A Zine (/ˈziːn/ ZEEN; short for magazine or fanzine) is most commonly a small-circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images, usually reproduced via photocopier. Zines have served as a significant medium of communication in various subcultures, and frequently draw inspiration from a “do-it-yourself” philosophy. – from Wikipedia

After going to the Functional Failures, Operative Fakes & Tenuous Techniques at the Critical Media Lab in Basel, I was given a zine that compile a research about the Trick Cliff Cavern. While I was quite surprised by the tone and the content itself, it suddenly strucks me that I have been encountering more and more of these small booklets in the recent months.

Gabriele de Seta have given me its Network Bridging, Nicolas Nova and Anaïs Bloch their Mobile Repair Culture, and I had discovered some others like the interesting Data Stories.

Makers as well have been using zines. Silvia Lindtner did a zine called Inside Hackerspaces with Garnet Hertz in the hackerspace NYC Resistor. Sarah Fox and Daniela Rosner did a cool feminist zine on of their research on Mothership Hackermoms in Berkeley. Also zine have been written as sprints like the one during Data Civic Camp.

All in all, zines looks like a popular and well-fit format to engage into discussion and collaborative production of some meannig with makers. One question that still unsolved is that, if zines have been very popular in the US, they are virtually unknown in China. Self-publishing exists but is very marginal. Therefore a zine for China has to come with its own set of visual and writing code, as it won’t evolve from many previous similar experiences locally.

Some more interesting sources to explore :