ReVision: Zines and Collages
The purpose of this exhibit is to consider the use of collage in zines. Barnard College Library’s collection has been built to give voice to the subjects they discuss and their authors; in this case however, we reconsider them as visual objects. This catalog showcases several types of collage zinesters explore, using examples from Barnard's collection.
ReVisi n Zines and Collage Deconstructing my Hollywood dreams, Star Blue Zines B58c no.18 Presented by 2013 ReVisi n Zines and Collage The purpose of curating this exhibit is to consider the use of collage in zines. Barnardâ€™s collection has been built to give voice to the subjects they discuss and their authors; in this case however, we reconsider them as visual objects. A significant number of zines are created with some kind of collage, be it traditional or otherwise. Here we are looking at the later. Collage is defined in many ways, but if we simply take the meaning from the French coller, it means to stick or to glue onto a surface. Examples exist which th date as early as the 16 century. Long before its 1912 introduction into the â€˜fine artâ€™ arena, collage was employed to combine disparate elements, most typically paper. Arguably, it was done with regularity and acuity for centuries. Consider the practice of scrapbooking, of paper cutting, and memento mori -all of which are still being created to this day -but these were considered craft not art. Once in the vocabulary of fine art world, collage was very quickly adopted as a practice by many. Much of the work being done at this time was in reaction to the socio-political upheavals in Europe and flew in the face of the canonical art practices. The characteristics inherent to collage offered an art form available to all, essentially democratizing this formerly elitist world. Use of collage as a technique with this attitude was employed in film, photography, product advertisements and propaganda. The mixing of art and craft via collage helped to blur the line between the two Western ideas to such a degree that it has become part of the lexicon of modern and contemporary visual culture. Chinese kitchen, Elsie Sampson Zines S248c Collage as fine art, and its much longer history and practice in DIY applications bring us to a meeting ground in the self-directed and motivated world of zines. As a platform for many a voice, zines are a unique way to examine this versatile medium, technique and attitude. Because zines are created outside the confines of editors - be they the author themself, their communities or even the traditional publishing kind, the creators can and do address each blank page as a gesamtkunstwerk. In zines, we are treated to as much care in combining text and image as any painter or comic artist would in their work, with the continued aesthetic of the handmade which might be read as outsider or self-taught art. Word, Alison Laura Picard Zines P53w no.4 This exhibit will introduce text that has been collaged onto a decorative background, collage as means to subvert original meaning, femmage, and zines where the words themselves have been collaged. Zines are also an excellent venue for more traditional collage artwork, and this exhibit highlights several examples from the library’s collection. After you read the zine in your hands with your mind’s eye, read them again visually to see the interpretation of layers, of tactility, and of attitude. Please note that any single image or spread shown is taken out of context, I highly suggest you check out the zine and let the entire work speak for itself. Enjoy – Katie Blake, 2013 Art collage Zinesters working in collage but not necessarily with the task of managing its relationship to text, often express a more 'fine art' aesthetic is expressed. These works beckon; they push the boundaries of materiality, especially in a copy of a reproduction. Torn edges and physical layering for example, remind us what we hold in our hands was once made by another's. I married a transsexual, Karen Doucet Zines D68i This is the front cover of a ribbonbound zine. The collage is made of photographs, watercolor, and found papers. Though the addition of ribbon does not automatically make this a femmage, it certainly adds an element of gender consideration to the zineâ€™s overall look as well as subject. This heavily collaged zine tells the story of a 39-year-old woman and her transsexual girlfriend, whom she met when he was a man, and their life together. The zine deconstructs the issues of being in a relationship with a transsexual person including