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Published on May 16, 2016
Do you remember when emoji characters were always yellow? Such was the situation until only a year ago. In 2014, after a public outcry against the perceived lack of diversity, the Unicode Consortium added five “Skin tone modifiers” to their set of emojis and considered the issue resolved.
Starting from the emoji standards debate, Femke Snelting (Constant)—in collaboration with Peggy Pierrot and Roel Roscam Abbing—will discuss how and why mainstream communication infrastructures promote universalist values and at the same time provide means for separating users along fault lines of race, gender and age. In considering what kind of interventions might be carried out in relation to this, the talk will be followed on the second day of the Executions event with a hands-on workshop in which participants will be able to experiment with the customization mechanisms that are already implemented in Unicode, seeing how one can subvert the universal from the inside and at the level of the code itself. As a possible outcome of the workshop participants could formulate a comment to the current proposal for new emoji mechanisms.