Toilet paper will never be what it used to be before the so-called covid-19 crisis; not for me at least. As countries announced the beginning of an epidemic in their territories, an incredible madness ensued in supermarkets. All of a sudden, toilet paper turned from the most ordinary product into an invaluable thing that we fought over, brutally; and stored, as much as we could. White gold is what it turned into.
Our compassion, tolerance towards each other, our respecting of each other’s 'rights', and ultiamately (one could project) our civilization, all seem to work only as long as there is no real crisis. One should not forget that the toilet paper crisis (and what it implied in terms of our psychology) happened mostly in the so-called First World. Perhaps simply because in many non-western communities, especially non-Christian ones, water is used to clean oneself; and so no one got obsessed with storing toilet paper as soon as they hear of the mandatory quarantine. In my two-month isolation, I sat in my home and imagined a city, full of creatures with human bodies and heads of toilet paper. Creatures who go to work, read, dance, play football, meet up with their friends, meditate, and even hug trees.
In addition to the above mentioned layer, this video work revolts against a common visual (photographic) aesthetic which is essentially fabricated and imposed by the manufacturers of the photographic industry. This video work is filmed in an unconventional way with the use of a self-made camera obscura, and tries to propose an alternative to that hegemonic visual aesthetics.
This work was made for and exhibited at MAMA Rotterdam, as part of the exhibition "Fiction-ing Comfort" Jun-Sep 2020.
In addition to the video, this work included a book of text and illustrations, which introduces 8 toilet-paper-head characters:
Attar, meditation master with a vague history; some say he is a refugee
Houshang, a martial arts master
Howakh-Shatra, a super hero in red cape, who helps desperate toilet-paper-heads
Soli, a non-binary teenager
Uncle Mansour, a retired army sergeant
Coen and Thijs, mysterious brothers who just observe
Mosi, a philosopher with self-destructive tendencies
Margot, a primary school principal
The text was written by Alireza Abbasy and the illustrations by Golnar Abbasi. The booklet was published by Sarmad Platform.