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People's Torah

Contemporary Jewish Museum of San Francisco
Cabengo LLC and Studio Mobile

People's Torah is an interactive, three-dimensional rendering of the Five Books of Moses, commissioned as part of the Contemporary Jewish Museum's exhibition, As it is written: Project 304,805.
The work complements and extends the museum's year-long exploration of the Torah, centered around a scribe who will write the entire text of the Torah in the museum, by hand. Unlike the museum's Torah, which is being written according to ancient tradition, People’s Torah is being "written" by online and museum visitors. This communal effort encourages a personal engagement with the Torah and extends the reach of the exhibition to a global audience. To date, people from 52 countries have participated.

Every Torah has exactly 304,805 Hebrew letters, and it said that each of these letters corresponds to a soul. So, too, the People’s Torah will have 304,805 Hebrew letters. Each letter will correspond to an individual and be rendered from (an image of) that individual's hand

In this way, People's Torah adds layers of meaning to this sacred text through user-defined content, enriching the experience and creating new networks of connections between and among participants who are in the same word, verse, or Book.

To "write" a letter requires virtual and physical worlds to meet: online visitors upload images of their hands and museum visitors connect those hands to letters. This connection between physical and virtual worlds is integral to the work in both form and concept.  The immersive interface and fluid navigation encourages exploration of the Torah as form, a luminous universe of parts, always in a state of becoming whole.

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