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The Pocket Scavenger

Until I opened an email this morning from a publicist at the Penguin Group (USA), who’d sent me a press release about the company’s newest so-called “creativity app,” The Pocket Scavenger, I was under the impression that I was at least somewhat tuned in to the world of Android apps. But apparently, not so much.

Penguin, it seems, has been busy releasing quite an impressive suite of creativity apps lately, and like their latest, The Pocket Scavenger, many are based on the books of author, illustrator and self-described guerrilla artist Keri Smith.

Smith writes books that are not only about creativity, but that actually encourage it through a series of unusual games and exercises. There was The Guerilla Art Kit, for instance (subtitle: “Everything You Need to Put Your Message Out Into the World”). And then there was Smith’s Wreck This Journal, an especially popular book that featured ”a subversive collection of [journaling] prompts,” and which, like The Pocket Scavenger, was also turned into a Penguin app (called Wreck This App, of course).

The Pocket Scavenger “With The Pocket Scavenger app,” according to Penguin’s aforementioned release, “users will be asked to find and photograph a spectrum of quirky items: three different texturessomething that was plantedsomething you can only find in your local environmenta found notesomething with text on it, and more. Once their quarry is in hand, they can choose to be assigned an alteration dictated solely by chance: turn it into a hat that someone is wearingadd five new colorsmake it part of a self-portraitturn it into a friend, and so on.

“After completing a scavenge, they can then upload their creation to a map … and see what scavenges are going on around them. They can also share their scavenges through Twitter and Facebook before embarking on a new hunt.”

The idea, of course, is to force users to interact with the world around them in new ways by incorporating the magic of chance. “While I’m always excited to publish a new Keri Smith book or app,” says Meg Leder, executive editor at Perigee Books, ”The Pocket Scavenger is particularly exciting. I love the sense of possibility it opens around you as you begin to see the world through a scavenger’s eyes.”

Priced at $4.99, The Pocket Scavenger is now available for download on the iTunes App Store and on Google Play.

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