The ICA Bookshop's Peter Willis and Anya Mustoo take us through their top picks of zines currently on our shelves.
When the artist and filmmaker Harun Farocki passed away in 2015 the art world took stock of the vast influence his years of quiet production held. It’s therefore fantastic news that the Harun Farocki Institut has started to collaborate with distribution company Motto Books to publish aspects of his archive along with contextual commentary and original documentation. This slim, bilingual tome is the second of the series and begins with a call to arms subtly hidden within a simple straightforward manifesto. Written in 1975, the title's deliberate nod to Lenin at the time of Germany's division (Farocki was writing from West Germany) is a call for the creation of an institution ‘for initiating and coordinating some documentary work’. Seemingly very banal and orthodox, the slow progression of Farocki’s vision, accompanied by a survey sent round to likeminded people asking for their perspective on this possible ‘institute’, posits a radical, physical space for the decentring of the production process and what we consider archival and documentary.
F.R. David #13
Let me start by just listing some of the people involved in the latest issue of Will Holder’s literary paperback journal and you can see if you even need to read any further before clicking ‘Add to Basket’: Michael Asher, Joan Didion, Harun Farocki, St. Paul, Cara Tolmie, Sven Lütticken, Sarah Tripp, Pauline Oliveros, Lucy Lippard, Amiri Baraka, Silvia Federici. Woof! Those familiar with the journal will recognise its continuing concerns with the crossover between reading, writing and artistic production and if you aren’t then this celeb-packed issue is a good place to begin.
COMRADES! If you like your urgent calls for the death of all fascists to be set in a nice swiss sans-serif then you need this journal in your life. The subtitle for this first issue is MILITANT PRINT which should give you a sense of where Other Forms, the designers and publishers, are coming from. Whether it's Josh MacPhee on the US communist paperback publishers of the 60's, Mary Ikoniadou on Pyrsos magazine, Detroit proletarian print co-ops, the illegal print presses throughout Tbilisi's history, Alan Smart on Squatters Handbooks, paperfolding and bookbinding with Infolio magazine or the reassembled letters shredded by Bruce Laingen when he was held hostage at Iran's US embassy in 1979, every single page in this journal looks amazing. The time is ripe for a concerted communist aesthetics to rear its beautiful and devastating head so read this and get inspired and let's go.
Google ‘eyesore’ and this is the result: “a thing that is very ugly, especially a building”. An apt title then for this slim oversized journal about urbanism, streets and buildings with its feet firmly stood at the bottom of the ugly looming tower, but still with a fondness in its heart and a youthful glint of ‘possibility’ in its eye. The personal and political firmly interconnected, the six editors offer their analysis of spaces with a direct connection to the current social outlook. A report on Belgrade’s current antagonism against government urban development plans is a result of one editor's forced relocation back to the city as a result of the UK's sudden decision not to renew her visa. A weekend is spent with the Polish and Lithuanian locals living in Britain's most Eurosceptic town. Waterloo Bridge is analysed from a vantage point below its bird-shit encrusted arches. Luke Isnardi takes a 70p tour around Seoul’s derelict World Cup Stadium. Jill Davison locates the one type of life still flourishing in the Heygate Estate (the weeds), and Chris Dorley-Brown visually compares corners of London a few years apart in a clear illustration of whose interests are at the heart of contemporary ‘regeneration’.
Don’t let the subtitle Journal for Political and Formal Inquiries into Art fool you, Rab-rab IS named after the noise a duck makes when it says ‘I will’. This hefty Finnish journal may seem daunting, with articles entitled Critical Math and On Documentary Abstraction, but despite its intellectual stature it is readable to the point that the 384 pages will sail by in a flurry of aesthetics and communism. Artwork, theory, poetry, scripts and essays all sit alongside each other just as an 80's resurrection of Kazimir Malevich sits side by side with big name Alain Badiou, and Gil Scott-Heron's Whitey on the Moon is analysed and contextualised with the same rigour as the life work of Gustav Jaeger. You've missed out on the first two issues of this oddball and eccentric collection, but make sure the third has a slot on your bookcase.
Consented has been running since 2015 as a multi-media platform for those who aren’t accurately represented by the mainstream media. This is their first print magazine, focusing on mental health as a topic and the way it affects our everyday lives. Featuring personal narratives, essays, comics, poetry and artworks that open up important topics such as austerity and mental health, humanising depression, refugee trauma and self-care, Consented comes at an important point when you think society can’t get any worse, and provides an area for expression and discussion which is much needed. ■