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P.D. Magnus

The ontology of 💩

Considering the ontology of artworks made out of emoji.

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This paper considers works of art made using emoji (picture characters like the pile-of-poo glyph in the title). Despite common talk of `translation', emoji cannot generally be given a literal natural-language translation. Three possible ontologies are considered for emoji works: (1) an emoji work is a digital image or sequence of images, (2) an emoji work is a specified string of emoji characters which might be realized by different images, and (3) an emoji work work is a single-instance work. Emoji works with each of these ontologies is possible, but some exemplary emoji works considered in this paper are best understood in the second way.

The first on-line draft of this paper was posted 25july2016.