TRANSICONMORPHOSIS, the result of a theoretical reflection on the development of new forms of technological communication and their effects on human beings as well as their political impact, comprises a conventional chat service hosted in a computer interfaced with a series of electrodes connected to the face of the artist. The emoticon received through the chat translates into electrical impulses that force the artist’s facial features to mimic the expression of each emoticon.
The TRANSICONMORPHOSIS system translates emoticons to facial expressions. An interactive artwork, it proposes an ambiguous and experimental communication system for the near future, foreseen in part by Nobel Prize winner Elias Canetti in the 1980s, when he wrote: “We know that the influence of a man on another is what determines incessant and fluctuating metamorphosis that occurs in gesture and facial expressions; when these are strictly prohibited, every metamorphosis becomes difficult and, in the end, impossible.” If, in the future, face-to-face communication becomes less widely used and written communication becomes crystallized in a series of immutable forms, humans will lose the empathic abilities that today are, in part, reproduced by emoticons. If humanity fails to invent new metamorphoses, devices such as TRANSICONMORPHOSIS will be diffused worldwide.