Thursday, May 29, 2014 Zine Camp - 5

coincidence / could be / or just / on way / to undiscover / path
word about / seeing words / anything

Most pages are black. Vague shadow shapes force us to look better, to see that now, we really are someplace else. Dead-end brick walls. Skaters frozen in hand-developed film. Light shining through burnt-out windows.
Daguerreotype landscapes, lit by a foreign darkened sun, waiting, staring, leaning on cars. How to read a book like this? Biography, travel diary, topography, art? The grasping and reaching hand in many of the pictures. Or is it caressing the objects that emerge from the darkness: cars, manholes, distant horizons?

Extremely prosaic, almost boring pictures from the archive of a Lille metro engineer. But not boring at all! The zine becomes a quest for difference and similarity. A search puzzle. How does this city differ from mine? How were these times different? And even in the newest areas there was silence.

Entities trying to survive in an apocalyptic landscape, running from some horrific event. Even the dead are running away, towards some far horizon. Or is it just a vision that the flying dwarves laugh about?
Info 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

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 Zine Camp - 3

Last Sunday I visited 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.

Below a short selection from the zines I liked most. That probably says more about my taste than about the zines. I have added links wherever I could. There is still more to come. I'm still absorbing the warming rays of all the creativity.
A zine belonging to an exhibition.

This is a very interesting book publisher. There are a lot of urban themes in the zines. A pity that it's all in Danish because I would like to read them.

Mixed themes, collage, typography photography.

Atmospheric and mysterious photography. Suggestions of a story.

Old postcards. Suggestions of biography from erased time.


Not present here but seen in Prague at DOX: - the garden zine

Monday, May 26, 2014 Zine Camp - 2

Last Sunday I visited the Zine Camp at WORM in Rotterdam. I looked through all the zines in the museum exhibit and I bought four zines from the artists that had zines to sell.

Below a short selection from the zines I liked most. That probably says more about my taste than about the zines. I have added links wherever I could. There is still more to come.

The volume and quality of the zines is amazing. I feel rich to buy one zine for 6 euro. For an original artwork from a limited series this is enormous value for money. You can build a huge and original art-library with a relatively small investment. This is a really democratic art form. And browsing the available mass, searching for treasures is very satisfying. I'm thankful for this stimulating massage by creativity.

Jana Gombikova - apart (?)


Sunday, May 25, 2014 Zine Camp

Today I visited the Zine Camp at WORM in Rotterdam. I looked through all the zines in the museum exhibit and I bought four zines from the artists that had zines to sell.
Below a short selection from the zines I liked most. That probably says more about my taste than about the zines. And the colors are terrible, the LED-lighting was changing from blue to red and green all the time. I'm sorry about that. But I'm very happy about the warm bath of creativity that I could wallow in! I have added links wherever I could.



Urban archeo-astronomy

I have favorite coffee-drinking and reading spots in Rotterdam. One of them is the LaPlace cafeteria above the V&D department store. I still remember reading Gravity's Rainbow here, with apple-pie, one Saturday afternoon. But I didn't expect to witness an urban variation of the Martinsloch phenomenon.
28 december 2013 - 13:49:38
sun position         Elevation Azimuth latitude longitude
28/12/2013 13:48 | GMT1 13.52° 195.16° 51.9° N 4.4° E

I knew about the Martinsloch phenomenon from books about archeo-astronomy:
The St. Martin's hole is a rock window above the Swiss village of Elm. On two days in spring and summer the sun shines through the St. Martin's Hole directly onto the Church of Elm.
On good weather days the church is illuminated for about 2.5 minutes, then the bright spot has moves away from the church. In fog or haze a clearly visible ray of sunlight, five kilometers long, can be seen, before and after the ray hits the church. 
Both occultists and astronomers are fond of making a pilgrimage to Elm on March 12 and 13, and on September 30 and October 1. The moon is also visible through the Martin's Hole at less regular times.
28 december 2013 - 13:50:34
A common source of data for archaeoastronomy is the study of alignments. This is based on the assumption that the axis of alignment of an archaeological site is meaningfully oriented towards an astronomical target.
In Rotterdam the sun shines between the towers of the Schielandtoren and the Robeco-bank. This produces a well defined and short-lasting sunbeam that quickly passes through the LaPlace cafeteria. The path can be traced on the nice website of Sun-Earth tools.
No one seemed to notice the spectacular phenomenon they were witnessing. Everyone kept talking, eating and drinking. No one seemed to grasp what I was photographing so excitedly. It was just the sun shining as always.
28 december 2013 - 13:58:29
Martinsloch phenomenon - video
Martinsloch phenomenon - description
Martinsloch phenomenon - description and video
Martinsloch phenomenon - description and video
Martinsloch - geology

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Smoke Ghost in Rotterdam

I admire the urban horror of Fritz Leiber. Recently I've listened to Our Lady of Darkness and it's a wonderfully bleak urban novel. Fortunately some places in Rotterdam mimic Fritz Leiber stories. One of them is my favorite place in the city and with each visit I'm reminded of Smoke Ghost.

It had all begun on the elevated. There was a particular little sea of roofs he had grown into the habit of glancing at just as the packed car carrying him homeward lurched around a turn. A dingy, melancholy little world of tar-paper, tarred gravel, and smoky brick.
Rusty tin chimneys with odd conical hats suggested abandoned listening posts.
There was a washed-out advertisement of some ancient patent medicine on the nearest wall. Superficially it was like ten thousand other drab city roofs.
It seemed unusually bleak and suggestive, almost beautifully ugly, though in no sense picturesque; dreary, but meaningful.
One evening toward winter he noticed what seemed to be a shapeless black sack lying on the third roof from the tracks. He did not think about it. It merely registered as an addition to the well-known scene and his memory stored away the impression for further reference.
Its colour and texture, and the grimy stains around it, suggested that it was filled with coal dust, which was hardly reasonable. Then, too, the following evening it seemed to have been blown against a rusty ventilator by the wind--which could hardly have happened if it were at all heavy. Perhaps it was filled with leaves. Catesby was surprised to find himself anticipating his next daily glance with a minor note of apprehension. 
What difference did it make if his imagination had played tricks on him, and he'd fancied that the object was crawling and hitching itself slowly closer across the roofs? That was the way any normal imagination worked
PDF version of the story - 1941 - with striking illustration
Text of the story - Google books
The text of the story
Review of the story - how strikingly modern it still is