Emoj:,conned 1 Favorite 



Apr 27 2018

About a year ago my girlfriend moved to Japan to teach English in Tokyo for two years. (Don’t worry, this isn’t a sob story.) Having spent the greater part of our relationship physically separated, thought it was a challenge we felt prepared for. Like any other self-respecting relationship, we constantly exchange obtuse pop culture references and niche anime memes thanks to text and wifi. What we didn’t expect was just how much impact each of our quick messages could have without the proper context and timing. Our reliance on text message communication led me to explore the subject further, in a project called Emoj:,conned (“emoji-conned”).

The internet age has provided us with abilities to learn and grow in ways we could have never imagined. Although the world’s size has remained relatively unchanged (although I’m sure there’s a conspiracy in the works), it feels like a much smaller place. It feels like people that were standing upside down on the other side of the planet might as well be standing right next to us. Places like classrooms and clubs are now more conceptually linked to ideas describing shared ambition and interest. New platforms and institutions are constantly being developed to “bring us together.” Sure, we have the ability to connect with more people from a greater distance, but is that what we really need? Doesn’t it feel like we’ve traded in our deep, if few, relationships for a greater number of shallow ones? Are we capable of piercing this social surface tension today?

I maintain that we are, but, as so many have said before, we have become too comfortable in the isolation provided by our beloved technology. Specifically, the technology that has placed our most pertinent form of communication in a box; our phones.

Companies like Microsoft, Samsung, and, especially, Apple have wrested control of our ability to creatively communicate in the name of ergonomic user experience. Emoj:,conned focuses on Apple and iMessage because it is the most pervasive, yet constrictive, platform to communicate from. It seeks to inspire new perspectives on the constraints it feels like many have settled into. At first glance, emojis are concise caricatures of reactions, but often they represent a scapegoat for conflicting thoughts or feelings we refuse to express with our words. We hide behind them like blindfolding masks. The endless stream of text bubbles spewing from our phones pop off screen and out of mind just as quickly as they are sent and received. One more example to round out

Emoj:,conned isn’t an angry reaction to our contemporaneously text-dependent communication. I don’t think anybody wants to turn their back on our beloved smiling pile of poop! What I hope to inspire with my whimsical amalgamations of modern day hieroglyphics is a newfound sense of ownership over the text. Maybe the next time someone is about to be written off with an eye-rolling emoji, the sender will stop, think, and give them the courtesy of a “I’m not interested, and, honestly, you kinda creep me out.”

Posted by Petersather on