Zine Steganography

logo: THe 2021 Contemprary Artists' Book Conference
Josue smiles, with buzzed black hair in a Hawaiian shirt
Josue Chavez
Bidi Choudhury with wavy brown hair just past her ears
Bidi Choudhury
Kira with long curly, dark brown hair and glasses
Kira Simon-Kennedy
Dark skin male in cowboy hat with glasses
Mikail Wright-Kwon (2021)
fair skinned woman with dark brown hair and glasses
An Xiao Mina (2021)

Event Info

How do you share a zine in places where sharing ideas is dangerous? Artists find innovative ways to make new kinds of media to get their messages across and make underheard voices go viral. We will share ways artists have found to hide their messages in plain sight by camouflaging zines in fashionable streetwear, QR codes, and computer-generated Chinese characters to bypass algorithmic censorship. As long-standing and more recent people’s movements and subsequent political repression launch continuous cycles of evasion and crackdowns, we are eager to share successful examples of ways artists archive activists’ ephemeral and transformative messages, online and print, to propagate the power of creative interventions in the public sphere in ever more tumultuous times.

We will also consider the fraught relationship between zines and book criticism through the artists’ decisions to camouflage their text-works as part of larger socially-engaged projects and digital installations. How do the formats employed allow artists to combat the racist, sexist and classist legacy of book criticism which has often neglected zines as a legitimate object of study, a tendency informed by their association with working class, queer and feminist subcultures? How are artists “hacking” institutional structures through their publication and circulation methods, forcing them to make space for historically neglected forms of cultural production?

Founded in 2008, CABC has been a long time programing partner of Printed Matter’s Art Book Fairs. This year CABC will be presented as part of Printed Matter’s Virtual Art Book Fair.

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For more information about CABC and other conference sessions click here.

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