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The Many Faces of Cindy Sherman, Turned into Emoji

Potential use of the Cindy Shermanicons in a text message exchange (illustration by the author for Hyperallergic)
A hypothetical use of the Cindy Sherman-icons in a text message exchange (illustration by the author for Hyperallergic)

There are few human emotions that have not been captured, in one series or another, by Cindy Sherman. In her Untitled Film Stills images she wears expressions of confusion, ennui, and fear. In Centerfolds/Horizontals she looks alternately seductive, dazed, and traumatized. In the Society Portraits she appears by turn defiant, optimistic, sad, and indifferent. It often feels as if every conceivable emotion has already been thought of, evoked through staging, makeup, and costume, and photographed by Cindy Sherman. So it’s surprising it’s taken so long for someone — in this case, Seoul-born, New York-based designer Hyo Hong — to turn Sherman’s face into a series of emoticons.

The Cindy Shermanicons in action (screenshot by the author)
The Cindy Sherman-icons in action (screenshot by the author)

“We don’t always want to convey that we’re blindly happy, crying with laughter or horizontally-lipped and nonplussed,” Hyo told Hyperallergic over email. “Sometimes, we need something a little more subtle and nuanced from emoticons. So, I have come up with just the solution, in the form of the multifaceted Cindy Sherman-icon.”

The series of 20 “icons” features Sherman’s face, cropped from the surrounding imagery, and made available through Hyo’s Tumblr page. To use them, you’ll have to download all the Cindy Sherman-icons individually, then post them into text message conversations as you would any other image. Consequently, the Sherman faces appear much larger than emoticons and emoji, which makes them both much clunkier and much funnier to deploy in conversations (see example at left). For now, Hyo has only made made 20 of the Cindy Sherman-icons, but she plans to expand the project to include ever more complex, nuanced, and disturbing emotions.

“Until now, I created 20 initial emoticons which might not cover every type of emotions we need,” Hyo said. “But, Cindy Sherman-icon is an on going project to find more faces out of her previous and upcoming self-portraits and add them to the set.”

Once she’s worked her way through Sherman’s oeuvre, maybe Hyo can make a line of James Franco-as-Cindy Sherman-icons.

Hyo Hong, "Cindy Sherman-icons" (2015) (courtesy the artist)
The full range of Hyo Hong’s Cindy Sherman-icons (courtesy Hyo Hong)

h/t Dangerous Minds, AnOther

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