to his paintings (one sold for $21,000,000 in 1962), all despite the fact that they were basically simple blue rectangles. iKB was priced at the bargain price of free! I also asked that they take into account the explanation I gave on the app's web site, the research I did to get the closest representation possible of Klein's color on an iPhone including aquisition of real ultramarine pigment which I then used to make the artwork for the app's icon.

One of the reason I did this app was that I thought Apple's platform was well suited as a medium to reintroduce Klein's work. Apple's design philosophy has many parallels with Klein's art. Listen, for example, to Jony Ive in the new imac promotional video "... just display and then no display." and then listen to Klein's monotone symphony, a note and then no note.

I did try to stretch the arguments and mentioned to the reviewer that if they really require more functionality they should notice the slight gradient in the blue color giving the appearance of a matt texture. It's even animated to the accelerometer using drawing functions only available in OS3 which makes the app incompatible with iPhone OS2.

In a nutshell, I asked that they don't reject the app for its immediate simplicity but that they look at the greater context.

I got a second e-mail saying I should add more functionality and resubmit. After a reply rejecting this idea, they called me on the phone to tell me I should do a gallery showing multiple Klein artworks and descriptions.

But this all goes against Kleins philosophy. And regardless, art shouldn't be explained, it should be experienced. Plus all the information and descriptions one could want is already available on the iPhone to any one who can be bothered to type "Yves Klein" in the web browser.

The point of the app was to make a direct impact and introduce Yves Klein through a transposition of his ideas to today's technology and media. Maybe you could call it a new virtual realism.

In the end it was another interesting experiment in what can get through to the app store. Maybe recognizing an art experiments is above what can be expected from a large scale review operation responsible for judging the level of parental control that should be applied to toilet humor apps and softcore pornography.

I certainly don't regret the time I have spent even if it didn't result in a virtual lineup of people waiting to download my app like when Klein presented "Le Vide" (The Void) exhibition consisting of an empty all white gallery.

Plus, I now have an artwork and an interesting conversation piece in my living room allowing me to introduce Klein and his awesome color to guests and visitors.


  1. I'm sorry to hear this. I don't even have an iPhone, but I think this would have interested me a lot.

  2. You could try to submit it to the unauthorized store for jailbroken iPhones.

    Unfortunately, I don't remember how to to do that at the moment, but I'm sure Google can point you in the right direction.