Cucalu is a new photo app which encourages its users to interact with the outside world, before making it digital.
“Start exploring” says Cucalu, the brainchild of Dutch visual artist Daniel Disselkoen. The app, currently available for iPhone users, is a new take on the hundreds of already popular photography applications. Cucalu asks its users to look for and take photos of circles around them, wherever they may be. The circles can be natural or man-made, and conform to a series of levels. Disselkoen says that he was inspired to create the app after his time spent travelling, when he appreciated his homeland even more on his return. The concentric circles of the roads and canals of Amsterdam show a simple starting point for the now global app.
Each stage of the app asks the user to take a photo of a circle: anything from a friend’s eye to an acorn to a window. Once the image is captured it can be uploaded, where its quality, based on creativity, photographic merit or inventiveness, is judged by the app’s other users. Points awarded by the other users then unlock the challenge on the next stage.
Cucalu, from the Dutch word “koekeloeren” (“to look around”), aims to encourage the next generation of iPhone happy snapping photographers to be more aware and perceptive of their surroundings. Disselkoen says that the app “gives you a new pair of eyes and while the missions take place on familiar territory, discoveries can only be made by looking anew at the everyday.”
Cucalu allows you to get creative with your surroundings, combining an artistic eye with an awareness of your environment. The app manages to strangely combine a real-time awareness of users’ surroundings with a desire to digitalise them, and then share them virtually with others. “I don’t think you need to travel to the other side of the world to see new things,” Disselkoen says. “With Cucalu, the ordinary suddenly becomes a discovery.”