The first ASCII emoticons :-) and :-( were written by computer scientist Scott Fahlman in 1982 while communicating in Carnegie Mellon message boards, proposing the text-faces “for joke matters.” The same year, Disney opened its “permanent world’s fair” in Florida called Epcot, a dedication to technological innovation and international culture. Soon later in 1986, the kaomoji style using the katakana Japanese syllabary, e.g. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°), arose on ASCII NET. In 2015, Oxford Dictionaries named the “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji (😂) the word of the year.

Proposed is Emoji-bot, a performance for simultaneous camera and human audiences. The performer delivers a wordless poem tracing a semiotic history of the emoticon between 1982 and 2015. Facializing and embodying emotions through emoji, the performance turns a therapeutic attention towards the archive of the emoji as a contained entity within the corporeal. Emoji-bot enacts care as a critically affecting gesture towards the robotic (as the sensorially artificial) in order to propose new empathies for current conditions of automated behavior and connection. The performance will be presented within the artist’s collective XenoEntities Network’s “Assemblage” event format, in which artistic work is placed within a community-oriented conversation at the intersection of queer, gender, and feminist theory and digital culture/technologies.

Zander Porter (b. Los Angeles) is a Berlin-based artist working in the space between liveness and onlineness, proposing new modes of social relation via complications of selfhood, communication, and (dis)embodiment. Zander graduated with high honors in Art Studio from Wesleyan University and has presented work at Human Resources Los Angeles, Kampnagel, Fuchsbau Festival, National Film & Sound Archive of Australia, Sophiensæle, transmediale + Spektrum, Vanderbilt University, Fierce Festival, and others.