kissmiklos' emograms pay homage to the first smiley face at gwangju design biennale 2019
 

kissmiklos' emograms pay homage to the first smiley face at gwangju design biennale 2019

as part of south korea’s gwangju design biennale 2019, artist and designer kissmiklos has imagined ‘ball.room’ – an installation filled with yellow faces to provoke thought on how we communicate in the digital age. the 13 expressions created by kissmiklos appear similar to the now ubiquitous emoji, however they have been dubbed ‘emograms‘ instead as they are made up of words meaning the depicted emotions. the work also pays homage to harvey r. ball, the american graphic artist who is credited with the design of the original and iconic smiley face. 

kissmiklos pays homage to the first smiley face with 'emogram' installation in south korea designboom

the installation is also an homage to harvey r. ball, who drew the first ‘smiley’

all images courtesy of eszter sarah

 

 

on display in the main pavilion of the gwangju design biennale, the project by kissmiklos comprises of two parts. the first being the ball.room itself, and the second is the group of 13 oversized inflatable emoji balls, 12 inflated and 1 deflated, that line the space outside the exhibition. inside the ball.room, visitors are encouraged to play with the faces and immerse themselves in the different emotions. people are also invited to pick a sticker from one of the 13 emograms and choose what emotion do you feel today?

kissmiklos pays homage to the first smiley face with 'emogram' installation in south korea designboom

visitors can play with the emograms

 

 

the real twist of the ball.room installation is that kissmiklos actually transfers pictography back into alphabetic writing. he received his inspiration in 2015 when the oxford english dictionaries chose a pictogram – an emoji, to be exact – as the word of the year. coming from japanese, the ‘e’ in emoji means picture and ‘moji’ means a letter or character. the similar sounding english word ’emoticon’ (emotion icon) helped the japanese term to spread.

kissmiklos pays homage to the first smiley face with 'emogram' installation in south korea designboom

ball.room filled with emograms

 

 

the incredible rise of emojis is a fascinating cultural and linguistic phenomenon. its history goes back to the roots of modern writing that developed from pictures: pictograms and ideograms. in 1982 scott e. fahlman, a professor at the carnegie mellon university, typed the first 🙂 . emojis then multiplied in form and variety and conquered the world’s electric discourse. they infuse contemporary digital conversations with facial expressions and gestures.

kissmiklos pays homage to the first smiley face with 'emogram' installation in south korea designboom

13 oversized inflatable emogram balls outside the ball.room

 

 

like most of his artworks the ball.room installation explores the borders and transitions between art and design and features immersive viewer interaction. it shows the artist’s continuing practice of combining elements of fine art, graphic design and typography, which is very characteristic of his body of work. how can internet-based interactions express feelings? the ball.room prompts viewers to think about how human digital communication is and reveals the need for a human touch in today’s text-based cyber communication.

kissmiklos pays homage to the first smiley face with 'emogram' installation in south korea designboom

the ‘f*ck off’ emogram pictured outside the ball.room

kissmiklos pays homage to the first smiley face with 'emogram' installation in south korea designboom

what emotion do you feel today? 

kissmiklos pays homage to the first smiley face with 'emogram' installation in south korea designboom

what emotion do you feel today? you can choose a sticker

kissmiklos pays homage to the first smiley face with 'emogram' installation in south korea designboom

visitors love the emograms

kissmiklos pays homage to the first smiley face with 'emogram' installation in south korea designboom

visitors can take selfies with emograms

 

the 13 emograms created by kissmiklos

kissmiklos pays homage to the first smiley face with 'emogram' installation in south korea designboom

the artist outside the ball.room. you can see the one deflated giant emogram: i’m so sorry

kissmiklos pays homage to the first smiley face with 'emogram' installation in south korea designboom

hello emograms

kissmiklos pays homage to the first smiley face with 'emogram' installation in south korea designboom

the artist with his emograms

 

 

installation info:

 

installation name: ‘ball.room’

artist: kissmiklos

location: main pavilion of the gwangju design biennale 2019, south korea

photography: eszter sarah

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: lynne myers | designboom

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