matthias gommel
martina haitz
jan zappe

       bios [bible | torah]

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The Torah Scribe

In the robot installation 'bios [torah]' an industrial robot writes down by hand the Torah on a scroll of paper. The machine executes the calligraphic lines with high precision, by that way creating the text like a jewisch sofer. Beginning with the book Bereschit, the Genesis of the Books of Moses, 'bios [torah]' produces in an one-month long uninterrupted process the whole scripture. 304.805 letters in 245 columns on nearly 80 meter of paper.

The creation of a Torah scroll by a jewish scribe is a handcrafted copy process, which has to be executed with the highest precision possible. Therefore, by writing a Torah, the robot does not imitate the scribe but the human imitation procedure. Just as the human Torah scripture enclose individual characteristics of the respective Sofer, as the robot scripture is characterised by the internal peculiarities and tolerances of the robot. The robot's type face is at the same time precise and lively and set itself apart from the type face of n printed font. The robot takes an intermediate position between handwriting and machine printing.

‘bios [torah]’ is focussing on the questions of faith and technical progress. The installation correlates two cultural systems which are fundamental for societies today – religion and scientific rationalism. In this contexts scripture has all times an elementary function, as holy scripture or as formal writing of knowledge.

The title 'bios' refer on an elementary component in computer technology, the 'basic input output system' (BIOS). The chip basically coordinates the interchange between hard- and software and, thus, contains the fundamental and indispensable software that enables the computer to start and to process information. Therefore, the bios code has a similar fundamental meaning for the machine as the holy scripture for human beings.

Cooperation for Hebrew typesetting and calligraphy: Sahar Aharoni


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