sexual, social, and emotional. Art collage Loverution, Jenna Renegade Zines R464r An example of art collage, this back cover is interesting because it is playful with both image and text. There is not a specific term for when an artist chooses to expose a torn edge as opposed to a cut edge. The juxtaposition between the two here conveys a sense movement and emphasis. Textually, the quote is meant to be read easily in comparison to the â€œLoveâ€? cloud made of a visual jumble. Whether this is meant to be read as if a poem is uncertain, but because at its center is a perfectly horizontal word, the implication is that we try and read the others in a sort of pinwheel fashion. This cut and paste zine includes DIY instructions, stories of being a queer woman, poems, and motivational instructions for life. Jenna Renegade writes about distrusting the education system, appreciating life in the small moments, and learning from everyday experience. See Also: I am not the rain, Amber Green Zines G74463 Licking stars off ceilings, Clementine Cannibal Zines C2661no.19 I married a transsexual, Karen Doucet Zines D68i Greenwoman, Sandra Knauf Zines K638 Partners in crime, Jordan Zines J67p Loverution, Jenna Renegade Zines R464r Text 窶田ollaged Probably the easiest way to describe what is meant when referring to "text collaged" is where the author-creator has taken a standardized word and changed it slightly; this could be by physical cutting and pasting, but more often in zines is seen by changing just a letter or two towards a particular purpose. ex: Cuntrol vs. Control. The original word is still Izz Zines I9w recognized, but the minor edit has subverted that meaning. Sometimes this is to wrest control from indoctrinated terms such as changing Women to Womyn. The change could be from wanting the word to effect sound or imply a desired pronunciation emphasis -even attitude such as Grrrl vs. Girl (also: gal, gol, goil, geol, gyurl, gurral, girrel, gurl). Other examples include: Idiosyncrasy (by Cherry Thomas); (m)other (by Lamesha Melton); yella (from BananaQ); wmngrl (Guerita #1); and U$A (Fucktooth #9). There are several Barnard Alumnae who use text -collaged to emphasize meaning or attitude (Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Loolwa Khazzoom, and Ntozake Shange). Like poet e.e. Cummings this is done via capitalization, italics and space design of the text. The wicked which, Girl noire, Kimberly Schwenk (Riot) Zines S348g Text –collaged Clitical mass, Adalusia Zines C72 Shown here is the front cover of this zine; two colors on pink paper. The image is created xerographically and the title text in blue is letterpress printed. Andalusia has taken the word Critical and collaged it with the word Clit to play on the expression and, a particular ongoing bicycling event called Critical Mass. In her own words, “-i got the idea for Clitical Mass about two years ago when i made a flier for critical mass and the r fell off leaving citical mass. this made me think of clitical which i told my friend about. he immediately replied “that’s fucked up how would you feel if I organized Penis Mass” I said it’s penis mass every day of the fucking week so you wouldn’t even have to organize it.” The author has given us a decisive textual collage as a starting point when considering other examples in the zine collection. This zine includes women's experiences with sexism and biking. There are articles about riding in Critical Mass, the trials and tribulations of a New York City bike messenger and those of a bike mechanic, and Bike Circus. See Also: The rapes in the third person to be read deadpan, Astrogirl Zines A77t Race riot, Mimi Thi Nguyen Zines N584r One girl revolution, Jolie Nuñez Noggle Zines N86o Jnk/fd, Judy Moses Zines J84f One girl revolution, Jolie Nuñez Noggle Zines N86o Femmage This term, femmage was coined by artist and feminist Miriam Shapiro in the late 1970s. Shapiro discusses the genderization of art in her essay, Waste Not Want Not: An Inquiry into What Women Saved and Assembled - FEMMAGE (written with Melissa Meyer, 1977-78). Shapiro and Meyer define other forms of collage such as photomontage and assemblage, but the important addition is their delineation of femmage. They go on to explain the epitome of a femmage and set parameters under which other works might be categorized by this designation using fourteen factors. Shapiro and Meyer make certain that they have cast the definition widely by noting that, "Not all of them [the 14 factors] appear in a single object. However, the presence of at least half of them