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People's Torah


People's Torah is an interactive, three-dimensional rendering of the Five Books of Moses, commissioned by and installed at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco.

Unlike the Torah, which is still written as it was written more than 3000 years ago – by the hand of a specially trained scribe – People’s Torah is being "written" collectively, by online and museum visitors.

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.

The image you contribute will then become part of the exhibition at the museum, displayed publicly on a touch screen table along with other contributors' hands.

As soon as a museum visitor "touches" your hand image, it will be transformed into the next available letter in the People's Torah. In this way, every letter will represent a discrete connection between virtual and physical worlds.

The letters, words, and verses of the People's Torah are fluid and responsive. As you interact with the work, the visual effects of your mouse movements are visible to other online visitors in real time.

The image you contribute will then become part of the exhibition at the museum, displayed publicly on a touch screen table along with other contributors' hands.

As soon as a museum visitor "touches" your hand image, it will be transformed into the next available letter in the People's Torah. In this way, every letter will represent a discrete connection between virtual and physical worlds.

The letters, words, and verses of the People's Torah are fluid and responsive. As you interact with the work, the visual effects of your mouse movements are visible to other online visitors in real time.

The Torah is the holiest object in Jewish life, and the writing of the Torah, an ancient and sacred undertaking. By re-casting the writing process as a communal act, People's Torah shifts the power of writing a Torah to the people – to you.


The People's Torah is an interactive installation and net art project by Cabengo and Studio Mobile, commissioned by and installed at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco for the exhibition, As It is Written: Project 304,805.

Concept, design and development:
Hillary Leone, Mirek Nisenbaum, Fred Fauquette, Juan F. Sarria.

© 2010 Copyright Cabengo and Studio Mobile. All Rights Reserved.