"Monkeys and Angels" from "The Garden of Emoji Delights" project
This is a video vignette, 1 minute in length, 1080p resolution, from 2014 that was screened at TRANSFER Gallery, Brooklyn, NY in October 2014. It is part of the project "The Garden of Emoji Delights" which includes a 13ft x 7ft digitally printed triptych that is a to-scale recreation, transcribed with Emoji symbols, of Hieronymus Bosch's "The Garden of Earthly Delights.” One intention of the triptych was to mash up classic and contemporary sign systems, and to diversify and expand the emoji lexicon through this process. The large static piece is an homage to Bosch, and deeply tied in scale and physicality to the original. The subsequent videos that I have produced, like "Monkeys and Angels" here, allow me to be more dynamic with this hybrid visual vocabulary, and I can play more (and at times critique more), across time, with the slippage of signifiers. In the video vignettes, new allegorical narratives have emerged in response to the digital age in which we all coexist.
Emoji are a contemporary glyph system which offer an emotional shorthand for virtual expression. Transcribing visual symbologies of an earlier era using Emoji makes perfect “nonsense-sense” to me, particularly with Bosch’s "The Garden of Earthly Delights" in that his own visual style was so idiosyncratic and remarkably distinct in contrast to his peers. His transgression of the codified religious iconography of his day, his humor and irreverence, appeal to me most, and feel “modern.”