For one day this month one of your own creations could be sitting astride world-class art at the newly renovated MCA
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So you thought zine culture died when the free Wordpress blogging platform was launched? Wrong! The cut-paste-copy publishing technique is alive and well (albeit a little diminshed) in Sydney and will be centre stage at the brand new MCA this month. Time Out caught up with zine queen Miss Helen to talk about the DIY form with the word-of-mouth circulation, and its changing place in Sydney.
Miss Helen has been pumping out petite publications since the mid-1990s and is responsible for the long-running zine series Astro Gurrl and Fly Away Bird, and both are coloured by her cutesy aesthetic and black wit. Years ago you might have seen them artfully scattered around your local indie record store or stacked up on the counter of an art gallery you visited once, but as we rolled into the noughties and beyond, the appearances of zines seemed few and far between.
“There’s a lot less zine-making then there once was," says Miss Helen. "With the Internet allowing everyone to self-publish, fewer and fewer people are actually producing them.”
Once upon a time it was only those with wherewithal and access to a photocopier that could publish themselves, but now it’s an overwhelming free for all. Zines, then, seem more special than ever, and the MCA Zine Fair is a geat chance to see some of the city's most special examples.
“The great thing about the fair is that it brings a lot of people out of the woodwork that wouldn’t otherwise publish," explains Miss Helen. And she should know, she’s been present at every single fair since its inception, watching it grow into the successful and respected institution that it now is. And she assures us that a wide variety of content and styles will be available at the fair, sure to please anyone and everyone.
Those not comfortable on the sidelines can wade further into the thick of it at two-day course Zines: A Masterclass (May 12-13, 10am-3pm, $85-$95 including materials). Taught by well-known zine artist Vanessa Barry, the class will show those that sign up both the practical and conceptual sides of zine making.
You'll also find a market with a smorgasbord of zine-cuisine will be ripe for purchase. There are also talks and workshops programmed throughout the day, and the National Centre for Creative Learning are taking the creativity outdoors and setting up a Zine Garden with DJs and a showcase of young (under 25) zinesters.
So, scrape together some change and make your way down to the MCA.