Popular culture has the capacity to connect audiences to difficult issues wordlessly, emotionally and with humor, as grave as the issues may be. We believe that as climate change enters into common language (including recognizable forms like emoji), the environmental justice movement’s issues of concern are reinforced.
The Climoji are designed to distill some of the causes and effects of climate change into tiny, potent icons. As emoji, these conversational tools enter the digital social space where online and smartphone users might encounter them with the same regularity as smiley faces and high-heeled shoes.
This project was initiated and developed by SustainableITP—the volunteer student and faculty group at ITP (the Interactive Telecommunications Program), Tisch School of the Arts, NYU. Within the university, at ITP and with Environmental Studies, we developed a workshop format to identify legible key climate change-related concepts, and to easily visualize them.
Our brainstorming sessions with students and professors at NYU were designed to collect different perspectives on climate change. We asked participants to draw their ideas (without text) on 3” x 3” post-its, depicting climate change, both generally and topically (water, waste, emissions, injustice, plastic, etc). These collaborative brainstorming sessions were the foundation for Climoji.
Marina Zurkow is a media artist focused on near-impossible nature and culture intersections. She is a 2011 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellow, and is a faculty member at ITP / Tisch School of the Arts.
Viniyata Pany is a multidisciplinary artist whose work straddles the poetic, the human and the actionable. She is a graduate of ITP, NYU and often ponders about silence, insects and acoustic ecosystems.
NYU Green Grants are awarded to improve the university’s operational environmental performance, foster environmental literacy and community engagement, advance applied research and design, and demonstrate the viability of best practices and technologies for sustainability.