library of emoji art, 2017 - ongoing

Pictorial symbols are one of the oldest forms of human expression. emoji – today’s visual language – are international images embedded in our cultural behaviour and communication.

Technology isolates us even more whist all the time promising to bring us together. It connects us, but at a distance. We text instead of phoning or meeting face-to-face. Conversation has become too time consuming and personal. In this way, emoji are important parts of our everyday lives, replacing gestures and words to help us connect with each other in digital conversations.

In recognising the significance of emoji, Schwenk will work with local communities to create a library of  ‘emoji art’ made using human bodies.

What is the library?

The library will showcase socially engaged works of performance art created by different communities at different times and in response to different topics, under Sylvia’s direction. These performances, like emoji, will connect people and enhance communication across cultural and language barriers.

Each volume of ‘emoji art’ will be made up of books of the drawings from workshops, archival material (radio programs, facebook pages and contributions) photographs, films and memos of ‘emoji art’ performances.

The first volume being deposited into this library is ’schöppingen: emoji art’ which represents the community of Schöppingen Germany. This was recently performed together with ‘tears of joy: emoji art’ (the most loved emoji of 2016).

As emoji are digital icons that help counter isolation and facilitate connection, each work of ‘emoji art’ created by a local community will be paired with an ‘emoji art’ performance of one of the most loved emoji of the year. This will connect individual projects with the broader digital community of the world.

     Schwenk, Artist impression, 'tears of joy: emoji art', 2017

Workshop: 7 September at 7pm  In the one hour workshop, Sylvia will work with the local community to develop an emoji that reflects Schöppingen. All parts of the community are invited to come together to brainstorm and design this emoji. (All drawing materials are provided). Where: Fotoscheune Galerie, Stiftung Künstlerdorf Schöppingen.

Performance in the public space: 21 September at 6pm  The Schöppingen emoji created in the workshop and the one of most popular emojis of 2016 will be created using the bodies of the community in a work of socially engaged performance art, directed by the artist. Where: on the green field next to the St Nikolaus Kindergarten, Schöppingen.

JOIN IN!  You are invited to be a part of this project. If you would like to participate in the workshop and/or the performance (all ages welcome) please contact the artist by email:, or telephone: 0176 288 76469.

This work is being supported by: