The secret future of writing

I don’t know if you caught the BBC 4 series ‘The Secret History of Writing’ but if you didn’t it is worth catching up online. It is another example of the excellent output of the channel and highlights the shame that it is now under threat.

The third programme in the series featured Chinese artist Xu Bing and his novel ‘Book from the Ground: From Point-to-Point’ The story tells of a day in the life of a worker in a major city and is written entirely in emoticons and symbols. It allows people to read the book in whatever their natgive language is, a sort of pictorial Esperanto, allowing truly international communication. 

I was taken back to Thinking Digital 2018 and the excellent talk by Sarah Wiseman, Lecturer of Computer Science at Goldsmiths, University of London. In her talk ‘Why does [pizza] mean “I love you?”’she told us about the rise of emojis in social media and how they are not always used in the way that they were intended. It was a very funny and enlightening presentation.

I understand that heiroglyphics and charecter writing have been around for milenia yet Bing and Wiseman’s work take such an approach to writing to something new, a genuine attempt to have a unverisal global writing system. Will it take off? Yes, eventually.

Anyway, in the spirit of the times, I had started to try and write a story in emoijs after Thinking Digital 2018. I didn’t get very far.

👋📛`⛽🎃👨 

👁️‍🗨️🏠🆕🏰

👁️‍🗨️👔👨‍💻

📅 👁️‍🗨️👔 🇦🇱🕯️🏰 

👨‍💼👩‍💼👍 

👪👍🧙‍♂️🤡

Translation: Hello my name is Phil Jackman. I live in Newcastle England. I work in IT. At the moment I am working at Alnwick castle. Everyone is very nice. The families like the wizards and clowns.

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