Next Film/Video | Documentaries

The Emoji Story

(Ian Cheney and Martha Shane, 2019)

A person stands next to a rock painted to look like the poop emoji, which is a brown object with eyes

Dive into the ever-evolving world of emojis and discover their fascinating history with this entertaining and insightful documentary.

Directors Martha Shane and Ian Cheney’s doc The Emoji Story examines the ubiquitous “emoji” (Japanese for “picture character”), from rather humble beginnings in Japan to an almost indispensable feature of smartphone keyboards the world over. The rise of this new digital language has also sparked questions and controversies about representation, identity, inclusion, and the role of the Unicode Consortium, the Silicon Valley-based non-profit that essentially has to approve new emojis for widespread use.  (81 mins, DCP)

Presented in conjunction with Jacqueline Humphries exhibition jHΩ1:), now on view in our galleries. Make a day of it and check out the exhibition before or after the film and see how Humphries explores and plays with digital language in her work.

"Given how long emoji have been around and how engrained it is in our daily lives, it’s surprising that The Emoji Story feels like the first time we’re putting actual faces to the governing body behind the cultural phenomenon."
The Verge
A person stands next to a rock painted to look like the poop emoji, which is a brown object with eyes

The Emoji Story | Photo by Taylor Gentry

The Japanese inventor of emoji for DoCoMo, Shigetaka Kurita, handdraws his original smiley face emoji.

The Emoji Story | Photo by Lucy Martens

The family of the creator of the hijab emoji, Rayouf Alhumedhi, celebrates the emoji’s arrival on the iPhone in fall 2017.

The Emoji Story | Photo by Lucy Martens

The Japanese inventor of emoji for DoCoMo, Shigetaka Kurita, admires his original designs on exhibit after they were collected by New York City’s Museum of Modern Art.

The Emoji Story | Photo by Jack Shanahan

FILM/VIDEO PROGRAMS MADE POSSIBLE BY
Cardinal Health
Kaufman Development

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT PROVIDED BY
Rohauer Collection Foundation

WEXNER CENTER PROGRAMS MADE POSSIBLE BY
The Wexner Family
Greater Columbus Arts Council
The Columbus Foundation
Ohio Arts Council
American Electric Power Foundation
Adam Flatto
Mary and C. Robert Kidder
Bill and Sheila Lambert
L Brands Foundation
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Nationwide Foundation
Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease
Arlene and Michael Weiss

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT PROVIDED BY
Carol and David Aronowitz
Mike and Paige Crane

Pete Scantland
Axium Packaging
Bocchi Laboratories
Fenwick & West LLP
Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
President Kristina M. Johnson and Mrs. Veronica Meinhard
KDC/ONE
Nancy Kramer
M/I Homes
Voyant Beauty
Huntington
Lisa Barton
Regina Miracle International (Group) Ltd
Washington Prime Group
Alene Candles
Fuel Transport
Russell and Joyce Gertmenian
Liza Kessler and Greg Henchel
Matrix Psychological Services
Paramount Group, Inc.
Ron and Ann Pizzuti
Joyce and Chuck Shenk
Bruce and Joy Soll
Clark and Sandra Swanson
Business Furniture Installations
CASTO
E.C. Provini Co., Inc.
Garlock Printing & Converting
Jones Day
M-Engineering
New England Development
Our Country Home
Performance Team
Premier Candle Corporation
ProAmpac
Steiner + Associates
Textile Printing
Andrew and Amanda Wise

Close

Next Film/Video

The Emoji Story