Author of “Islamic Aesthetics and New Media Art: Points of Contract,” Enfoldment and Infinity: An Islamic Genealogy of New Media Art. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2010.
Marks’ text holds contemporary historical relevance to Issues in New Media Practice because it is a cross-disciplinary analysis that puts marginal thought at the centre of her discourse. In the introduction, Marks brings up the history of Iraq. This history is one we barely hear. In the 9th century, as long as you were a man of means, you were encultured into a society with an appetite for knowledge. Adab, or intellectual curiosity about other cultures, was essential to Iraqi education. School reflected a diversity of knowledge with emphasis on interdisciplinary thinking. Philosophy, theology, science, math, mystics, and poetry were embraced from all over the known world. And there was a fair bit of religious tolerance as “Jewish and Christian as well as Muslim, wrote and debated in relative freedom” (Marks 37).
This text is an ambitious account to make the margins at the centre of thought. By connecting Islamic thought to New Media landscapes a great amount of knowledge can be learned about both cultures. It has never been more relevant, in a post-9/11 ethos of humanity to look towards historical sites of trauma and learn, share and embrace their history with adab.