ARCHIZINES edited by Elias Redstone
Bedford Press/AA Publications, 2011
Paperback, 152 pages
Compared to market and professional publications, 'zines are more personal in nature, reflecting an individual or small group's passion for a particular topic. Driven by a love for a subject and the desire to explore it in ways not afforded by other publications, 'zines are as diverse as the people making them. In the realm of architecture these "little magazines" -- as they were called in the 2010 exhibition and book Clip, Stamp, Fold -- are going strong today, as is evidenced by the website, exhibition, and publication ARCHIZINES, curated and edited by London-based Jack-of-all-trades Elias Redstone.
The book is the third installment for ARCHIZINES, following on the heels of a recent exhibition at the Architectural Association and the website that has been online since early last year, and which continues to catalog the growing number of 'zines produced internationally since 2000. The website is the most comprehensive of the archives, presenting snapshots of some of the of spreads inside the various 'zines, not just their covers. The latter is how the various publications are illustrated in the slim book; each 'zine occupies one page, described through a short paragraph, the cover of a recent issue and its stats -- page size, number of pages, and print run.
Interspersed throughout the alphabetical catalog of 60 titles are essays by producers of 'zines: Pedro Gadanho (Beyond), Iker Gil (MAS Context), Adam Murray (Preston is my Paris), Rob Wilson (Block), Mimi Zeiger (Maximum Maxim MMX/loudpaper), and Matthew Clarke, Ang Li & Matthew Storrie (PIDGIN). These essays serve to make the book a unique piece of the ARCHIZINES triumvirate, and they are worth it. Each contribution gives a unique perspective on a different aspect of 'zines, while giving background on how they are made, obviously stemming from them all having done so.
As Redstone recounts in his introduction to the book, ARCHIZINES began as a personal interest, as he started collecting fanzines about architecture some five years before the website. I've had a fondness for 'zines, but never enough to amass more than a few, Evil People in Modernist Homes in Popular Films being the most recent. Nevertheless, being passionate for printed matter in various shapes and sizes (magazines, books, newsprints, maps), I am certainly sympathetic towards a desire to collect something like architectural fanzines. (It should be noted that many of the publications that Redstone catalogs are peer-reviewed academic titles and magazines with advertising, extending the reach of ARCHIZINES beyond 'zines in the limited sense of the term.) ARCHIZINES contributor Mimi Zeiger has opined about collecting collections in the digital realm, but bits and bytes are no replacement for actual 'zines. So Redstone's website and book only whets our appetite for getting our hands on the real things.