nedelja, 21. marec 2010

The Explosiveness of Everyday Life – The Zine-Exhibition in Mizzart

Red Chidgey of

There was a small sign “Zine-Expo” really worth following through the halls of Metelkova during the 11th Red Dawns Festival. In Mizzart gallery you found a very inviting room, where compilations of printed papers were hanging on strings at the windows: Zines of various kinds. Their attractive, repulsive, provocative sometimes cryptic names tell a lot about their different contents: clit rocket, the anarchy of queer, girl frenzy

This was the work of Red, some helping festival hands, and borrowed zines from the archive and Metelkova’s own zine bus. A self claimed DIY feminist historian originally from England, now living in Salzburg, Red collaborates on the Web archive with Austrian feminist Elke Zobl. She came to the Red Dawns Festival this year to exhibit a part of her project. This web portal is the intersection of present day projects and a wide variety of past feminist media projects from all over Europe.

Zines were also the key for Red to get involved with feminist ideas. To talk about love, sorrow, politics and power from a very personal and everyday life perspective. “It is this explosiveness of life narratives and autobiographical stories, which can change things,” Red expresses her enthusiasm with wide open eyes. Although writing zines has been many times discredited as soft-activism, while “the real thing” supposedly happens on the street, they always had the power to bring people together, to talk about topics expressed in zines and stand for the power of articulation. Pictures, stories, puzzles, drawings are able to portray the struggles and the heart blood.

“The embodiment and the experiences are what are touching people. Tied to Passion and Anger it has the power to disarrange something.” The personal verve Red brings in cannot be over seen. The current of poetic expression she finds for her subject of interest is without a pause. However, she does know in which boundaries this all exists.

“Queer is really where my heart beats, but I know its limitations. Sometimes other feminists’ call it a Feminist Zoo,” she laughs. Red names all the traits of subtle exclusion, which are also running through the Idea of Queer: Predominantly it is a very white middle-class, academic movement. “Politically queer hasn't been pushing forward! The substance is missing!”

Zines, as part of queer and feminist subcultures, also face these limitations. There are seldom transgressing their own boundaries. If they do, they are often turned into something totally different by outside forces, as the example of the decentralized UK e-zine “The F-word” shows. There the editors are portrayed in the mainstream media as “THE feminists” and are often invited for public discussions and panels to represent the feminist perspective. “It became tokenistic, they were asked to become icons, basically rent-a-feminists.” It seems as if feminist topics are granted space in the mainstream media only if they can be fixed under the niche label of feminism. The media produces a few faces to be recognized so that their supposedly pluralistic and object coverage is realized.

“How do zines influence activism? You can never measure. Maybe you can talk about lines, lines of thoughts, lines of activation...” So the lines are also crossing the red dawns festival this year with reds’ exhibition.

Mirjam Baumert

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Here are some more photos from the Zine Expo, added by Tea Hvala.

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