The March 2014 edition of Smithsonian Magazine focuses it’s Phenomenon section on language. And to my surprise, they devoted a page to talk about Emoji Dick – a book that translates Melville’s classic into emoticons. I suppose there will always be a constant revamping of things, whether for the benefit of a newer generation, or to stay current with changing times. The shocker isn’t that someone took on the task of translating a book into Japanese emojis but that they boldly used Herman Melville’s Moby Dick as the first go.
Emoji Dick creator, Fred Benenson, a micro-engineer from NYC used KickStarter to fund this crowd sourced translation. The project, funded back in 2009, and launched in 2012 used Amazon Mechanical Turk workers to translate each sentence 3 times, vote on the results and chose the most popular version of each sentence for inclusion in the book. Benenson calls Emoji Dick “a conceptual piece” and with an introduction by Art F City‘s Paddy Johnson you can also hashtag it under #emojiart. For many it will just be fun book to pull out parties, for those that have grown up with a digital language I’m sure it’ll be right at home on the shelf among the dinosaurs we used to call books.
*Library of Congress acquired Emoji Dick in 2013.
* photo courtesy of dailydot