Stumbled across the Imprint 93 exhibit at the Whitechapel Gallery over the weekend, what a discovery; I found the tone and pace of this 90s mail art project curated by Matthew Higgs so energetic. And more than a few times (notably reading the lonely hearts ads) it made me laugh out loud. Inside this relatively small room was an intricate mass of artwork, in the main delivered by post, for free, and unsolicited.

‘His curatorial platform was the A5 envelope; 
his production studio, the photocopier.’

It felt like a funny coincidence; just a few weeks ago I retrieved a stack of fanzines from my parents attic. That’s what the exhibition reminded me of. As a teenager I would regularly send off for zines I’d seen advertised in the back of Melody Maker (R.I.P.), Select (R.I.P.) and NME (basically dead, therefore R.I.P.).

A quid or two sent in the post along with a S.A.E, and a couple of weeks later I’d be reading someone’s lovingly assembled photocopied and stapled musical musings. It’s hard to imagine that something so laboured could at one time have seemed so immediate, so accessible.  

The zine thing seems to be burgeoning on a moment, and yet, the essential D.I.Y. factor seems to get overlooked with the term erroneously applied to highly polished publications that are unlikely to be blighted by uneven toner, wonky pritt-sticking or an errant stapler. 
And will cost you more than a quid or two + a S.A.E.

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