Noam Toran and Onkar Kular, Dentures, 2010, London. Photo: Diego Trujillo. Courtesy of the artists.
The study and understanding of objects is undergoing a gentle renaissance. Whether within philosophy or design, anthropology or literature, history or fine art, architecture or material science, the object has recently been brought down from the attic, dusted off, and placed proudly on the mantle—or even positioned at the dinner table—to become a new kind of protagonist or antagonist in contemporary debate. The Object as Actor Symposium considers objects as lenses through which we see ourselves and the world anew in order to better understand the greater political, social, cultural, and philosophical shifts taking place. By inviting a “motley crew” of exceptional scholars and practitioners from a wide range of disciplines to present lectures, give performances, converse, and debate, the symposium aims to bridge the gap between disciplines so that our collective reading of objects can become more nuanced, varied, and complex.
Noam Toran's work involves the creation of intricate narratives developed as a means to reflect upon the interrelations of history, memory, cinema, and literature. Research-based, the works examine how fictions influence the collective consciousness, as history, myth, or memory. This is realized through an original way of deconstructing and reconfiguring cinematic and literary codes, conventions, and structures, weaving them with historical materials, thereby complicating and questioning the divide between artifact and artifice. His work has been exhibited, screened, and published internationally, notably at the Centre Pompidou (Paris), Kunsthalle Wien (Vienna), the Venice Architecture Biennale, the London Architecture Biennale, the Victoria & Albert Museum (London), the Israel Museum (Jerusalem), Witte de With (Rotterdam), MuHKA (Antwerp), the Museum of Modern Art (NYC), the Lisbon Architecture Triennale, the Baltic Contemporary (Newcastle), the Musée D'Art Moderne (Luxembourg), the Miyake Studio Gallery (Tokyo), Kulturhuset (Stockholm), and Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin). Toran currently teaches at the Royal College of Art, London; the Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam; and HEAD, Geneva.