We report measurements of the flow above a planar array of synthetic jets, firing upwards in a spatiotemporally random pattern to create turbulence at an air–water interface. The flow generated by this randomly actuated synthetic jet array (RASJA) is turbulent, with a large Reynolds number and a weak secondary (mean) flow. The turbulence is homogeneous over a large region and has similar isotropy characteristics to those of grid turbulence. These properties make the RASJA an ideal facility for studying the behaviour of turbulence at boundaries, which we do by measuring one-point statistics approaching the air–water interface (via particle image velocimetry). We explore the effects of different spatiotemporally random driving patterns, highlighting design conditions relevant to all randomly forced facilities. We find that the number of jets firing at a given instant, and the distribution of the duration for which each jet fires, greatly affect the resulting flow. We identify and study the driving pattern that is optimal given our tank geometry. In this optimal configuration, the flow is statistically highly repeatable and rapidly reaches steady state. With increasing distance from the jets, there is a jet merging region followed by a planar homogeneous region with a power-law decay of turbulent kinetic energy. In this homogeneous region, we find a Reynolds number of 314 based on the Taylor microscale. We measure all components of mean flow velocity to be less than 10% of the turbulent velocity fluctuation magnitude. The tank width includes roughly 10 integral length scales, and because wall effects persist for one to two integral length scales, there is sizable core region in which turbulent flow is unaffected by the walls. We determine the dissipation rate of turbulent kinetic energy via three methods, the most robust using the velocity structure function. Having a precise value of dissipation and low mean flow allows us to measure the empirical constant in an existing model of the Eulerian velocity power spectrum. This model provides a method for determining the dissipation rate from velocity time series recorded at a single point, even when Taylor's frozen turbulence hypothesis does not hold. Because the jet array offers a high degree of flow control, we can quantify the effects of the mean flow in stirred tanks by intentionally forcing a mean flow and varying its strength. We demonstrate this technique with measurements of gas transfer across the free surface, and find a threshold below which mean flow no longer contributes significantly to the gas transfer velocity.