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John Dolva

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Zines and creative expression

Sunday, May 30, 2010

May is zine season, with zine events happening around the country. Zines are a popular form of creative expression for young people as an alternative to the tacky and commercial mass media.

Young people are often locked out of other outlets of creative expression in society. The education system is geared to stunt creativity and promote conformism. Zines are a great way to be social about information and knowledge, and provide opportunities to network in ways otherwise impossible.

Zine fairs present alternative publishing movements to new audiences, and promote people-controlled press.

Resistance’s Chris Peterson spoke to Luke Sinclair from Sticky Institute, at a Melbourne zine workshop.

What is the Sticky Institute?

Sticky is a volunteer-run shop dedicated to zines. Since its opening in 2001, it has stocked over 6000 zines.

The space is dedicated to zine-makers. Eighty percent of the cover price [of each zine] goes back to the creator. In addition to the zines, there are badge machines, typewriters, a photocopier and staplers to help aspiring zine-makers.

We also organise a yearly Festival of the Photocopier to showcase zines.

Similar spaces exist in other cities, such as Bird in the Hand in Newcastle, Format in Adelaide and Take Care in Sydney.

What sort of zines are in stock?

Zines are as individual as the people that design them. There are five main types: personal, comics, music, creative/poetry and art zines. We also have a good selection of political zines.

We stock zines from around the world, although we are now aiming to stock more local content because of the increase in that now produced. There is a much healthier zine scene now than when we started.

What is the role of zines as an alternate media source?

My thoughts on this have definitely changed since the ’90s, when I started. Despite claims that the internet would kill off hard copies, zines have thrived. We are busier in 2010 than we have ever been, largely because of online networking.

Because of the smaller print-run of zines, they give you hand-made strengths that aren’t available in other places. You have to respect the medium that you’re in.

What sort of political zines are available?

Microcosm Publishing in the US puts out a lot of good political zines, some of which we stock. We also stock good zines such as Short and Queer and some good zines on squatting.

What’s your advice for aspiring zine-makers?

Get in there and make one! Make mistakes and learn. Do a small print-run at first, then more if need be. Sticky is a good place to make mistakes.

[sticky Institute is located underneath Flinders St Station in Melbourne. Visit www.stickyinstitute.com. Upcoming zine events include the Canberra zine fair, 11am on July 3 at the Contemporary Art Space, and a Sydney zine fair hosted by the Live Red Art Awards in September. Visit liveredartawards.net.]

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From GLW issue 839 : http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/44288

Edited by John Dolva
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