LOS ANGELES, CA.- East of Borneo
is a dynamic and extensive website: part art journal, part multimedia archive edited by Thomas Lawson, Dean of California Institute of the Arts
(CalArts) School of Art. East of Borneo presents and frames a lively, on-going investigation of contemporary art and its modern history, as seen from Los Angeles. With its robust web architecture and non-hierarchical editorial approach, East of Borneo reflects the sprawling, rhizomatic nature of Los Angeles as well as the broader, international art world. East of Borneo is published by California Institute of the Arts.
East of Borneo is significantly more complex than most art world websites, commented Lawson. As the practical challenges facing publishing require an ever more radical response, its launch marks the convergence of two very distinct lines of thought. What is the nature, and the future, of art magazines? And how might we give form to the sprawling history of art in Los Angeles, a form that can be generative and productive, not merely descriptive or fancifully speculative?
Navigating the site, users will discover that the new publication incorporates the benefits of online media for the sharing and distribution of research and archival material, some of which has not previously been available online. Articles incorporate and offer readers immediate access to the materials--video, images, links and texts--that the writers have used in their research. Users can upload additional items, creating a growing archive of relevant content that activates and enriches the editorial material. Topics will continue to develop over time as material accrues, becoming substantial repositories of information and interpretation from a multitude of perspectives.
As a writer, notes Lawson, I have become accustomed to working in a way that allows skipping back and forth as a text builds, checking references and finding new evidence as a result of lateral moves across the internet. A few online publications allow readers a similarly multifaceted experience, although most quarantine reader participation in the shadow zone reserved for comments. Until now, no art publication has offered the kind of varied experiences provided by East of Borneo.
This far-reaching project will also include an imprint of highly focused books that reconsider neglected material and provocative themes within a contemporary context. The first, to be published in early 2011, will present the selected writings of architecture critic Esther McCoy, edited and with an introduction by writer Susan Morgan.