Saturday, 19 September 2009


As part of my dissertation research i contacted Alex Wrekk (the author of "Stolen Sharpie Revolution" zine - which i bought from her) and i asked her some questions relating to zines and zine culture. Below you can read her answers and find more questions that other people have asked her, here on her blog.

Here you go. I hope this answers the questions in a way you were looking for. Sorry if I played around with your words. I'm no really one to accept a single definition of anything. All our lives are subjective no matter how much we try to be objective so I'm perfectly understanding of people having different ideas on the same topic and accept them both as true. Let me know how your dissertation goes!-alex

1. What makes a 'zine ' a zine for you?

In my brain I sometimes think of any printed folded and stapled pamphlet as a zine. Although I think what really makes a zine is the intent for it to be a zine the election to being involved on whatever level with other people who also enjoy independent publishing their thoughts, ideas, or artwork. I have known people who have created a zine and not known it was a zine but when they found out that there was a name for it they were excited. There are people that dismiss the term zine and prefer to call their creation a "chapbook" or "mini comic" I place no value on their decision and honor their exclusion.

2. What do you think about zines being used as a political expression?

Zines are a versatile medium and blank canvas. they can be whatever the author wants them to be and that's one of the beauties of zines. I also don't think that politics are always so overt. We all have politics and I think they seep into everything we create in subtle ways.

3. What do you think of mass production in today's culture?

hold on this might be a long trip: I'm vegan and I sort of compare the reason why I'm vegan to what I see is wrong with mass production. I can from a family of hunters and even have family that own family cattle ranches. From a very young age I was expected to deal with dead animals to understand the process of how something is alive and how it becomes our food. I became a vegetarian at 14 partly based on animal cruelty but more so being disgusted with how society is able to buy a Big Mac in a box and have no thought about where any of the ingredients let alone the cow, came from. I didn't want to support an industry or a world that is so disconnected from the very thing that keeps us alive. Mass production keeps us distracted and keeps us from asking where something comes from just because it gives us convenience. With that all being said I think there is something of value in a hand crafted over a mass produced item.

4. Do handmade items have more value for you and mean better quality, while having more thought and effort behind the product than mass produced goods?

Handmade means simply that made by hand. This does not always mean better quality. And, to me, "value' and "quality" are not always the same thing. I prefer the term hand crafted. To me it means there was a level of skill involved in creating it. If this is what you meant then yes. My friend Jess says that I wrap too much of myself up in my work. But she works for a big company doesn't understand that my integrity is all I have in the business of creating things. There is no one to blame if my quality isn't up to par. I expect that level of responsibility of someone who calls their work "hand crafted"

5. What value do you think the public opinion is on zines?

I'm not really sure they public has an opinion on the value of zines. Those that aren't involved but heard of them once probably think that the internet killed them so whatever. I also think that the public might have some sort of value applied to zines if say, a person who created a zine became famous for something else thus placing a collector value on what they created before they were famous. To be less cynical though there are a lot of librarians and educators who see the value of zines in preserving 1st person accounts of history and not allowing all of history to be written by a shrinking group of people and corporations.

6. What does value (in relation to small publications) mean to you?
Maybe this question should have come fist! I'm actually not sure. The zines that have the most value to me personally are the ones made by my friends. This value isn't really transferable to a broader spectrum though. maybe if we get back to the idea of craft where the person creating the item has honed their skill and put the best that they had right then into the publication. I'd like to think there is value in someone being proud of the thing they created.

7. What do you think makes a hand made object have value?

The craft involved in making them.

8. Do you think the short runs and limited editions of small publications makes them valuable?

It may make them collectible to those that value collecting, but I don't think that necessarily gives them inherent value.

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