John Stevens




State Library of Victoria, Melbourne



Reifying zines: a roundtable discussion of the relationship between ephemera and institutions


Anna Poletti (Chair)

Sasha Grishin (AUS)

Luke Sinclair (AUS)

John Stevens (AUS)

Teal Triggs (UK)


Archive, (re)contextualisation, visibility, prestige: institutions such as galleries, libraries, universities and publishing houses have a lot to offer underground art forms. Through studying and showcasing their products and practices, institutions can widen the audience for these forms and help sustain them. However, the relationship subcultures and the inherently mainstream and bureaucratized institution can be fraught with dangers. For some, like queer filmmaker and zinester Bruce LaBruce such a relationship is ridiculous:
''queercore' fanzines aren't supposed to be catalogued and historicised and analysed to death, for Christsake. They're supposed to be disposable. That's the whole point. Throw your fanzines away right now. Go ahead. Xeroxed material doesn't last forever anyway, you know. It fades'.

This roundtable will bring together scholars, collectors and practitioners for a discussion of the pleasures and dangers of bringing the ephemeral and subcultural print culture of zines into contact with the institution. We will consider how zines can be a means of challenging the protocols of the institution, how the institution can seek to make zines respectable, and the interesting and potentially productive tensions that arise when two very different ways of thinking, practising and valuing print collide. In doing so we will find ourselves considering the broader issues of self-publishing, visibility and institutions. 


Friday 30 September


11:00am - 12.30pm




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