Tower of the Sacred and Ordinary

New York-based artist and architect Daniel Toretsky invents a part-performance, part-ritual, part-sculpture for an imagined distant Jewish future in a dystopian North America.

Type of Exhibition: Art

Daniel Toretsky., Tower of the Sacred & Ordinary, 2021. Installation photos by Morris Lum

A roving ritual for the year 2221

ONLINE EVENT: Join a multimedia online celebration during the annual KlezKanada Summer Retreat. Stay tuned for details.

New York-based artist and architect Daniel Toretsky invents a part-performance, part-ritual, part-sculpture for an imagined distant Jewish future in a dystopian North America. For FENTSTER, Toretsky designed a tower on wheels inspired by ornate havdalah spice boxes fashioned like medieval castles. The project’s elaborate backstory is informed by an undercurrent in the collective Jewish consciousness of romanticizing places from the past. A yearning persists to return to the mythologized pre-war Eastern European shtetl, the Moroccan mellah neighbourhoods of the 1800s, Kensington Market in the 1930s or even ancient Jerusalem. Through shared narratives, these places have become distilled and reduced to stereotypes. Toretsky asked a diverse group of North American Jewish artists how our current communities might be memorialized by our descendants. He wove together their responses and translated them into whimsical three-dimensional drawings filling the mobile structure designed for a speculative future where Jews resume wandering due to economic and climate collapse that renders our cities unlivable. Every Saturday night, our descendants climb into the memory tower for a raucous re-enactment of our present-day Jewish lives with moments from the sacred to the ordinary.


Daniel Toretsky is an artist and architectural designer based in Brooklyn. His sculptures, built environments and urban interventions use participatory design to explore Jewish identity, diaspora, inequality and climate change. Raised in the Yiddish revival scene, Toretsky’s work is often informed by probing Ashkenazi Jewish rituals, heritage and history with humour and a spatial focus. Many of his projects embrace Jewish cultural and religious rituals, while interrogating structures of power within the Jewish diaspora. Toretsky is a graduate of the architecture department at Cornell University where he has also taught design. He currently designs museum exhibits at Studio Joseph, an architecture firm in New York. He also plays trombone in brass and klezmer bands, The Hungry March Band and Mrs. Toretsky’s Nightmare.

Presented together by FENTSTER and KlezKanada

FENTSTER thanks Jean-Christophe Foolchand and all who contributed reflections for the future in addition to Daniel Toretsky and Evelyn Tauben: Ari Lewis Weigens, Giselle Hausman, Lilly Pearlman, Mark Rubin, Noah Guthman, Orly Zebak, Sara Yacobi-Harris, Sebastian Schulman, Sharoni Sibony, Zach Mayer and Zoe Aqua.

Installation photos by Morris Lum

Presented by:

A Kultura Collective Member

In partnership with


Start Date:

June 17, 2021

End Date:

November 17, 2021

View anytime – day or night

Downtown Toronto

Makom, 402 College Street,
Toronto, Ontario, M5T 1S8


If accessibility options not listed, please contact the venue to confirm


Related Exhibitions


February 22, 2024

to May 12, 2024

To acknowledge and celebrate the role the building and its tenants have played within the cultural ecology of Toronto over these past 10 years, Koffler Arts is excited to present DECADE, a group exhibition by eight contemporary artists currently or recently working in the building.
Skip to content