Wednesday, 3 February 2010

january highlights

Best book, and zine I read last month...

Zine: DIY or Don't We?
I still don't quite understand the title, but this collaborative zine (USA, July 2009) on community is a really inspiring one (despite my often negativity towards working collaboratively on projects due to ideas of 'preaching to the converted', and the internal politics of collectives hampering their effectiveness).
The editor desribes it as 'a zine about doing things together as friends, family, collectives and communtities. This zine was inspired by hopes of extending the spirit of do-it-yourslef ethics towards doing things together.'
As with any collective zine there's great aricles, and some less-so, but I found the articles on The Olympia Film Society and Capitol Theatre, and the Ladyfest Bellingham Manifesta particularly useful and heart warming.
The zine is available from two distros I know of, Marching Stars Distro (UK), and Ms Valerie Parks Distro (US).

Book: Josh McPhee, 'Paper Politics: Socially Engaged Printmaking Today' (PM Press, 2009)
Described as 'a major collection of contemporary politically and socially engaged printmaking. This full color book showcases print art that uses themes of social justice and global equity to engage community members in political conversation. Based on an art exhibition which has traveled to a dozen cities in North America, Paper Politics features artwork by over 200 international artists; an eclectic collection of work by both activist and non-activist printmakers who have felt the need to respond to the monumental trends and events of our times.
Paper Politics presents a breathtaking tour of the many modalities of printing by hand: relief, intaglio, lithography, serigraph, collagraph, monotype, and photography. In addition to these techniques, included are more traditional media used to convey political thought, finely crafted stencils and silk-screens intended for wheat pasting in the street. With essays by Deborah Caplow, Eric Triantafillou, and Josh MacPhee, as well as short writings on printmaking by over a dozen artists in the book.'

Reading this book came at just the right time for me and my research and interest into political collective creativity. It has inspired the hell out of me and given me 1001 further examples of art as activism that I can learn from, giving me many ideas and plans to cook up and put in to place myself.
Check it out at PM Press's Website

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