Thursday, May 29, 2014 Zine Camp - 4

Last Sundayvisited the Zine Camp at WORM in Rotterdam. I looked through all the zines in the museum exhibit provided by Zines of the Zone and I bought four zines from the artists that had zines to sell. The atmosphere was pleasantly busy, but not overcrowded. It gave me a lot to think about!
Some people were browsing and others were participating in zine-making workshops. For most people it was probably their first experience with zine making. The lady leading the workshop was thanked with a loud round of applause. I stayed the whole afternoon and still there was a lot that I didn't witness.
Several participants looked experienced and were making new zine editions, to add to their existing series. Still it was hard work making the selections and sequences. This whole networked (relatively) low-cost art culture has made me curious about the scene and it's economics. Obviously, could it really be as simple as this?
Little publications filled with rantings of high weirdness and exploding with chaotic design. [...] In zines, everyday oddballs were speaking plainly about themselves and our society with an honest sincerity, a revealing intimacy, and a healthy “fuck you” to sanctioned authority — for no money and no recognition, writing for an audience of like-minded misfits.
Interesting to speculate why all this work is invested in this relatively cheap and low-circulation art form. I refuse to interpret it so cheaply as this. But I would be interested in costs, sales and circulation statistics.
... "the vanity projects of a new generation," ... Most zines ... cost $3 to $6.
Or ironically like this. But the demographic niche might still be true. I need even more data. 
The anger of zine creators largely has its roots in economic dissatisfaction. By and large zines came from writers who were white and form middle class backgrounds.
There were automated tools. There was a plotting machine that made very technical-looking line-drawings from designs composed on top of a light-table. A very nifty set-up. An interesting link between zine, art and maker cultures. And an echo of the efficiency of commercial print-on-demand. With this machine we can make zine-on-demand, make unique artwork scalable.
There were a lot of DIY and other small-scale niche-orientated publications. Zines keep on being produced, since punk zines in 1970’s. ... In our age of Internet many zines were transformed into websites. However, there is a sense of revival in the past years. Zines have  been embraced by a new generation, often drawing inspiration from craft, graphic design and artists’ books, rather than political and subcultural reasons.
And there was a lot of classic handiwork using scissors, glue, copiers, staplers and sewing machines. I choose to believe in a bright future for this media form. Especially because I'm so enthusiastic about holding these little, precious, objects.
In times of constant technological revolution and immediate access to information through the network, paper, as a medium for the dissemination of culture and information seems destined to disappear. But the number of independent publications do not stop growing.
There were hanging gardens full of zines.
... experimental magazines ... full of visual impact, subject to different interpretations, inexhaustible source of emotions and feelings. They already have a notable presence in art fairs, specialized bookstores and museum shops.
And a few personal exhibits by people selling zines. This one by Sergej Vutuc. A skater-photographer-artist who later also did a performance.

I still have material for two more posts. One about the zines I bought and one about more zones from the  Zines of the Zone exhibit. ... You have to enjoy your own enthusiasm while it lasts!

Stephen Duncombe, Notes from the Underground 1-2, quoted here and here
A Zine-ography - An annotated list of books and articles about zines
The Rise & Fall of Zines​
de zines - exhibition/
artandwork - personal-economy

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