14 November 2011
by Elias Redstone
Currently on show at the Architectural Association in London, ARCHIZINES celebrates the resurgence of alternative and independent architectural publishing around the world. The exhibition brings together 60 fanzines, magazines and journals from over 20 countries that have been launched or, in a few cases, re-launched in recent years. Edited by architects, artists and students, these publications add an important, and often radical, addition to architectural discourse. They provide new platforms to comment on and critique the spaces we inhabit and an alternative to the established architectural press.
The ARCHIZINES project was launched as an online showcase to catalogue, celebrate and promote this explosion of publishing activity, and demonstrate the residual love of the printed word and paper page in the digital age. The impact of the internet on publishing is a prominent theme here. Some of the publications use the Internet as a tool for sourcing content, marketing and distribution, while for others the desire to create printed matter is a reaction to the ephemeral nature of digital media. As the editors of another pamphlet say: ‘Against the haze of digital distraction, we crave an object to hold our attention – something to touch, to fold, to tuck in our back pocket, to discard.’ In a period of economic uncertainty, independent publishing also offers an affordable outlet for creativity.
The exhibition presents a range of publications that reveal the scope of recent production – from print-on-demand newsletters and handmade zines to peer-reviewed journals in countries from Australia to the UK – to encourage investigation of this cultural output and its significance within the wider genre of architectural publishing. The publications have each selected one issue for display to represent their editorial practice. They are available to read along with video interviews with their creators talking about their work and publishing today. An accompanying catalogue, published by Bedford Press, further explores the continuing relationship between architecture and publishing.
The publications collected through the ARCHIZINES project are being transferred to the National Art Library at the Victoria & Albert Museum where they will be available as a public resource.
ARCHIZINES is open until 14 December 2011 at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, 36 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3ES. The exhibition will tour internationally in 2012.