Monash University

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Codex infinitum : the infinite book

posted on 2017-02-16, 04:51 authored by Ayliffe, Rhonda
Few objects or ideas are as universally recognisable or have endured like that of the book. Emerging some 2000 years ago, the codex is arguably one of the most significant human accomplishments. The book is simultaneously physical and conceptual: a symbol and storehouse of information. They may be humble and utilitarian or resplendent objects of great artistic merit and monetary value. The book is more than the sum of its parts - page, text, cover, content - it is the primary record of human history, the repository of human knowledge, the cache of human culture. With my studio-based research project Codex Infinitum -the infinite book, I proposed the creation of a body of work that used the book form as the means to investigate ideas about the future of books and knowledge in an increasingly digital world, using permaculture as the guiding philosophical framework. While my initial impetus was to contemplate the potential value and meaning of books and knowledge in the wake of the digital revolution, I became equally interested in exploring ideas about tacit or experiential knowledge as this related to notions of place and identity. These ideas essentially provided the initial inspiration for my studio research. As the project circuitously developed, and my interest in the role and value oftacit knowledge grew, the book increasingly began to operate more symbolically- not just representing knowledge, but also culture, tradition and/or power. As such, during my project the book began to operate principally as a vessel to allude to these, and other antithetical ideas, as I examined how experiential and empirical knowledge interact on a personal level.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Rodney Forbes

Additional supervisor 1

Rosalind Atkins

Additional supervisor 2

Susan Purdy

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Fine Art


Master of Fine Art

Degree Type



Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture

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