This is what heartbreak looks like in the digital age

The whole world is going digital. Heartache is not exception.

Graphic artist Victoria Siemer created a digital art series called “Human Error” that compares the uselessness of dwelling on a broken heart with the uselessness of channeling frustration towards your tech devices.  She juxtaposes the old with the new and blurs the line between technology and reality by putting computerized error messages atop Polaroid photos.  Take a look.

not ejected

full  erase feelings empty  broken heart move on

Siemer says she got the idea for the series after PhotoShop crashed on her while she was working on a huge project. An error message popped up, telling her that ‘PhotoShop has crashed unexpectedly,’ and she joked that PhotoShop had broken her heart. It was after that that she realized how easily she could apply computer error messages like that one to every day frustrations. She said, “The options that error messages offer are limited; by putting their prompts in conversation with images that evoke heartbreak or discontent, I’m emphasizing the sense of futility you feel in both contexts” (Brooks, 2014).

Each error in the series is inspired by something she’s going through or has gone through in the past. The messages in the series range from depressing to uplifting. Siemer’s personal favorite is one reminding us all that we’re going to die someday:


But some are less gloomy. This one encourages people to let go of their inhibitions:


Siemer originally set out to become a print designer, after majoring in design at SUNY Buffalo. Nowadays, though, technology is all around us, and it’s hard to get into a more traditional design field when the digital one is expanding so quickly. “My life is saturated with technology,” she explains. Seimer went on to say, “According to my nana, my first sentence was, “I have an imagination.’ Now I’m 25 and I’ve made a career out of it.” I don’t know about you guys, but there is absolutely no way I believe that her first sentence was “I have an imagination” (Levy, 2014).  Do you believe that? What kid has ever uttered a sentence like that the first time they decided to string some arbitrary words together? No way.

What do you think of Siemer’s “Human Error” series? Do you think it’s cool? I think it’s pretty cool. You can see more of the series and some of her other work on her Tumblr page.



Brooks, K. (2014, April 26). This is what heartbreak looks like in the digital age. Huffington Post. Retrieved from

Levy, K. (2014, April 26). tech more: Photoshop art graphic designers a graphic designer turned those annoying computer error messages into works of art read more. Business Insider. Retrieved from

Seimer, V. (2014, April). Human error [Web log message]. Retrieved from

3 thoughts on “This is what heartbreak looks like in the digital age

  1. This is such an intriguing read! Interesting way to look at it. Its really interesting how when such notifications pop up on our screens we almost automatically respond with the option that makes the problem go away. As in our lives, we like to just not feel hurt or be bothered by life stresses, that we almost automatically just decide to do other things to get our minds off it too.


  2. I love this concept! Especially the back story of it. We’ve all had that experience where something huge get deleted and it really does feel like heartbreak. I like that she turned it into something awesome. It’s very clever.


  3. Ive never seen this before but I really love this idea. Its almost like a wake up call. I mean we are constantly updating/looking at/attached to our devices. The older generation talks about how we fail to really connect with other people, and this is a way that blatantly showcases how much we’d pay attention if emotions were digitalized.


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