Smile! Yoko Ono’s App Will Send It Around The World

Yoko Ono smiles in her video for #smilefilm (screenshot by author)

Leave it to Yoko Ono to create one of the cheeriest, global participatory art projects with an iPhone.

Released last week in conjunction with her exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery in London, artist, musician and activist Yoko Ono created #smilefilm, a free iPhone app that invites participants to take pictures of themselves smiling, upload them on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #smilefilm and with the app, the smiles are collected, mapped onto the globe and users can view the film, observing the smiles being uploaded

#smilefilm project began in exhibitions in Tokyo, Dehli, Berlin and now London with Ono’s current exhibition featuring a photobooth and a computer to take and upload visitor’s smiles. Now with this new iPhone app, participants are not limited to the city’s that are hosting exhibitions of Yoko Ono’s art.

Originally planning a film including smiles from all around the world, Ono was quoted as saying in 1967:

“My ultimate goal in film-making is to make a film which includes a smiling face snap of every single human being in the world.”

Screenshot of the “Dream” section of Yoko Ono’s app #smilefilm, mapping smiles uploaded across the world (via

Revealing the inspiration behind behind the project in the Huffington Post, Ono explained that after her husband John Lennon passed away, she was unable to smile. Practicing smiling in the mirror every morning, Ono learned to smile honestly again, realizing “how important it is for all of us to smile — not for anybody else, but for ourselves and our health.”

Thankfully creating a more peaceful app related to her art rather than an app based on her Voice Piece for Soprano installation, broadcasting screams across the globe like reverberated around MoMA’s atrium for months, Ono’s app might be slightly cheesy but it is at least heart-warming.

As Ono ends the app’s promotional video:

“Think PEACE, Act PEACE, Spread PEACE and Imagine PEACE.”

comments (0)