Unforgetting L.A. edit-a-thons create Wikipedia articles for artists and aspects of cultural history overlooked in the online encyclopedia. Organized by California Institute of the Arts’ online magazine East of Borneo, edit-a-thon volunteers work from a crowd sourced list of topics to build a more diverse and accurate online chronicle of the Southern California scene. The fourth Unforgetting L.A. write-in will focus on creating Wikipedia articles for unrepresented art spaces and publications. The list of proposed articles currently includes Brockman Gallery, the Foundation for Art Resources, and artists’ magazines The Dumb Ox, Straight Turkey, and Choke.
The next edit-a-thon will take place Saturday, June 21, from noon to 5 p.m. at 356 S. Mission Rd., a new visual and performing arts space located at 356 South Mission Road in downtown Los Angeles. Tutorials on Wikipedia guidelines and policies will be given every hour on the hour. Both beginners and experienced Wikipedia editors are welcome to participate. Click here for more details.
“Training new editors is one important way that we can broaden the scope of Wikipedia’s art coverage, making the online encyclopedia more diverse and accurate. There are so many reasons that art histories become marginalized—gender, race, but also practices that are collaborative, political, controversial, or simply less market-friendly. It’s an exciting thing to witness those historical gaps being filled in by our meet-up volunteers, many of whom have never contributed to Wikipedia before,” said East of Borneo executive editor Stacey Allan.
New Wikipedia articles written by Unforgetting L.A. editors include those on assemblage artist George Herms, Asian-American art specialist and curator Karin Higa, pioneering environmental graphic designer Deborah Sussman, architect Zelma Wilson—who worked with Richard Neutra and Victor Gruen—and Noah Purifoy, co-founder of the Watts Towers Art Center. In December 2013, the edit-a-thon at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture created nearly a dozen articles for women in architecture and design. The next meetup, at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) in March 2014, addressed unrepresented artists, curators and organizations active in the years since the museum’s inception in the 1980s.
“Wikipedia will only contain ‘the sum of all human knowledge’ if its editors are as diverse as the population itself: we can help make that happen,” said Sue Gardner, former Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation.
“We’re one part of a larger movement that sees art museums and others embracing Wikipedia as a way to share specialized knowledge online, in a way that makes it far more accessible than it would be in an exhibition catalogue or an archive. All of the research and scholarship that was generated through the Getty’s Pacific Standard Timeproject, for example, can be used to create Wikipedia entries for those otherwise forgotten figures, and their new presence online can encourage further writing and research.”
Unforgetting L.A. is an initiative of East of Borneo, an online magazine of contemporary art, and its history, as considered from Los Angeles, published by California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). Since its launch in October 2010, East of Borneo has been lauded in The Huffington Post as “a new model for online magazines,” celebrated in art and design publications including Artforum.com, Art in America, Flavorpill, KCET’s Artbound, and Design Observer, and nominated “Best Arts & Culture Site” finalist by the readers of the LA Weekly for their 2012 Web Awards. More information about East of Borneo can be found in the media kit available for download here: http://bit.ly/NpZKmv