The work Blush consists of a series of digital embroideries on fabric that feature a variety of appropriated butterfly emoji motifs.
Blush is based on a global frame of reference that unfolds across social media, for example in tech companies and celebrity culture. The primary function of the emoji is to substitute the emotional language otherwise missing from typed conversation online. Emojis were first utilized in Japanese mobile phones in 1997, and became increasingly popular in the 2010’s. After being added to several mobile operating systems, the emoji is now a major part of popular culture in the West.
Based on the political interests inherent in the design of an emoji, Blush seeks to incorporate different designs and aesthetics of emojis to unfold different socio-economic conversations around their usage. In many cases, the icon of a butterfly varies drastically depending on which company has developed it.
As emojis, butterflies are most often depicted with their wings spread out, as a Morpho or a Monarch butterfly, which represent (within the virtual realm) ideas of both beauty and happiness. Blush uses repetitive and monochrome patterns that shows currently used butterfly emojis from different companies such as Apple, Google, Samsung, Microsoft, WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Skype, JoyPixels, Emojipedia, and LG. The work brings them together in a pattern that, in addition to examining their design language, also wants to explore the economic interest embedded within each design.
The work was part of the solo-exhibition Blush at Studio Grundahl in Aalborg, Denmark.
Supported by Aalborg Kommunes Kunstfond, Statens Kunstfond, Slots- og Kulturstyrelsen, and Kulturhuset Trekanten