Emoji is all we have

Performative conversations


Emoji is all we have is a series of four films featuring conversations Luna and Roel have had revolving around the relationship between humans and machines. Does digitisation manoeuvre us towards a more rational, frictionless and optimised world? Do emoji have the potential to represent our emotions? Can you still be a tech optimist?

Four performative conversations about how digital culture informs our daily lives, about the selfie, the ego and our shrinking tech optimism. The conversations took place against the backdrop of the Swiss mountains and the old village of Tschlin. The faces of Roel and Luna are painted yellow to create an emoji-persona having the conversations. A special construction with a smartphone attached to a helmet was developed by Thomas to film the faces from upfront.

The viewer becomes witness of a conversation where pleasure, assertiveness, validation, fragility and insecurity constantly alternate. Real emotions seep through the yellow painted faces and their authority on the subject matter seems less founded than they thought.

'Emoji is alle we have' was on display at REBOOT Pioneering Digital Art, Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, October 2023 - May 2024

Emoji is all we have - Prologue

With a yellow painted face Roel mimics emoji provided by Unicode

'Emoji is all we have' is a short film reflecting on our current state of digital culture.

While technology is intended to help and support our human shortcomings, this film depicts a reversed hierarchy between man and machine. The man adapts to the dictating machine.
It thematises the safe harbour an emoji can be. Emotions are served to us as a binary unicode, stripped from doubt and complex layers. The struggling, imperfect human with its multilayered, subtle, facial expressions are mapped onto perfectly defined, simplified and frictionless icons.

The pandemic has forced many of us to lead an even more digital life. Available technology defines the possibility space and the nature of our communication, now physical contact often is not allowed. We are placing an increasing amount of surfaces, screens and interfaces between ourselves and the ones we are communicating with. Those surfaces are effectively blocking covid, but as a side effect they also affect our emotional sensation.