Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Punk: periodical collection

Edited by Paul Gangloff, featuring discussions with Stephan Dillemuth, Martijn Haas, Dominique Hurth, Eleonor Jonker, Gee Vaucher and others on zine-making, distribution and the ethos behind them. Very good book this, with some superb images made especially for the project.

'Stephan Dillemuth: One thing I think is important about these publications is that they serve a certain purpose, there’s a need to make them and there is a certain context for that need – that’s important. A lot of publications today are not made anymore out of need, but just to make money with advertising and for that they need “content providers”, that’s what writers and artists became. Service industry serves the manufacturing of redundant information, in order to generate revenue with advertising. There is no other inner need, no inner drive, no other purpose behind it and that’s also visible in the design, no simplicity, no directness, just packaging and hollow inside.'

Visit any zine fair today and you'll see a lot of material that's all 'packaging and hollow inside', despite being personal and handmade rather than to 'generate revenue with advertising'. For some, small press is on a par with cake-making and other crafts, hence it's popularity. The political or cutting-edge art aesthetic is largely missing. It's as if makers long for the old ways (of production) in this age of technology, but use them to create little more than pretty, vacuous product. 

The obvious difference today is that the overriding spirit of the era from the 70s to mid-90s is absent. The politics of living then (on the dole, protest, rebellion), fuelled in part by music was of it's time. Today, 'protest' or artistic rebellion is more likely to take the form of memes that clog your Facebook wall...oh, and those petitions. And Tweets, of course. Hardly substitutes for hand-crafted images and stapled pages which you can hold and feel in more ways than the purely physical. Punk: periodical collection is freely available in PDF form, but having the book is better. Read more and buy it here

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