Barnard Zine Collection (barnardzines) wrote,
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Why Zines Matter, by Alison Piepmeier

I recommend this article:

Alison Piepmeier. "Why Zines Matter: Materiality and the Creation of Embodied Community." American Periodicals: A Journal of History, Criticism, and Bibliography 18.2 (2008): 213-238.

Alison Piepmeier, who did some of her research here at the Barnard Library Zine Collection does a great job--best I've seen--on the zines vs. blogs argument, really getting at the value of a physical interaction with an object. She analyzes four zines (The East Village Inky by Ayun Halliday {Zines H25e}, Fragments of Friendship by Vikki Law {Zines L38c}, I'm So Fucking Beautiful by Nomy Lamm {Zines L366i}, and No Better Voice by Jami Thompson {Zines J235n}, commenting in particular about how the text and the visual presentation either match or are in opposition to one another.
 
What's more, issue 2 1/2 is quite small--not quite 3 by 4 inches, just slightly larger than a business card. It is a zine about fat acceptance, a zine that demands that the world make room for large bodies, and yet it is tiny, smaller not only than most mainstream publications, but also than all other issue of her zine. Not only the imagery but the form--the scale of the zine--is in tension with the content, and this tension adds another layer of meaning to the zine. Clearly the materiality of Lamm's zine contributes to its meaning; not merely the means of transmission of information, the physical imagery and interface of the zine help to shape a reader's experience and understanding. p. 216

Being more of a text person than an art person, I hadn't given much more thought to the visual presentation of zines than whether or not I liked it. My experience of  "reading" zines may be forever changed. I hope this will influence the zines I publish, as well.

Full disclosure: I am quoted in the article, and my zine is mentioned, but I swear on a stack of Zine Worlds, that has nothing to do with how much I loved this article and want people who care about zines to read it. If you don't have access to American Periodicals, let me know, and I'll send you a pdf.



 
 
 
 

Tags: alison piepmeier, i'm so fucking beautiful, nomy lamm, scholarly articles, zines vs. blogs
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