'We are thrilled to announce the addition of NTT DOCOMO’s original set of 176 emoji to the MoMA collection. Developed under the supervision of Shigetaka Kurita and released for cell phones in 1999, these 12 x 12 pixel humble masterpieces of design planted the seeds for the explosive growth of a new visual language.' *
'According to Wikipedia 'Originally meaning pictograph, the word emoji comes from Japanese e (絵, 'picture') + moji (文字, 'character'). The resemblance to the English words emotion and emoticon is purely coincidental.' **
The emoji is simply the latest in a long line of pictograms and symbols that convey meaning; they are a form of language.
On a visit to the British Museum I noticed the surface decoration of a hu, (6th century BC Chinese ceremonial wine vessel), as it reminded me of the QR barcodes. The decoration are actually symbols, when translated they tell of battles won or of heroic deeds by emperors. Like the QR code and emoji, they are a form of language.
I then found other highly decorative vessels produced in that period which were used as the starting point of my emoji vase.'
- Michael Eden