should-," to be considered femmage. From this, one could make an argument that all the work done in the Barnard zine collection is femmage. For this exhibit, the pieces highlighted were chosen because they reference the materials and work historically assigned to womenâ€™s roles in domestic spheres such as embroidery, quilting, appliquĂŠ and cooking. How fucking romantic, Shira Mario Zines M3756h no.2 Femmage Elsie, dear, you musn't miss me too much, grandmother say to Elsie, Elsie Sampson Zines S248e This front cover is one of many femmages by this author. In addition to the usual collage elements seen, Sampsonâ€™s work also references the subjects of her zines such as cooking and sewing; the same materials and work Shapiro and Meyer noted are historically assigned to womenâ€™s roles and very much signifiers of femmage. An elegant design, the sewn background creates a physical and visual chain between the Elsie and her grandmother as well as foreshadows the subject of the elder woman's work. This mini-zine is a small, colorful tribute to Elsie's Chinese grandmother, a sweatshop worker who raised the author until she was five. Femmage Photocopying makes my legs wobbly, Kathleen Henwood Zines H45p no.5 See Also: Chinese kitchen, Elsie Sampson Zines S248c Wild at heart, Shelby Schoensee Zines S36w Indulgence, Eleanor Whitney Zines W44i no.6 Bats in the bridge: and other batty tidbits, Niku Arbabi Zines A733b Text pasted onto decorative background The distinction between craft and fine art in terms of a zine or artists book is nearly meaningless. Zines though, are much more likely to be xerographically reproductions from a single original. Alison Piepmeier discusses the materiality and handmade aesthetic that permeates them in her article, Why zines matter: materiality and the creation of embodied community. She points out that a subject is all the more personalized by a hand held object, especially when it is very obviously a visual reflection of the author. Most zinesters want to relay this do-it-yourself look, but must also contend with the characteristics inherent to reproduction. Mala, Bianca Ortiz Zines O78m no.1 They must choose to embrace or simply ignore that the 'photo' copy captures everything from crinkled paper, scratches in the glass, to shadows. This appearance can be visually arresting in the reading -adding nuance, emphasis to subject in a way that typical text on page cannot. One of the more often seen types of collage is where the author-creator has written something, printed it, cut it apart and glued it onto another image or page. By adding what seems to be unnecessary steps to the completion of a written work suggests that there is a pointed desire for a visual means to make the word(s) tactile. Every page registers as different from the hyper-tidiness typical of industry-printed text where the black font sits statically on a plain, white background. This practice may also come out of a craving for visual pauses between pages, between thoughts, etc. Such elements and the retained character of the handmade differentiates these works from, "magazines and other mainstream publications-," which is an important part of the zine community. The practice of collage for these reasons both decorates and distinguishes the zine overall from commercial counterparts. See Also: Adorn, Suzanne Bree Zines B74a What I saw from where I stood, Eva Louise Zines L6857w Partners in crime, Jordan Zines J67p Manquer: an accordion book, Katy Weselcouch Zines W474m Brainscan, Alex Wrekk Zines W746 no.13 Distortia, Niatni Zines N536d Text pasted onto decorative background Skinned heart, Nyky Gomez Zines N665 no.1 Here is an interior page from Gomezâ€™s zine, where she has pasted her text onto a background one could call decorative or illustrative. Here the visual combination of horizontal text with a linear, vertical background (a strung loom) is as powerful a representation of her jarring frustrations with race and privilege as the text itself. By layering the image with the text instead of separating them, the words become part of the entire visual story; the restlessness of being able to â€˜read between the linesâ€™ forces us to see the words as if woven into the loom. In this hand- and typewritten and magazine collage illustrated perzine, 29year-old Nyky writes about being sexually assaulted as a child and her frustration with issues of race and privilege. Nyky also writes about bipolar disorder and natural treatments, being questioned on the "authenticity" of her Mexican identity, and the troubling racial attitudes she