The announcement below came from the Archives & Archivists (A&A) Email List from Beatrice Skokan (a great colleague and Special Collections Librarian at the University of Miami Libraries), and the story is also on the website for their newsletter, The Mosaic: http://library.miami.edu/specialcollections/2013/11/07/flori-zines-zines-from-florida-on-display-at-special-collections/
Underground Voices Rise Up in Zine Exhibition
“It’s sort of like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City come to life. In what other city can you imagine Art Basel and the FTAA protests happening within two weeks of each other?”
That’s a quote by author and journalist Erick Lyle in “Greetings from Miami, Florida,” the title of a 2010 issue of Scam. On the cover, a Sharpie-illustrated tourist with “X”s over his eyes swims across a vintage souvenir postcard, one arm pointing up to the banner, as to say, “Come to Miami, and all your worries will melt away.”
The Scam anthology and dozens of other zines from Florida are on display in an exhibition titled, Flori-zines: Underground Voices from the Sunshine State, now running through February 28 at University of Miami Libraries Special Collections.
Zines are a handmade form of literature, constructed with as few materials as a pen, some tape, and access to a Xerox machine. In the case of Scam, the final product is something like a miniature political diary. Some of its stories are written by hand, in which a perceived urgency materializes from hastily formed capital letters. Curse words slip, along with the occasional typo. As a zine, Scam revolts against the mainstream publishing conventions, and that is a quality gaining interest in the scholarly world once dominated by leather-bound books.
“Zines have always had a high documentary value,” said Cristina Favretto, curator of Flori-zines and head of Special Collections. She says that although zines were born much earlier, they took off with the “do-it-yourself” spirit of the 1970s as they carried the noise of punk outside the walls of concert venues, buzzing across parking lots and off of record store counters. They even dropped through the mail to later reemerge somewhere else off the grid, like living, breathing manifestations of the “punk attitude.”
A lot of zines today still reflect that attitude, or some small piece of it within the wider web of the 21st century underground: there are zines dedicated solely to the art of dumpster diving, for instance. And yet, this exhibition proves that far from left behind, or tossed themselves, these raw and truthful souvenirs have earned their place on the high shelves, or collectors’ cases (for a pretty penny, to boot). Favretto says their value is all the more apparent as some would-be zinesters now transmit ideas through blogging and social media. With zines, “there is still the option of anonymity, which lends itself to a diary-like honesty,” she said.
Meanwhile, for zinesters like Lyle, opting to write under their real names, the zine is more than a vehicle for self-expression. In a 2010 interview for the magazine Toward Freedom about an ensuing national book tour he said, “You know, [I’m] somebody who lived in abandoned buildings and ate out of the trash and [is now] able to take that knowledge and sensibility to a new location.” Three years later, Flori-zines confirms that Lyle’s and other underground voices still resonate on the pages constructed by their own two hands.
For more information about Flori-zines: Underground Voices from the Sunshine State, along with details for associated events, visit library.miami.edu/