Holy Robot: Exhibit features robotic rendering of the Torah July 14, 2014 – Posted in: Books and Technology, Content, Exhibits, Installation
“The Creation of the World. Illustrated Manuscripts from the Braginsky Collection,” currently on view at the Berlin Jewish Museum features both a robot and a rabbi transcribing the torah.
The yet unnamed Torah-writing robot comes to us courtesy of the German artists’ group robotlab. The installation is titled”bios [torah]” and:
refers to the activity of Torah writing performed in the Jewish tradition by a specially trained scribe, the Sofer. While the Sofer guarantees the sanctity of the Scripture, the installation highlights its industrial reproducibility. It simulates a centuries-old cultural technique that has long since been overtaken by media developments…The installation title refers to an elementary component of computer technology, the Basic Input Output System (BIOS). BIOS is the system upon which all other computer programs build and is thus as fundamental to the development of the machine as Scriptures are to the cultural history of mankind.
It takes the robot 3 months to complete the process
It takes a rabbi nearly a year to write it out.
The Torah produced by the robot is not Kosher and cannot be used in a synagogue. For “in order for the Torah to be holy, it has to be written with a goose feather on parchment, the process has to be filled with meaning and I’m saying prayers while I’m writing it,” said Rabbi Reuven Yaacobov, the Berlin rabbi who is the featured Sofer in the exhibit.
Though this is the first time the Torah has been spewed from the robot, it has reproduced the Christian Bible in German, Spanish and Portuguese “before it was reprogrammed with the help of an Israeli graphic designer.”
Rabbi Reuven Yaacobov shows how to write a Torah by hand at an exhibition in the Jewish Museum in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, July 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)