encounters among those who are supposed to be her allies. Text pasted onto decorative background Angry black-white girl, Nia King Zines K565on In this example, King has not only printed out, cut and pasted text; she has used it to frame and split a central image. Over the top of this are also hand written reactions to what maybe personal experiences for the author or a reaction to the excerpted words (-cited here as being from â€œEffegiesâ€? by Lucinda Roy). The selection is compelling in and of itself, but by combining the words with the image, through it and around it she drives the reader to follow all three elements of thought. Reading this takes time, and through King's directional text we are being asked to follow the words; such contemplation elicits a kind of empathy more traditional displays of this excerpt and image could not. Nia King, an art school dropout of African-American, Hungarian Jewish, and Lebanese ancestry writes about living, working, and activism as a mixed race queer in a wealthy Boston suburb. She debunks stereotypes with short essays about her family and her personal history. Collage to subvert It is possible the impulse to make subversive collages comes from the fact that many of them are created from found images. Artists like Jaune Quick-To-See Smith and Gee Vaucher make profound statements in their work regarding subjects like race and gender images used for the sale of products. Such work is most often seen with advertisements, an example is W.M. Disaster's zine, Touched by an anvil (Zines B835t), where a seemingly happy little girl is collaged into a collection of fragmented statements about "what little girls are REALLY made of." In addition to product images, zinesters respond to ideas and articles they wish to discuss and react to with their community. Annie Koh's For motion discomfort collages together a memory of hers about learning English and being taught how and why to use products to apparently 'fit' into her new culture. For motion discomfort, Annie Koh Zines K64f Chica loca, Lala Endara Zines H45p no.2 This interior is an excellent example of collage to subvert. Lala uses an advertisement by Calvin Klein, having turned it into a personals ad, the reaction seems to be specifically about the women featured surrounding the bottle. The collage subverts the logo to read Chico|one|en over the CK. It is unclear whether this is a play on the words chica and chicano. In this issue, Lala focuses political topics including miscegenation and immigration rights for gay and lesbian couples. The author, a native of Ecuador, provides some Spanish language content and lesbian sex illustrations. Collage to subvert Chica loca Lala Endara Zines H45p no.5 Another subversive collage by Endara, here it is used to react to a particular disparaging article and ideology. By doing this, she not only brings attention to a degrading article published in FHM but takes back some measure of control by subverting the offending words into her reply. See Also: Muchacha, Daisy Salinas Zines S2556m no.4 Woman and violence, Zines W65 no.2 Cherry Bomb, Julie Klukas Zines K4853c no.1 Twizzler: candy for grrrls, Tamara Zines T36 no.1 Touched by an anvil, W.M. Disaster Bucket Zines B835t Barnard Library References: • • • Piepmeier, Alison. Why zines matter: materiality and the creation of embodied community. American Periodicals, vol.18, no.2(2008). Jones, Melissa L. Barnard zine library zine. Zines Z49b Harris, Anita. gURL Scenes and Grrrl Zines: The Regulation and Resistance of Girls in Late Modernity. Feminist Review, no.75 Identities(2003):pp 38-56. Lauter, Estella. 1984. Women as mythmakers: poetry and visual art by twentieth-century women. Indiana University Press. Graver, David. 1995. The aesthetics of disturbance: anti-art in avantgarde drama. The University of Michigan Press. Taylor, Brandon. Collage: the making of modern art. Waldman, Diane. Collage, assemblage, and the found object. Wolfram, Eddie. History of collage: an anthology of collage, assemblage and event structures. Gelfant, Blanche H. Women writing in America: voices in collage. Harding, James Martin. Cutting performances: collage events, feminist artists and the American avant-garde. Barnard College Library library.barnard.edu Barnard Zine Library zines.barnard.edu • • • • • • • ReVision installation photo, Barnard College Library Thanks to Jenna Freedman for giving me the opportunity to work with Barnard in the Zine collection. Thanks also to Juliana Strawn (BC ’14), who so kindly took time to help me find many examples I would not have otherwise.