Ta’arof Series
(2015)

‘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.

White matte interior paint on Masonite and pinewood, laser etching, LED strips Various dimensions

White matte interior paint on Masonite and pinewood, laser etching, LED strips
Various dimensions

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:

خواهش می‌کنم
Khahesh Mikonam
Direct Translation: I plead you
Figurative Meaning: My pleasure

قابل نداره
Ghabel Nadare
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

 زحمت نکشید
Zahmat Nakeshid
Direct Translation: Don’t carry the burden
Figurative Meaning: Don’t sweat it

فدای شما
Fadaye Shoma
Direct Translation: May I die for you
Figurative Meaning: I love you to death