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Seeing and Believing:
Books, Art and 3D Cinema

Laura U. Marks and Willy Le Maitre in dialogue

Laura U. Marks: a mixed-media presentation of her groundbreaking book on classical Islamic and contemporary art Enfoldment and Infinity

Willy Le Maitre: an on-screen presentation of his 3D media work Edia

Friday, January 28 at 7:30pm

At Hart House
7 Hart House Circle, University of Toronto Main Campus
Free–the event and 3D glasses
Doors open at 7 pm

A co-presentation of Subtle Technologies, This is Not a Reading Series and Hart House

Acclaimed writer and curator Laura U. Marks and media artist Willy Le Maitre explore abstract contemporary art and cinema in a provocative evening of talks and film presentations. Marks' Enfoldment and Infinity, published by MIT Press, contends that Islamic art and thought are at the roots of current digital art. Le Maitre's Edia is a digital entity, which lives inside us and looks out at us—but which we only see on screens. Using 3D and 2D imagery, Marks and Le Maitre will take us from past to present, exploring the history of abstract art while also demonstrating what it looks like, feels and means today. "Our discussion will be around enfoldment, indexing surfaces between inner and outer space–and infinity."—Le Maitre

Laura U. Marks' Enfoldment and Infinity establishes points of contact between classical Islamic art and contemporary computer-based art. Both are often aniconic, performative and unfold from an invisible source. Demonstrating and inventing Islamic "roots" for new media art, the book argues that specific moments of classical Islamic thought give us new and fruitful ways to think about contemporary art. The book also traces what she calls "the haptic transfer and the travels of the abstract line": how Islamic aesthetics journeyed westward from medieval times on, drawing out powers of abstraction and embodiment, ultimately to inform modernism and contemporary new media art. It demonstrates meeting points between Islamic thought and the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, and it proposes an enfolding-unfolding aesthetics to explain how artworks (and other things) unfold from the universe through a filter of information.

"After reading Laura Marks's lucid Enfoldment and Infinity...we have to give up our established concepts of media history. ... Chapter by chapter, it becomes evident that some of the most important modern paradigms like pixels, algorithms, morphs, or even virtual reality and artificial life have not been originally generated by the Occident, but through L'Age d'Or of the Orient." — Siegfried Zielinski, Chair, Media Theory, Berlin University of the Arts

Le Maitre's Edia is a real-time media presentation displayed in a 3D stereographic format that illustrates some of the ideas presented in Marks' book. "It explores the topologies of information space. While an individual is situated in a body, its counterpart, the dividual, is situated in its body's relations, communication, emotings. The work details the notion of a distributed self and its relative psycho geography, encompassing the non Euclidean space of networked culture in general," says Le Maitre.

"Edia is an entity that distributes the self in a constellation of points around the globe. The points are personified by 'friends' in dialog. The entity's interconnected points on the network form an analogous structure in our own bodies. Edia's molecular constitution is bonded by audiovisual channels that are both its memory and links to the possible in sequences of event. Its amalgamations of inter subjective perspective visualize reality as an artifact of communication."


Laura U. Marks is a theorist, critic and curator of independent and experimental media arts. She is the author of The Skin of the Film: Intercultural Cinema, Embodiment, and the Senses (Duke University Press, 2000) and Touch: Sensuous Theory and Multisensory Media (Minnesota University Press, 2002), as well as dozens of essays. She has curated programs of independent and experimental media for festivals and art spaces worldwide. Dr. Marks is the Dena Wosk University Professor of Art and Culture Studies at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver.

Willy Le Maitre's established practice as a media-artist has earned international acclaim including awards from Vida, Spain and Telefilm prize at Images in Toronto, Canada. His work is underlined by collaborative methodologies that have been core to the conception and presentation of innovative video based media art works in places such as The New Museum, The Kitchen, FIMA in Victoriaville Quebec, ICMC and ISEA. For the past five years, Stereo-3d video has been a chief characteristic of his work. Currently, he is based in Toronto.

Subtle Technologies brings artists and scientists together to explore new questions and show work at the intersection of Art, Science and Technology. Subtle Technologies holds events throughout the year, including discussion sessions, talks and screenings. In June, Subtle Technologies will be presenting the 14th annual Subtle Technologies Festival.

This Is Not A Reading Series (TINARS) offers a ground-breaking theatrical dimension to the appreciation of fine writing. Employing music, comedy, psychodrama, dance, multimedia performance, lectures, dialogue—everything but reading—TINARS investigates the creative process behind literary works.

Hart House is a living laboratory of social, artistic, cultural and recreational experiences where all voices, rhythms and traditions converge. As the vibrant home for the education of the mind, body and spirit envisioned by its founders, Hart House encourages and supports activities that provide spaces for awakening the capacity for self-knowledge and self-expression.

For More Information, please contact:

Managing Director, Subtle Technologies
215 Spadina Avenue, Suite 400
Toronto M5T 2C7


Director, This Is Not A Reading Series (TINARS)
401 Richmond Street West
Suite 393
Toronto, ON M5V 3A8
416-598-2662 or 647-267-9475


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