Author Archives: Jordan

Interview with a Zinester: Interference Archive!

Today on interview with a zinester, we have the bunch of rad folks over at Interference Archive talking to us about their work collecting and exhibiting zines to the public! Their space in Brooklyn gives a home to a lot of radical activist work and artwork and they will be bringing some of their community flair up to Barnard this weekend for the zine fest. Check out what they’ve got to say!

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Give us a short description of yourself and the work you do (including any zine samples if you have them!).

Interference Archive explores the relationship between cultural production and social movements, through exhibitions, an archive, publications, workshops, and an online presence. The collection contains cultural materials and crucial tools of communication and expression: posters, flyers, publications, photographs, books, T-shirts, buttons, and audiovisual recordings. Through our programming, this cultural ephemera is used to animate histories of people mobilizing for social transformation, which is often marginalized in mainstream society. As an archive from below, we are a collectively organized, and are open to the public.  We work in collaboration with like-minded projects, and encourage creative engagement with radical histories and current struggles.

How did you come to collect zines? Why are they important to your collection?

At the Archive, we have collected zines through our involvement in social movements, punk, riot grrl, and political art projects over the past 25 years.

A large part of the Archive’s original collection came from the personal collection of Josh MacPhee, who started collecting zines as an extension of making them. The first zine he made was in 1988/89 with a group of friends, and was mostly poetry and graphics, with some punk record reviews. They tried to sell it for a quarter in the high school lunch room. The first zine he “collected” was a mail-art type thing he picked up a year earlier.

Zines are important because, through the process of creating and distributing them, their creators become part of a DIY community and meet other artistic collaborators.  Through zines we encountered a wider network of people independently publishing and disseminating alternative media. They are a marker of the ability of marginalized individuals and small groups to express themselves, and articulate different ways the world can work. They are the foundation for understanding that we can both do things ourselves, and do them in ways that run counter to the status quo.

What is your favorite zine or piece of mail art? Do you like any specific style/part of a zine?

Mimi Nguyen’s evolution of a race riot made a gigantic impression; another favourite is Annie Danger’s Go Fuck Yourself, about DIY sex toys.

If you could sum up your zinester life in a kitchen appliance, what appliance would it be?

I think if Interference Archive were something in the kitchen we could be described as a large glass Pyrex storage container-solid, accessible and climate controlled which you can look through whenever you want.

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Interview with the FZF’14 DJ Troy Frost: Kyara Andrade!

Bet you didn’t know we were going to have a live DJ at the Feminist Zine Fest this year! Kyara Andrade, a.k.a. DJ Troy Frost is an amazing artist and currently works at the Barnard Zine Library with one of our organizers, Jenna Freedman. Check out what she has to say in this special interview:

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1. Give us a short description of yourself and the work you do (including any zine samples if you have them!)

My name is DJ Troy Frost. I identify as a prata*, DJ, oil painter, Hip Hop enthusiast, and a feminist supastar. When creating and engaging with art, my intention is to heal.

2. How did you come to make music and art? Do you have the same process for every type of media?

My mother and I would go to an art class offered at my high school every Wednesday and in that space I engaged with visual art in a comfortable, accessible way. Painting has been a way for me to process my feelings and experiences, while expressing things I don’t want to put words to. I was raised on hip hop music. I talk about it, critique it, and listen to it all the time. DJing is allowing me to contribute to the culture in a way that’s new, challenging, and fun for me! A part of my artistic process that is consistent is approaching each medium with humility, commitment and a willingness to connect with the people and the things around me.

3. What does it mean to do “feminist art/music-making”? Does feminism appear in your work (explicitly or implicitly)?

Doing what you love in the face of doubt, systems of oppression that actively work against you and your people, and just your everyday haters is feminist as fuck because you are writing your own narrative and sending the message to those around you that they can too.

As a black woman living below the poverty line, being financially secure is important to me. Sometime I doubt that I can fulfill that need and be an artist. Creating anyway, believing in myself anyway, fueling what I love anyway is a way that feminism appears in my life, having family and friends that love, encourage, and invest in me is a way that feminism appears in my life, and knowing that my and my peoples’ identities and unrefined narratives (pleasant or traumatic) deserve to be at the center rather than the margins is a way that feminism appears in my work. I hope that living my life this way will encourage those around me to invest in what they love, be apart of supportive communities, and explore the depth of their identity.

4. What is your favorite zine or piece of mail art? Did you have a seminal “zine moment”?

As of now my favorite zine is “Shotgun Seamstress” by Osa Atoe. The content is empowering and meaningful. I know very little about punk rock music/culture and SS has been an awesome starting point for me. Aesthetically, it’s AMAZING; I love the cut-and-paste element, the layouts, and the images. SS is the inspiration for a zine I’m currently working on that will explore the intersection of Hip Hop, Identity and Feminism (be on the look out <3). SS has made me think more critically about capitalism, consumerism, and blackness without leaving me lost in theory or ideas far-removed from my lived experience.

