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I Tried Out Emojini at the Cleveland Museum of Art

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Case chapter.

The Emojini 3000 is a really cool artificial intelligence program which has the sole purpose of assigning emojis to pictures. It was trained on tons of Instagram photos, and if you go to its website you can upload your own photos and see what emojis it generates. I recently read this article by Arika Okrent, who tried it out on various works of art, and I was inspired to try it out for myself. What better place to test Emojini than at the Cleveland Museum of Art, a place I love and have visited many times (and which is celebrating its centennial this year)? 


1. Claude Monet– Low Tide at Pourville, Near Dieppe 

It’s so fascinating that Emojini sees all these strokes of paint and associates it witrh water in the same way we do. It seems to recognize the hints of clouds in the sky, too. (However, I had to crop the frame out of the image because otherwise it kept generating rectangular emojis such as the TV.)


2. Vincent van Gogh– The Large Plane Trees

The leaves and caterpillar emojis seem to match this one pretty well. The tiger is a creative choice. I can see how the gray tree branches among the orange leaves resemble it.


3. Pablo Picasso– Bull Skull, Fruit, Pitcher

Alright, it definitely recognizes the bull skull as an animal head, although it is mistaking the horns for ears. It also seems to have associated cubism with pixellation and in turn associated that with video games. 


4. Salvador Dalí– The Dream

It’s ok Emojini, I’m not really sure what’s in this painting either. But I definitely see a human face. I know I have a propensity to see human faces in inaminate objects, being human and all, but I thought I’d get at least 1 hominoid emoji from you.


5. Georgia O’Keefe– Morning Glory with Black

Sometimes Emojini spits out 3 emojis instead of 4. I’m not sure why; it might have something to do with the size of the image. At first I was confused by these emojis, but the morning glory does sort of look like a lab coat or white sheets. Or maybe Emojini thinks this painting is boring :(


6. Jackson Pollock– Number 5, 1950

Anything with yellow and black must be a bumblebee, right? I’m not sure about the other wildlife, though. Perhaps Emojini has seen something in this one that I haven’t.


7. Andy Warhol– Marilyn x100

I feel like Emojini took the easy way out with this one by generating 2 emojis that match Marilyn’s lurid yellow hair. The two women holding hands emoji is kind of accurate in the sense that there are indeed multiple images of a woman.


8. Picture from the Armor Room

I love how Emojini matched the red feather plume to the chicken emoji, but I’m disappointed that it didn’t generate the horse emoji. It probably wouldn’t show the lightbulb emoji if I had cropped that out, oops. 


9. Prayer Niche (Mihrab) from early 1600s Iran

I was hoping to get the Mecca emoji, but it turns out that Emojini was only trained on the top 500 emojis used on Instagram and it cannot generate any of the newer emojis. Still, it’s neat that Emojini made the connection to religion and used the various religious emojis that it did learn.


10. Coffin of Bakenmut, 1000-900 BC, Egypt

Looks like Emojini interpreted this as 2 standing figures, in which case the marriage emojis it chose are reasonable. The 2 drama masks emoji is a cool choice– does Emojini think that the figure doesn’t look completely human?


I used to use emojis ironically, but over time I grew to really love them. They’re so simple but can say so much! Emojini’s use of emojis is sometimes accurate and sometimes wildly off, but it’s always entertaining and it’s a fascinating avenue for artificial intelligence.


I'm Emily, a senior at Case Western Reserve University studying Psychology and Evolutionary Biology. My favorite animal is the two-toed sloth, and I do research on moths, which can live on the fur of sloths. When I'm not in the lab thinking about moths (and sloths), you can find me drawing, singing, writing poetry, eating macaroni-and-cheese, or getting way too interested in pictures of vacant malls. Also, check out my recently created blog on animal reproduction: http://www.sextraordinary.wordpress.com