MulengaMoji

In 2016 as part of the online residency *Dancing Girl Emoji* I begun a project exploring the increasing use of emojis, reaction GIFs and memes to communicate in online space. The vast amount of data and information we consume has given rise to a new form of language in which ideas can be summed up succinctly with simple text, or even a single image. The popularity of themed emoji apps such as Kim Kardashian’s Kimoji, Amber Rose’s MuvaMoji, and Blac Chyna’s ChyMoji capitalise on this development as a way to further promote their personal brand. I looked at this aspect further and created my own set of themed emoji and GIFs based on previous work of mine, and explored the nature of self promotion and pictorial communication. I created additional GIFs for the group exhibition Futura Free: A Sensing which showed at 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning, and created stickers and postcards which were on sale at Firstsite gallery for the duration of my solo exhibition Taking Up Space in 2017.

 

This year, I revisited this project and created five further emoji portraying notions of comfort, convenience and pleasure. The series comprises a shaved head emoji, a CBD oil emoji, a sneaker emoji, and aloe vera plant emoji and an emoji depicting candles. Emojis are a type of shorthand, and new emojis which come as part of phone operating system updates often reflect the needs of users; for example when options became available for emojis with different skin tones- or depicting same-sex family units. As emojis encompass the normalisation of various aspects of culture I wanted to use this mode of communication to highlight the subject matter I chose. As women our discomfort, pain and labour is often viewed as a natural and inevitable part of our existence, and our comfort and pleasure is often dismissed as secondary or irrelevant.