Transformation Design

Carpet Codes

Elnaz Assarzadegan
Practice Social Practices
Project Honours/Visual Culture
Major Transformation Design
Year Fourth Year

Nominee: Drempelprijs Social Practices 2020

In countries such as Iran with a high level of cultural and religious repression implemented by the authorities, protests and complaints from the citizens are usually followed by unpleasant and harsh consequences. In particular, women are the ones who suffer at large. A symbolic representation of these limiting circumstances is the enforcement of Hijab or the veil. Many women see this enforcement as a root for many other limiting conditions and laws. What if every individual Iranian woman, regardless of her personal beliefs, ethnic background and region, began to have an internal dialogue about her rights as a woman and how her life could differ if she thought, believed and lived differently.

Craftivism (craft+activism) is a growing worldwide movement where artists, activists and the general public use their crafting skills for political purposes. Going to a protest or calling your local politician is no longer the only way to raise your voice particularly in Iran. I used Craftivism as a practical method which enables women to voice their issues and create spaces in which they can share their thoughts and ideas and protest softly and discreetly.

After some first-hand experience of the censorship and repression, I decided to use the steganographic practice. I created a platform for women to share their stories since most Iranian women have access to carpets. I chose the carpet as a covert system to camouflage women’s sensitive stories. Carpets bring high value to the process of my project as they are transformed into a bank of data. Craftivism creates a dialogue in the hopes of creating a positive change via personalised activism.

Carpet Codes

This presentation is a form of many other possible forms of craftivism that could start this internal dialogue in a discreet manner. What if this dialogue invites more audiences? What if these new audiences were not only women?

Craftivism creates a dialogue in the hopes of creating a positive change via personalised activism.