Shop > Artists' Books


Enfoldment and Infinity: An Islamic Genealogy of New Media Art

Laura U. Marks
The MIT Press
Artists' Books
7 × 9 × 1.1 in
408 pp
Islamic Art, Theory, Contemporary Art

In both classical Islamic art and contemporary new media art, one point can unfold to reveal an entire universe. A fourteenth-century dome decorated with geometric complexity and a new media work that shapes a dome from programmed beams of light: both can inspire feelings of immersion and transcendence. In Enfoldment and Infinity, Laura Marks traces the strong similarities, visual and philosophical, between these two kinds of art. Her argument is more than metaphorical; she shows that the “Islamic” quality of modern and new media art is a latent, deeply enfolded, historical inheritance from Islamic art and thought. Marks proposes an aesthetics of unfolding and enfolding in which image, information, and the infinite interact: image is an interface to information, and information (such as computer code or the words of the Qur’an) is an interface to the infinite. After demonstrating historically how Islamic aesthetics traveled into Western art, Marks draws explicit parallels between works of classical Islamic art and new media art, describing texts that burst into image, lines that multiply to form fractal spaces, “nonorganic life” in carpets and algorithms, and other shared concepts and images. Islamic philosophy, she suggests, can offer fruitful ways of understanding contemporary art.

Hardcover, perfect-bound, b&w and colour

August 2010

ISBN: 9780262014212

About the Author
Laura U. Marks is Dena Wosk University Professor in the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University. She is the author of Enfoldment and Infinity: An Islamic Genealogy of New Media Art (MIT Press).

  1. Enfoldment and Infinity

Related Items

  1. Yoko Ono and Joan Rothfuss: Topless Cellist: The Improbable Life of Charlotte Moorman
  2. Screen Ecologies
  3. Vito Acconci: Language to Cover a Page
  4. Felicity D. Scott: Outlaw Territories
  5. Anna-Sophie Springer and Etienne Turpin: Fantasies of the Library
  6. Mike Kelley: Minor Histories
  7. Andrew Zealley: The Quick and the Dead
  8. Rita Kamacho: Infinity Nets
  9. Sexuality
  10. Laura Broadbent: Interviews
  11. Materializing Six Years: Lucy Lippard and the Emergence of Conceptual Art
  12. Ed Ruscha: Various Small Books
  13. Alternative Histories: New York Art Spaces, 1960-2010
  14. Time
  15. The Global Contemporary and the Rise of New Art Worlds
  16. Bruce Hainley and Elaine Sturtevant: Under the Sign of [ sic]: Sturtevant’s Volte-Face
  17. Anne Rorimer: Michael Asher: Kunsthalle Bern
  18. Kodwo Eshun: Dan Graham: Rock My Religion
  19. Anna Dezeuze: Thomas Hirschhorn: Deleuze Monument
  20. Anna Dezeuze: Thomas Hirschhorn: Deleuze Monument
  21. Amy Brandt: Interplay
  22. October Magazine Issue 151
  23. Eileen Myles: The Importance of Being Iceland
  24. Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl
  25. Chris Kraus and Eileen Myles: I Love Dick
  26. NSK from Kapital to Capital
  27. Participation
  28. Laura Toots: Perceiving Something Different, After Something Significant, Although Things Remain the Same
  29. David Barridge: MAN AARG!

Poetry, Essay, Art Practice
  30. Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige: The Rumors of the World
  31. Marianna Maruyama: Three Movements
  32. Laura Horelli: Interviews, Diaries and Reports
  33. Rick Myers: Catalogue A
  34. Rick Myers: Bite Marks in Paper
  35. Sandy Plotnikoff: The Face (May 2001)
  36. David Det Hompson: Word and Image Equations: a Summer Workshop in the Graphic Design Department, Rhode Island School of Design
  37. Laura Calvi: Untitled
  38. Rob Churm: Flicking Glass Snails
  39. The Yes Men Activity Book (Keep it Slick)
  40. Rick Myers: Afterimages