Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Zine: Afterzine

Image from the Afterzine site.

I was on a book search last week in the Tate Modern book shop, and came across the first issue of new zine Afterzine. With a stark, black and white cover design and promises of submissions from the likes of Thurston Moore, Noma Bar and Peter Saville (the graphic designer responsible for many of the Factory Records' album sleeves, including the iconic Unknown Pleasures), it was an intriguing find and was hastily purchased (for the pretty OK price of  £9 ($10), considering that it's more like a thin book than your usual photocopied 12-pager).

In true magazine tradition, Afterzine's first release has a theme; all content circles the notion of 'Negative Space', which in itself is quite an all-encompassing subject and a good jump off point. As the cover image suggests, some contributors chose to look at the negative space that can be found in sound (Thurston waxes lyrical about what it means to be a "true black metal warrior"), while others opt to delve into the theme within imagery, short stories or conceptual writing. A few submissions are stronger than others; Alexa Chung's underwhelming snapshots awkwardly raise the question that maybe her inclusion is more reliant on who she is rather than what she can do. But all content is beautifully laid out, presented as sharp images and neat text on a simple white or black background, each given the freedom to breathe and to be fully absorbed by the reader. My favourite pieces include the '10 Spines' photographs by Jessica Pigza, documenting the spines of rare books in the New York Public Library, with well-observed accompanying text, and a short tale by Andi Teran, entitled 'The Space Between Lines'. Lucy Martin's 'Negative Space Roundographs' are also stunning.

Image from the Afterzine site.

With a limited run of 1000 copies, this zine is likely to be snapped up pretty quickly, so be sure to order a copy now. And if you need any more encouragement, Afterzine also promises to donate $5 to the Red Cross in support of their Japan disaster relief efforts from every purchase made from this link, so you can do some good whilst treating your retinas to some magnificent imagery and ideas.

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