As part of the Kunsthall Stavanger’s Mobilizing Citizenship initiative, Toxic Waste Face was invited to lead a group of young adults in a critical exploration of  their visual surroundings, challenging the dominating aesthetic standards and exploring the conceptions of what makes something beautiful.  But how are these visual standards and conventions developed in the first place? With this in mind - of excavating the origins of these structures - we turned our collective eye to the realm of folklore, as fairy tales and fables often represent a person’s first encounter with morality and value judgements like good or bad, beautiful or ugly.  We figured there was no better way to destabilize dominating standards than to subvert the very source, so we chose to mount a multi-media “resurrection” of the Snow White myth, a tale laden with value judgements on a person’s perceived worth based exclusively on their appearance. An aging queen consumed with jealousy - a young girl whose beauty is at once a death note and her salvation - but what if we re-wrote the narrative?  However, as a nod to the denial of Snow White’s decision making power in her own story, we offered the youth artists only the semblance of agency, tasking them to revise the tale using only Mad-Libs-style fill-in-the-blanks up until the conclusion, which they then re-wrote (unfettered) to consider alternate endings that renegotiated the original moral framework. From this new script, written collaboratively, we created a “digital storybook” (or web-based audio-visual artwork) of the new allegory, SNOW WHAT!?, featuring the youth cohort as cast, crew, and producers.

SNOW WHAT!? was created collaboratively as part of the Mobilizing Citizenship program at Kunsthall Stavanger, Norway; October 19-20, 2019

Toxic Waste Face. San Francisco, Calif.