Eindhoven – An augmented museum tour is layering emojis over historical objects to expose our contradictory methods of communication.
Through the Emoji Looking Glass is a design-research project by Lara Chapman. She created augmented reality (AR) tools to be used at Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum, merging classical art and objects with contemporary symbolism. Using an iPad, visitors to the museum are encouraged to scan over large-scale paintings, with themed emojis popping up on-screen. As these symbols are revealed, they become visuals layered over historical imagery, characterising modern times against the past.
While creating a playful and fun tool, Lara aims to shine a critical light on emojis as a form of communication. According to her, these small visual symbols have significant power to shape our culture; they can be fun but also political, influence bias and reshape ideologies. In particular, she hopes to start critical dialogues around colonialism, appropriation and inequality through such symbolism.
For more on how to critically engage museum visitors and provide a platform for public discussions, explore our Post-Modern Museum micro trend.