Wednesday, March 8, 2017

'The Zine Culture', for PrintWeek India magazine


The more gargantuan the mainstream becomes, the more there is the need for alternative or counterculture voices to emerge. And one of the key platforms that have hosted many of these voices is independent zines. The first ever association with the term ‘zine’ began with various fanzines for science fiction in the 1920s.
Eventually, zines helped fuel the punk music subculture including the Riot Grrrl movement (an underground feminist movement associated with the punk rock and alternative music scenes) of the 90s, among others. As zinewiki.com (yes, there is a whole Wikipedia devoted to zines) explains, zines have been around forever; they have only shape-shifted a bit over the years.
Instead of being photocopied versions of cutting and pasting of content and images by hand, a lot of zines are now digitally, and sometimes quite finely, produced. Their essence however remains the same in most cases. They are still sold or distributed in small quantities and in selective places. Most importantly, they still champion the DIY, counterculture and personal opinion spirit.
During the last few years, print zine as a medium has been explored by a few Indian visual artists with some terrific results. We speak to two Indian visual artists who have done interesting work in this space and are championing the zine movement in the country. 

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