Week 13 Trends Reflection: Pop Culture and Resurgence of the Zine

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    • #2660
      Samantha Maddox

      I have to admit that for this weeks topic, pop culture, I struggled. I struggled to be in the immediate present, which is exactly what pop culture is. The relevance of current trends now. But I found myself grasping at the past. Looking at pop art for another millennium, going through early late 80’s and 90’s film and music that made an impact on who I am today. So for this trend reflection I wanted to look at something that was relevant to me then but also is relevant, but in a different format now which is zines.

      Pinko vs. Punk explains how the underground publication of zines in the 1960’s had a profound effect on their creators and readers, they were deeply committed to making a social change. And I still think that this is a relevant factor today and also for zines that were available in the 1980’s and 1990’s such as Laughter and the Sound of Teacups, an Australian Riot Grrl zine that extended into the early 2000’s.

      Zines are more consciously wrought than diaries and more informative than a scrapbook. They cover events that mainstream media don’t and there is an anachist, underground element to a zine. They are not about the world’s point of view, it is the writers anthology to a particular topic or movement, they are purposeful and personal.

      Nowadays, zines have lost their individual intimate hand craftedness, no longer do you receive your zine that can be placed in your hand and you can admire the craftsmanship of the text that was carefully chosen and the weight of the paper – maybe that is just the graphic designer in me, but now we get our zines such as Lenny by Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner via email 🙁

      Zine makers were not only publicists but artists as well, take Erin Fae for example who wrote notes to her recipients of her zine stating that she made this and held it and now you are holding it. She saw her zine as art, something tactile that could be held and interpreted how ever the recipient wanted to.

      Like Freedman, I agree that, it is interesting that women and minority groups are seen to be the underrepresented in society and they are the most prolific in zine publication.

      Shinjoung Yeo accuses libraries as institutions that hold discredible sources such as zines because they are not authoritative, but we are not discussing medical or law journals we are discussing pop culture. A zine is like a time capsule that offers a snap shot in time of that political, artistic moment in time.

      Alternative press collections such as zines offer snap shots of social and political change. It is a libraries responsibility to help produce, store, catalogue and archive these papered temples of inspiration and at times controversial. They are records of the underground movements that made at times significant change or at least got people attention to the point that they wanted to subscribe to it.

      Lenny has brought back the resurgence of the zine in the format of an email newsletter and whilst it does not get distributed by hand or posted to its recipients by mail or can be archived in a library, it is available online for the general public that has an email address. And just like their fore sisters Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner are feminists, political anarchist who are backed by Gloria Steinem and the Riot Grrls.

    • #2680
      Deborah Fuller

      Very interesting post Samantha. I grew up in Thatcher’s England in the late 1970s and 1980s and read the punk zines, which has you said offer a snapshot of the political and cultural movements at that time. My regret is I didn’t keep them as it would be interesting to look back at them. For this reason, I like you feel libraries should be adding them to their collections, so in the future researchers can examine history from the point of view of the people living at the time.

      • #2681
        Samantha Maddox

        Thanks for responding Deb! I think it is important that libraries have collections of zines. They offer such a grassroots perspective of what is happening at that particular time. I can only imagine what zines were like in regards to Thatcher’s time in government…

    • #2686
      Shannon Franzway

      Ok, I had to Google zine – no idea what they were!  Incidentally, the links for zine definition in the post were expired – might need an update?  Anyway, I really enjoyed your post, it was obviously informative (I now know what a zine is) but I think I would like to seek out some zines for a read.  Curating a collection of zines would be tricky, I imagine.  Anything electronic that is freely available could come down to ensuring digital literacy skills for patrons to access themselves?  And paper zines, would it be limited to local or more widespread?  And how much space should be allowed in a collection for something that is likely to grow?  And possibly a specific weeding policy to deal specifically with zines?  Just rhetorical questions really, my thoughts on paper 🙂

      • #2840
        Samantha Maddox

        Hi Shannon! I am so sorry the links did not work. I have gone back in and corrected them. I am so sorry. I you come back and have a look 🙂 I think that zines could be local to the state or country but they can also be international. When you look at the Riot Grrl movement, their zines were at some stages international. But initially all zines tend to be established from a grassroots perspective so the collections would be indicative to the time and place. 🙂

    • #2857
      Steven Walker

      A good post and i agree when you say Like Freedman, I agree that, it is interesting that women and minority groups are seen to be the underrepresented in society. Good work.

      • This reply was modified 8 years, 7 months ago by Steven Walker.
    • #2893
      Will Wood

      Hey Samantha,

      Really interesting post!

      I still have a few zines that I found while I was doing my undergrad and dug them out after reading this. I totally agree with you on the fact that the physical nature of them is really important. They are unique artistic expressions and I just can’t imagine getting the same feeling from a digital version. Though at least the new electronic zines are more easily stored by libraries. They provide a snapshot of culture that really does need to be documented.

    • #2912

      Hi Samantha, I really enjoyed your reflection. I didn’t really understand properly what zines were before this week, except in a vague way. Now I know I’ve seen, touched and read them without knowing there was a word. I’ve been interested in the discussion on zines when people talk about “touching” and their “tactile” nature. I think that’s similar to physical books – a lot of people talk about wanting to hold books, turn pages and breathe in their smell,  in contrast to the kindle etc experience. Obviously when zines are hand-made that increases the intensity of the experience. And wow! a note from the author – that’s special. I saw recently that you can buy “empty” bottles and scented candles that are said to hold the perfume of books. How weird are our lives becoming that a bottle of air that may (or may not!) smell, oh so briefly, of a perfume that may once have been commonplace but is now endangered? You’re absolutely right, that as our lives become more digital, we need libraries to preserve zines that speak of experiences that may never come again, that were of their time and place. They speak in a number of ways, not just by reading their content on a screen.

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