Border Machines /// 2011 is the result of Ian Alan Paul’s MA thesis project at SFAI. The database essay examines three contemporary artists working in border territories and seeks to establish a ground on which we can begin to think the undoing of borders.


The site is organized rhizomatically and has many routes and paths through it, resisting formal closure or resolution. Beyond the textual content of the thesis, the project takes on a formal interdisciplinarity and is presented as a transmedia, where textual, performative and digital iterations all contribute to the project’s whole.

The introduction of the website describes the project this way:

“And yet everywhere we look, we find borders; lines are ceaselessly drawn to enclose, capture, parse, and divide. While the exchange and movement of capital has certainly accelerated over the past couple of decades, people nonetheless find themselves subject to the controls, limits and powers of the states that articulate and regulate them. These borders are more heavily militarized and securitized now than at any other moment in history, and continue to perpetuate the forces of colonial pasts.

While it is perhaps clear now that the process of contemporary capitalist globalization hasn’t rid the world of borders but rather have continued to fuel their operation, disruptive figures continue to appear in these border territories and drive an alter-globalization. This other globalization works to sabotage and undermine the borders secured in colonial pasts and generate encounters that aim to not only dismantle these enclosures, but also poetically point to an always present potentiality of other futures.”

An archived version of the site can be found byclicking here.