5. If you could sum up your creative life in a kitchen appliance, what appliance would it be?

Uh, wow this is hard. I would sum up my creative life in a pilon, which is a little bowl with a stick used to crush herbs, seasonings and other tasty ingredient that add the flavor, texture, excitement to my grandma’s dishes in the way that I add the flavor, excitement and style to the art forms that I explore and engage with. Hopefully that wasn’t too corny. 🙂

Ps: I am ecstatic about DJing for all the dope people that will be present on Saturday. See ya there!
* Prata means black girl in Cape Verdean Creole

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Interview with a Zinester: Julia Lipscomb!

We’re back with Interview with a Zinester! This time, we’ve got Julia Lipscomb, a bi-coastal zinester that has volunteered at several zine libraries, including the Zine Archive and Publishing Project (ZAPP) in Seattle and currently ABC No Rio. We’re excited to have her table at the zine fest this year! Let’s hear what she has to say:

(psst, if you haven’t checked out our last interview with new zinester Devon Spencer, you can see it right here!)

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1. Give us a short description of yourself and the work you do (including any zine samples if you have them!).

I write personal zines! I’ve been writing zines since 2004, and honestly my zines have gone through as many phases as I have. In high school, I wrote about music. In college, I was writing poetry and chapbooks and sometimes zines about archiving from my internships. After college, zines proved to be my only recession-proof skill. How NOT to Write a Resume is a comic published after sending my resume to over 200 positions and getting rejected by 30 interviews. I think it’s important for zines to come full circle. When you evoke difficult feelings in zines, it is the responsibility of the zinester to start in a happy place and end in a happy place. Whether that’s framed by poetry, comedy or another rhetorical device is up to the zinester. No matter what I write about, it’s always personal.

Currently I’m pursuing a Masters in Arts & Cultural Management at Pratt Institute. Basically I love working in nonprofit arts organizations so much that I decided to study them! My classmates and professors are very inspiring.

2. How did you get introduced to zines? Were you influenced by anyone? And what was your seminal zine moment?

Like most zinesters, I started publishing zines before I even knew what a zine was! My seminal zine moment was visiting the Zine Archive & Publishing Project (ZAPP) in Seattle the summer after graduating high school. In Spokane, Washington, where I grew up, I could count the number of zine publishers on one hand. At ZAPP, there were thousands – and by thousands, I mean twenty thousand – zines in every genre imaginable (or unimaginable). It was unreal and definitely humbling. I knew I had to step up my game.

Growing up in Spokane, I was influenced by local writers and cultural leaders, by people who included zines in a larger community of artists, musicians, writers, publicists, record labels, and other innovators doing their thing independent of profit. Local journalist, Isamu Jordan, was publishing a weekly music column in the alternative publication, 7, and interviewing every musician in the community – I was very inspired by that and started interviewing musicians myself. Sadly, Isamu passed away suddenly last September and I can’t think of my earlier beginnings without remembering him.

3. What does it mean to do “feminist zine-making”? Does feminism appear in your work (explicitly or implicitly)?

Anyone regardless of gender who uses zines to protect and defend their political, economic and social rights is doing feminist zine-making, in the broadest definition of the term. I also believe that keeping a space open for zinesters – whether for a one-time event, open hours library or in collaboration with another arts venue – is inherently political. That’s what makes public spaces for feminist zine-making so difficult – and necessary.

Most of my zines are more implicitly feminist, though I can’t deny once publishing a zine titled sex + intellect aimed at sexism in academic circles. My latest zine, One Ear Bud Free, is a work zine inspired by other work zines like Dishwasher and Temp Slave. One Ear Bud Free is an exposé of all of the temp jobs and unpaid internships I worked and the music that got me through them. You may recognize a few jobs where being a woman or having a speech disability simply got in the way of my performance or chance at long-term employment.

I’m super inspired and excited for NYC Feminist Zine Fest, and I want to write more feminist zines! Lately this past season I’ve received a lot of criticisms for being a woman who watches football by both men and women alike, so I think a zine about football is in order. Go hawks!

4. What is your favorite zine or piece of mail art? Do you like any specific style/part of a zine?

A friend from ZAPP in Seattle makes these beautiful silkscreen zines and runs Blue Dot Prints. I also love Gina Siciliano’s zines that I picked up in Portland. She draws these beautiful, incredibly-detailed comics and her narratives are very moving and relatable. I’m attracted to more “art” zines, though I do have a soft spot in my heart for grainy offset zines found in old school punk zine archives.

Blue Dot Press’ work: http://www.bluedotprints.com/

Gina’s work: http://ginasiciliano.com/home.html

5. If you could sum up your zinester life in a kitchen appliance, what appliance would it be?

This is my favorite question of all because I had to think the hardest on it. I keep thinking of the broiler underneath conventional ovens. The broiler is the best way to make the yummiest open face grilled cheese sandwiches. You can make something gourmet with your best cheese, or you can use the broiler to simply make something good to eat at 500 degrees in less than 5 minutes.

