This young and acclaimed designer grew up in the U.S. and now teaches in the Royal College of Art in London. His conceptual approach to design brings his work to the intersection of art and design, which he combines with film and video art as well.
Toran spent his JCVA residency in August, 2002, working out the complex concepts of two of his new films on memory and narrative, the Flashback Project and Retracement. He also taught a successful workshop in the summer school of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem.  During his stay, the JCVA facilitated a connection with curators from the Israel Museum; this meeting led to Toran's participation in a show at the museum in January and February of 2003.

Toran was also delighted with the proximity of the Jerusalem Cinematheque to the JCVA's lovely quarters at Mishkenot Sha'ananim.  Capitalizing on this proximity and on the Cinematheque's rich archives, Toran took regular walks there to watch at least one film a day during his stay.


Objects for Lonely Men

Objects for Lonely Men
, a film, narrates a story featuring a series of appliances designed for a man abandoned by the woman he loved. The objects perform some of the common, and commonly unspoken functions often carried out by lovers, from blowing warm air on one's neck, to pulling off the sheets and blankets periodically.  Toran's designs include an alarm clock that waves its long hair in one's eyes when it rings and a hair curler that curls a man’s chest hairs the way a woman might after making love with him.

Toran is concerned with the malleability of memory, and the way the narratives we weave around objects shape our sense of the past. Absurdist and playful, Toran's designs often look like regular artifacts until further examination reveals their unexpected functions and their complex, creative role in relation to personal memory.

Subliminal Furniture

Design objects, according to Toran, need not be simply functional.  Rather, they can become theoretical tools for the exploration of our relationship to technology, or, more precisely, of the effects of new technology on our social and emotional relationships.  This film features furniture that contains subliminal messages, such as a table that says “children, clean up your room.” The messages are not visible, and can only be read using a fan.

Toran's interest in hybrids is apparent both in his approach to genre and in the objects he chooses to make. With a filmmaker for a grandfather, film has been an important medium for Toran since childhood, and the source of some of his strongest influences. He cites Roman Polansky, Toshigi Hura, David Kronenberg, Alfred Hitchcock, Miro Denki, Pana Marenko and Bunuel as filmmakers and artists who centered entire plots on a single object.