Project Errmoji (2020), Ars Electronica .ART Global Gallery

Short Description

Project <Errmoji> explores a possibility of non-conforming emojis, as an attempt to include the deeper realm of facial expressions into social network system. The project started with an observation on how the diversity of our identity, emotion, senses are uni-coded into the current set of Emojis. Appropriating the efficiency and effectiveness of Emojis in delivering socially conforming expressions, <Errmoji> symbolizes instead some mal-functioning moments of our faces. Those are the moments processed amidst the experiences of losing control over facial muscles; abrupt and irresistible burst of certain feelings; (un)conscious fixing or hiding of them to meet with social norms and expectations. <Errmoji>, hence, captures the most under-disciplined, undefined, and unseen possibility of our facial expressions. In implementation, the artist trained a deep learning facial recognition system with high-speed serial shoots of human faces captured in nightscapes. The pre-processed outcomes were then re-generated with face transfer network in synchronization with facial expressions in real time.

Inhwa Yeom, <A Set of Errmoji>(2020)


The idea of Errmoji stemmed from a question on what still remains under-represented in open sources where such values as inclusion, diversity, and accessibility have been a major steering force. Emoji, being a partial open source, have universally been distributed to augment the efficiency, effectiveness, and creativity of communications among technological human beings. Throughout my previous open source contribution projects, however, I found a paradox embedded in the nature of them. When they reach a certain level of democratization, it might as well form a set framework on human thoughts, expressions, and interactions.

Addressing this issue in practice, I have actively exploited other open sources to check and balance against a possible ”closedness” of such frameworks, or to explore an unexpected possibility of them. In Errmoji, I used free deep learning algorithms and creative coding languages to visualize what are invisible from one most universal way for visual and visible communications. In this case, the pursuit of clear and understandable delivery of messages would have overshadowed the fact that humans have faces that are inexplicable, unfathomable, unintentional – considered “erroneous” in digital environment. And yet another question would rise: what if those erroneous moments are included in Emoji?

In finding answers, Errmoji primarily recalls some open sources intrinsic to ourselves: the muscles, bodies, feelings, and their expansive scope of expressions. Employing technological open sources, it also implicates the fact that human expressions are as diverse as frames an algorithm can generate. With all those resources combined, Errmoji experiments the possibility of self-expression and affirmation – aberrant from the current set of Emoji, or the algorithmic unicode – to be circulated in the social network system.

Published by Inhwa

Media Art & Tech / Heuristic Life 🏄🏻‍♀💜

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