‘Tārof’ is the Persian code of etiquette used to help Iranians navigate through social situations. These situations include: interacting with hosts and guests at gatherings, being paid a compliment, making a financial transaction, and more.
The act of insistence is one of gratitude; a myriad of ways to say thank you. Although this form of affection is common in the East, it is considered insolent in the West to repeatedly insist on a subject unnecessarily, thus making the statement lost in translation.
The Arduino-programmed light boxes face each other as would guests in a gathering, and take turns blinking to represent the endless ta’arof exchange in a traditional Persian setting.
The following are the expressions, along with their direct translations and figurative meanings used in this series:
Direct Translation: I plead you
Figurative Meaning: My pleasure
Direct Translation: Not worth it
Figurative Meaning: You are worth more than my gesture
دست شما درد نکنه
Daste Shoma Dard Nakone
Direct Translation: May your hand not hurt
Figurative Meaning: Thank you
من که تعارف ندارم
Man Ke Taarof Nadaram
Direct Translation: I don’t have tārof
Figurative Meaning: I’m frank with you
Direct Translation: Don’t carry the burden
Figurative Meaning: Don’t sweat it
Direct Translation: May I die for you
Figurative Meaning: I love you to death