Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Design For Dreaming Zine/ Communication Breakdown

In Housmans this morning, dropping off some copies of the book, so as usual I rummaged through the zines downstairs, hoping to find a new issue of Clod Magazine but no luck. I don't know how often they appear, probably only yearly. And I haven't spoken about it here yet but will at some stage because it really is the funniest thing on the shelves.

Anyway, I bought three copies of Design For Dreaming, a centre-stapled A5 b&w production...by whom? That's the question. I've searched today but not been able to find one mention of it on the internet. Perhaps that shouldn't surprise me, the small-run nature of zines meaning thousands go unnoticed. The only contact is a domain address which just presents an email address. Who are these people, or who is this person? 

I admire deliberate anonymity in a way, but ultimately prefer communication lines to be created. That must be because I remember the old world when addresses in zines were always included because you wanted to be contacted. That way small networks were established. Today small networks are established online where we optimistically reach out but truth be told seldom get the reaction we desire. By which I don't mean praise for the brilliant/art or writing, necessarily, just a reaction, feedback.

The internet's like a vast hysterical crowd in which you try keeping one person still long enough to have a meaningful interaction. But they're constantly distracted. This hyper activity in the form of surfing is hard to combat. It doesn't stop for you. Experts suggest shouting louder, for longer and more often, but that simply isn't either possible or desirable for many creators. Where would you find the time to create anything? 

My Facebook tab is open and dormant. Not '1' notification. This is nothing new. To get something out you have to put something in. Right? Anyone who mentions it has a love/hate relationship with Facebook. More often than not, just hate. I can see why. You have a number of 'friends', most of whom, it turns out, don't post a damned thing you're interested in. So you' Unfollow' and keep doing so until the number of people with whom you really have something in common is roughly the same as you knew before the Network. Or is it just me?

Sadly, you may never meet most of those good Friends because they live far away or in another country. The same was true pre-PC, of course. The difference was that letters really meant a lot when you got them and required the same effort for you to write in return. I doubt many people today even email each other. Communication has been reduced to the most minimal forms possible, perhaps even just an emoticon, never mind a 140 character tweet. 

I can only speak from my perspective. I could extol the virtues of mass communication on an epic scale across all platforms but that's not my experience. Right now it strikes me that communication on the Network is so fragile and frankly, weak, because we 'know' people without knowing them at all. This impersonal mechanism requires little and gives it in return. Why would we invest more than a minute in someone we don't really know? Letters, however, had to be worth sending. You were handwriting (or, if technically inclined, typing,) which by it's very nature is more personal and in many cases encouraged people to reveal personal details. The upshot being you felt you got to know the person better.

Well, that was the old world. Design For Dreaming is the old world in the sense of it being stapled paper. Yes, you understand the appeal of paper zines, I know. The contents are totally 'modern', though; you might even say 'post-modern'. Utilising much-loved Situationist-style d├ętournement, cut'n'paste graphics and scanned pages relating to philosophy, design and the politics of everyday life, it crams a lot into the slender page count. But it only costs a pound. I would love to have linked to a page where you could buy it but as I said at the start there's just an email address. I'll contact them but won't publish it as a potential spam magnet. If they respond with further outlets I'll let you know. 

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