What if the internet came first and was the foundation on which print design was based rather than the other way around as it is today? This is the question the editors of The State asked themselves when they began creating the “a socio-historical forum and quarterly journal”. The State will launch March 19 at Satellite during Art Dubai.
Editors Ahmad Makia and Rahel Aima describe The State as an “online blog and commissioned articles as well as a print journal curated from the articles received.”
The print version of the journal is based on the idea of a reverse skeuomorph. The team at The State are using features unique to the internet to influence the design of their print publication, “like scrolling” says Aima, who speaks quickly with obvious excitement for the idea. She adds, “What would loading look like?”
Much of what is right with the web and wrong with the web can be attributed to print design. Beginning with the first printing press, print design has been refined to be user-friendly, aesthetically appealing and to guide and direct readers within the pages.
When the internet became mainstream, it presented a unique and unfamiliar space to design. Sometimes the comfort with how we read newspapers and magazines became a crutch and sometimes it was ignored with reckless abandon. The State is attempting to reverse-refine print architecture.
Publisher Rami Farook who is self-funding the project explains, “Once your focus is on the audience rather than the clients, whether they are the ad agencies or corporations, you have that freedom.”
In an act very telling of how they approach their jobs as co-editors, Aima and Makia speak in unison as well as before, after and over each other as they explain the meaning behind the name of the print and online project. “The State – Al Halla in Arabic – refers to the nation state but also the condition/social-condition.”
Aima continues, “As well as talking about things on the ground, another part of the condition right now is the move from print to online – what we’re calling the ‘printernet’ in this kind of transition.” Makia elaborates in the same slow, measured way that Farook speaks in. “We’re looking at The State more as an object almost in response to the dying of print.”
Included in the fifteen articles planned for the first issue are pieces by Roman Gautam writing about why programming code should be read like poetry; Olivia Rosane on the artist as a mad man which compares church craftsmen and the contemporary status of graphic designers; Sophie Chamas on the return to the Gulf due to austerity and economic recessions elsewhere and Linnea Hincks looks at the social structure of Sweden which references The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Julian Assange.
They are a small team with big plans but Aima sees a gap in publishing in the Gulf which is “rigorous, long form writing with a focus on the writing. I guess the key word is ‘rigorous’” she emphasises.
See their ambitious and rigorous work March 19 at Satellite. – Clint McLean