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WHAT IS A ZINE?

August 27th, 2008

Now that Collection X has its own zine, you might be wondering what is a zine?

A zine is usually a non – commercial, non professional publication, kind of
like a magazine but with a twist. The main difference between a magazine
and a zine is that zines are not out there to make a profit but, rather, to add
other, often unheard voices into the mix. Zines are usually made out of
interest and passion and are often self-published by the writer/artist/creator.
Typically zines are made using collage techniques and are then photocopied
since these are means available to almost everyone.

What I like best about zines is that they provide a voice for all; outside
of the mainstream, of alternative, from
the underground, the margins of society. I first started making zines as a way to share
my personal collections of found paper and my drawings, but quickly saw
potential for much more. The majority of the current publications out there
offer only a narrow perspective, and zines are the natural antidote to that,
especially since anyone can make them. A
Collection X zine makes sense because it connects something which has many
zine-qualities: Collection X (openness, anyone can use it etc) with a tangible
item (the zine itself) and provide a real-world link for Collection X. The AGO
Youth Council also uses zines as a medium of expression to communicate on its
projects. It appeals to youth because it is much more honest in its intentions.

Before zines became what they are today there was an amateur press movement
in which publications were created by people who then distributed them to a larger
group of people through mail. Many of the first zines were science fiction
fanzines created in the 1920s and 1930s through which science fiction fans
would speculate and discuss various topics. Later on, in the 1950s with the
Beatnik era, poets and other artists would make small leaflets with their poems
as means of self promotion. Many avant-garde movements, including the Dadaists
and the Situationists, also self-published pamphlets and manifestos. The 70s
saw punk zines being created as part of the punk movement and in the spirit of
the DIY (do it yourself) culture that came along with it. In the 80s, a zine
called Factsheet 5 began reviewing zines, thus creating a somewhat more formal
zine scene. In the 90s, many zines were made as part of the Riot Grrl movement.

Today, zines are still being made, by all sorts of people on all sorts of
topics, ranging for comics to radical politics to stories for children to
personal zines to literary reviews to teapot collections. Many of these zines
are sold in alternative stores but many are also distributed through
distribution centres that stock a bunch of zines you can order. There are even
a few zine libraries as well; in Toronto this
includes the Toronto Zine Library located in the Tranzac at Bloor and Brunswick, and the OCAD
zine library located in OCAD.

Toronto Zine Library Website: http://sitekreator.com/zinelibrary/index.html

OCAD Zine Library Website: http://zinesforlunch.blogspot.com/