Before I start this post, I just want to point out that I’m not a particular fan of emojis. I don’t use them that much, but I am curious to see how this strange fragment of culture evolves. Emojis are folded into the Unicode set by a consortium of representatives of largely California-based technology companies, who shape what we can and can’t represent with little symbols on our phones. The emojis are specified by the Unicode Consortium, then the icons we see on our devices are designed by software companies – so that on my iPhone, the emojis are designed by Apple, yet on my PC they’re designed by Microsoft (hence cross-platform changes in appearance).
In 2017 I started making videos with every emoji available on an Apple device. That was 2718 symbols, and the video looked like this:
I recently re-scraped the available emojis – now there are 3962. A good deal of these are variations of the same symbol, but with differing skin tones. The best way to represent this seemed to be as an explosion:
Or perhaps like falling into an infinite tunnel: