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Zine: On Counter Monuments

I have started a subject on how to make artist books. There are inspiring artists book communities were you can see incredible works of art, such as here . I also went to the Victorian State Library and looked at the beautiful archive of historic books and viewed the gorgeous artist book installation by my teacher Louise Jennison and her partner Gracia Haby in the Reading Room Dome.

Zines are a simple, usually quick book form, made through lo-fi means, often so they can run through the photocopier to share ideas and art in a democratic, fast way. I enjoyed visiting the Sticky Institute in Melbourne's beautiful Nicholas Building. I also had fun at the Home Cooked Fest at Northcote Town Hall, where writers and artists shared their work, often in zine form. I am gaining a good collection of zines now!

There were plenty of types of zines to try, and I did mock ups and explored different options before settling on the basic hidden box style.

For my zine I decided to build on my semesters work on counter monuments and incorporate some of my copper plate etches from my Ubique series. The idea of that series was to create a print-imbued Australian war memorial that reflected the true devastating cost of war. Here are some of the behind the scenes look at the processes in making the monoprinted stencils on copper plates.

For the project I needed to make the zine digital so that it could be swapped online. I cut and pasted photos of the prints onto the electronic PDF, flipping the images as necessary to make sure they were aligned correctly when the zine was folded.

I wanted the zine to be educational (like the original zines) as well as sculptural, so I used some of the information I'd learnt about Counter Monuments in James Young's 1992 article ‘The Counter-Monument: Memory Against Itself in Germany Today’. It took some time to figure out the placement and tones of grey for the monochromatic piece I was making.

I also wanted it to incorporate the atmospherics of what academic Duncan Bell calls a 'mythscape', the notion which speaks to the realm where imagined memory, staged affect and the ‘myths of the nation are forged’, ‘mutated’, and ‘(re)written’. It took me some time to figure out the best way to add the text so it could be rotated and and adjusted in size and format. Finally I got there. I also decided that I wanted the zine to have a 'secret' counter monument that appeared when it was opened up. Being hidden and on paper is very much in keeping with the reductive and impermanent nature of counter monuments. I needed to print the zine out double sided for the full effect. Here are some images of the production.

This is how you make the zine:

This is the hidden box with the hidden monument inside it.

I made an instruction sheet to go with the zine so that it could be sent electronically, printed and made by anyone.

Here are images of my zine page by page:

When I installed the zine as part of a bigger installation investigating an Australian counter monument for war, I lined up the zines on a plinth in 'rank and file' and asked viewers of my work to take a zine, much like a service booklet for a funeral.

I can email any new subscriber with a copy of this zine!

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