Yalda Eskandari

Door of No Return - 2022

We are standing on the threshold of a door that exists between the self and the other; between a place and a non-place. Behind us, there is a line of familiar and strange faces. In front of us is the sea. As we set sail, the past turns into a blur. Everything is going to change after this. We know if we walk through the door, we will leave parts of us behind; parts of our selves. “The sea will bring us to the destination,” they say; there is the image of a happy, collective life there. The nature of the image, however, is deceptive. How much of our collective images are manipulated? How much of it is presented as umami? Factories make their products tastier by manipulation. They have learned that “savoriness,” the most basic sense that humans know, can be subject to exploitation. In fact, everything can be manipulated, even the image we see in the mirror. Mirrors were once a gift from colonialists to the chieftains of tribes so that after seeing their own image and being fascinated by what they see, they would enslave the members of a weaker tribe. The chief would give up the other to gain his “self”; until nothing would be left of his own tribe. Colonialism today holds no mirror in its hands: it is, rather, a series of manipulated images. Only an idea of that "door" has remained; yet, it is so familiar that we have to stand at its threshold every single day. You are standing on the threshold: you have to choose between leaving and staying. You are now standing on the threshold of the door that is the dividing line between two nightmares. You have lived the former quite a few times; the nightmare of the destination, however, is not going to end after the arrival.