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!
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.