Enfolding-unfolding aesthetics

A method to analyze images and histories as enfolded and selectively unfolded, arriving to our bodies from the cosmos. Enfolding-unfolding aesthetics draws on the triadic logic of C.S. Peirce, Henri Bergson, Leibniz’s philosophy and Deleuze’s revision of it, medieval Isma‘ili thought on latency and manifestation, Ibn Sînâ and Deleuze on the univocity of being, and the process philosophies of A.N. Whitehead and Mulla Sadra.

I use it as a method in many writings, including
Hanan al-Cinema (2015).


"Radical gestures of unfolding in films by Mohamed Soueid and The Otolith Group,”
Gestures of Seeing in Film, Video and Drawing, ed. Asbjørn Grønstad, Henrik Gustafsson, and Øyvind Vågnes (London: Routledge, 2016), 69-88.

“Monad, Database, Remix: Manners of Unfolding in The Last Angel of History," Black Camera 6:2 (2015), special issue on John Akomfrah, ed. Matthias de Groof and Stephanie Symons. 112-134. On Selected Writings page

“Enfolding-Unfolding aesthetics, or the unthought at the heart of wood,” in Technology and Desire: The Transgressive Art of Moving Images, ed. Rania Gaafar and Martin Schulz (Karlsruhe: ZKM and London: Intellect Books, 2013) On Selected Writings page

“Thinking like a carpet: embodied perception and individuation in algorithmic media,” in
Entautomatisierung [Deautomatization], ed. Annette Brauerhoch et al. (Paderborn, Germany: Wilhelm Fink, 2012) On Selected Writings page

“Noise in Enfolding-Unfolding Aesthetics,”
The Oxford Handbook of Sound and Image in Digital Media, ed. Amy Herzog, John Richardson and Carol Vernallis (Oxford UP, 2013). On Selected Writings page.

Enfoldment and Infinity: An Islamic Genealogy of New Media Art. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2010.

“Information, Secrets, and Enigmas: An Enfolding-Unfolding Aesthetics for Cinema,” Screen 50th anniversary issue 50:1 (Spring 2009), 86-98

“Experience – Information – Image: a historiography of unfolding. Arab cinema as example,”
Cultural Studies Review (March 2007): 85-98, special issue on “History Experiments.” Another version is “Geopolitics hides something in the image; Arab cinema unfolds something else,” in Cinema at the Periphery, ed. Bélen Vidal (University of Edinburgh Press). Available on Selected Writings page

On experience in the information age see “Immigrant semiosis,” in
Fluid Screens, Expanded Cinema: Digital Futures, ed. Susan Lord and Janine Marchessault (University of Toronto Press, 2007), 284-303. On Selected Writings page

I developed enfolding-unfolding aesthetics with designer Raegan Kelly as an animated diagram for
Vectors: Journal of Culture and Technology in a Dynamic Vernacular 1:3 (2006)

The model originated in “Invisible Media,” in New Media: Theories and Practices of Digitextuality, ed. Anna Everett and John T. Caldwell (Routledge, 2003)