Shameless zinester plug: Come read and make zines with me at ABC No Rio. The ABC No Rio zine library is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6-9pm. I’m in on Thursday’s!

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Interview with a Zinester: Devon Spencer!

For the upcoming fest, we are reviving our “zinester profiles” in a slightly different way: zinester interviews! This first interview is with a self-identified first time zinester, Devon Spencer. She is a current Gender Studies and Anthropology student at Purchase college using zines as part of her senior (zine-ior?) thesis project! Here’s what she has to say:

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Jordan Alam (JA): Give us a short description of yourself and the work you do (including any zine samples if you have them!).

Devon Spencer (DS): I’m native to Washington, D.C. but love New York! The idea of leaving post-graduation makes me sad because I’d like to experience the city without the madness of being a student and campus employee. I also want to be a part of the camaraderie at nonprofits and zinesters collectives more fully by being the city.

I’m a senior Anthropology and Gender Studies student at Purchase College with particular attention to Art History and Media Studies. I’m currently working on my senior thesis, which has been interdisciplinary means of integrating these four fields. I am researching, through social science text and my own ethnographic research, the various contexts that exist within intellectual, liberal, and radical spaces. I am particularly interested in how spaces are adopted as “queer” even though they may not be explicitly labeled as such. Within this framework, I am researching these spaces to see how materials, community, and the physical space become valuable and comfortable to certain identities. Because radical spaces favor the DIY aesthetic of zines, I have embarked on making one for the creative and collaborative component of my project. It’s in the works and I’m very excited about it!

JA: How did you get introduced to zines? Were you influenced by anyone? And what was your seminal zine moment?

DS: Although I can’t pinpoint one precise moment in which I was introduced to zines, I recall reading them at Bluestockings in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I was also encouraged to read them by one of my best friends, Rani, an avid zinesters, feminist, dog lover, and generally wonderful person. I would have to say that my “seminal” moment was when I was discussing zines with you (Jordan)! I’ve always thought that it would be cool to make a zine, but never seriously pursued it. When I realized that zines could be a canvas that blends my anthropological studies and crafty ambitions, I was so thrilled. The idea of sharing this intellectual and artistic mixture with friends, family, and academia at my school is also very exciting. The only restraints are the paper or digital dimensions–I love that zines are quite aesthetically limitless.

JA: What does it mean to do “feminist zine-making”? Does feminism appear in your work (explicitly or implicitly)?

DS: I think that feminist zine making is about creative collaboration and progressive conversation. These two things (collaboration and conversation) exist in a new way because feminist-identified people are not only talking about desired improvement within the movement, but are they are writing about it, drawing, and photographing their visions of it for others to see. By compiling these ideas, people are comparing and contrasting their perspectives. I think this is a healthy and productive way of maintaining relationships and promoting discussions of intersectionality and diversity in this artistic and radical medium.

I haven’t figured out how to incorporate feminism into my zine project yet, but it is definitely a prominent part of my thesis writing. I would like to write a personalized zine manifesto, which could serve as a way of connecting these dots because this zine will be a compilation of artistic submissions (including my own). If anything, I think that feminism will inherently, therefore implicitly, be a part of the zine because of my values.

JA: What is your favorite zine or piece of mail art? Do you like any specific style/part of a zine?

DS: So far, my favorite zine is Hoax! It’s unusual for me to say this because Hoax is text heavy, but I’ve gained so much from the poetry, short stories, and essays that they’ve included. I’ve loved reading it, but it has also been very been helpful with my research on queer and feminist zine making. I also really love themed photo/drawing zines with recipes, natural remedies, and tea treatments. It’s hard to choose one medium though… I’ve also seen fantastic screen printed and comic strip zines as well.

JA: If you could sum up your zinester life in a kitchen appliance, what appliance would it be?

DS: I classify my zinester experience as the nice food processor that you’ve been waiting to use. I say this because I have been doing creative projects, such as collaging, poetry, socially-conscious writing, drawing up tea remedy lists, etc. for as long as I can remember but have now found a fun means of stockpiling them. If I continue to make zines past my senior project zine, I have a feeling they will always be a chopped up mixture of one particular theme.

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How to Make a Micro-Mini Zine (Video!)

A while back, I was sitting in the Barnard Zine Library folding and unfolding a really tiny zine… I couldn’t figure out how it was put together! Despite some intense Googling, no one had made a tutorial on how to make such a tiny 16-page zine. So – after what felt like hours of staring at 1 sheet of paper – I decided to make my own. Check out this blast-from-the-past video tutorial on how to make a micro-mini zine.

Hope to see some of you employing this technique at FZF this year!

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