Perfect Society / Video / 2005
Even though we are a highly intelligent race, most our communication is non-verbal. We use our face, our hands and our bodies to make ourselves understood. Sometimes because we can’t find our words. Sometimes we do it just to emphasize an idea. Our language is not perfect. Our knowledge of our language is not perfect. Thus we resort to mimic.
In the last decade communication through written word exploded. First, there was IRC, then it was SMS, and now there are dozens of IM – Instant Messaging - services, all free of charge.
We became crippled. Our mimic stripped away. Text lines were cold and inexpressive. Punctuation marks were too feeble when it came to complex emotions; they only gave a tone of voice – often leading to misinterpretations. Then came the smileys. At first composed of ASCII characters, then there were those round yellow icons. And people could mimic through text. Everyone adopted the new form of "language".
Emoticons are just a skin that comes off as we step out of the virtual world and into the real world. Only in cyber-space is customary that we wear these avatars. Cyber-space has become an area where we don’t have features but we have faces. Even though we have faces, they bare only the minimum set of characteristics required to have an expression. It’s a space where the concept of physical beauty is not relevant. Only in cyber-space we can be ourselves, no longer baring the burden of looks. In cyber-space there are no bad-hair days, no pimples, no ageing process.
In this perfect society it's so easy to fake an emotion, one mouse-click away. But if we could wear these emoticons in real life, would real feelings be of any relevance? Wouldn’t reactions and feelings become just a question of etiquette? I smile because I’m supposed to, not because I feel like it. I cry because it’s customary, not because it reflects my true feelings. The surface emotions become a mask for the real emotions.