Algorithmic love: “Quit playin’ games with my <3”
Some of the rich history of the <3 is laced with myths and monsters, and reveals this particular cipher is anything but a trivial emoticon: rather, its ambiguous affective weight makes it an ideal interface for the ineffable. This conceptual essay is an exploration through a different approach to the traditional visual essay. Here, the author-composed photo-collages function as a meditation on a theme by pondering and theorizing along with the text, ideas of the heart emoticon in the fractal matrix of sign types, with some of the multiple possibilities and implications associated with its use by both individuals and corporations. Paralleling the subject/object relations figured forth through the Medusa myth, with the idea that not knowing about the algorithmic influences on the <3 of intimate digital messaging may serve to turn the subject into an object. This paper thus calls for algorithmic literacies, broadly conceived as agility in critically discerning how decision-making is presented to the individual in matters of the <3.