Print & Resist
Print & Resist 2014 will be held at the Central Library on Saturday, Nov. 1.
In a world where digital communication is king and corporate spin influences lots of mainstream news coverage, indie zines are appealing for their candidness and the nostalgia they conjure.
The second annual Print & Resist, a daylong festival celebrating zines, grassroots journals and artisanal books, takes place at the Central Library on Saturday, Nov. 1. The event includes workshops and presentations on such topics as bookmaking and mail art. It's also a chance to meet more than 40 zinesters and artist-activists. Many of the presenters, including photographer Lewis Koch and the founders of Fresh Hot Press, Duffco and Bitter Like the Bean, are based in Madison.
Madison's Sarah Tops Rogers, co-organizer of the 2013 and 2014 events, has self-published a new zine, BIKES.PERIOD. just in time for the event. She says the appeal of zines is more poignant than ever this year.
"I think there's something to be said for both creating and consuming art in the physical sense," she says. "An interaction happens between the reader and these little pieces of paper she holds in her hands. It has something to do with the smell of the pages, the inconsistencies in photocopies, the feel of the paper, a weight in the hand and the physical passing along of a zine to a friend or stranger."
Rogers also appreciates how zines give voice to groups mainstream media outlets tend to ignore.
"Producing art and media independently is most rewarding because you are your own boss," she notes. "Everyone can make a zine to share their stories, and... you can find a zine on almost any topic."
This includes topics many people find uncomfortable to discuss: racism, the prison-industrial complex, ability versus disability. Some zines even address access to technology, a problem that's easy to overlook while consuming media online.
"Zines are easy to access no matter one's electronic privilege; they're easy to replicate and easy to carry and pass along," Rogers says. "When going to protests or activist convergences, how-to and subcultural zines are plentiful."
Madison's small size and propensity for political activism make zine-sharing relatively easy.
"I think Madison's smaller size really lends itself to a lot of cross-pollination among the arts and DIY crowd," Rogers says.
Of course, zine makers benefit from digital tools like blogs and Facebook, especially when it comes to spreading the word about their creations.
Says Rogers: "It's fantastic when you reach the perfect consumers of your art: people that appreciate the heck out of what you do."