More Than Words: Zine Exchanges, Culture, and the Power of DIY / by Helen Grant

- H. Grant

Zine culture is something we strive to cultivate here at Resonator. When we’re not launching a sponsorship drive, hosting a monthly exhibition for 2nd Friday Art Walk, figuring out how to promote what we do more effectively and build new connections, while providing a platform for artists of all types, we’ve been known to claw back from the clutches of chaos small morsels of time to make what is, ideally, a quarterly zine.

With that in mind, we’ve hosted a zine fest! It took place on October 21, 2017 and was fairly successful considering Norman was under a tornado watch that day; a rare but not unheard of occurence that late in fall. We strive to be a safe space in all things we do, so we monitored the situation, and those who wished to leave before sirens sounded we’re notified of worsening weather conditions; it was wild. But it’s always a wild ride with Resonator.

Resonator’s 2017 Zine Fest. Photo credit: Julius

Resonator’s 2017 Zine Fest. Photo credit: Julius

Cut to 2018 when we moved locations: core members redefined their roles, the organization actually became a non profit, and we spent a lot of that year regrouping as we began overhauling our new location with a grant from the Norman Arts Council. Gallery walls were built, many cool shows happened as the space inched along, but Zine Fest went on hiatus. These things happen.

Resonator’s 2019 goals see us collobrating with Oscillator Press to make Zine Fest happen, come hell or high water.

Poster by Jenna Bryan.

Poster by Jenna Bryan.

We’re also planning to hit the road. Resonator artists and organizers will be tabling and working on making new connections at the Denver Zine Fest this year too. Both events are in June, but Norman’s Zine Fest happens in the first half of the month. We plan to send a selection of Resonator published zines, zines artists have given us to sell for them, as well as the zines made by those taking this trip. So why Denver?

From the Denver Zine Library’s website:
“The Denver Zine Library is a non profit organization founded in 2003 whose mission is to preserve, protect and promote the culture of zines and self published original work through archival collection, workshops and events. The Denver Zine Library currently houses one of the largest zine collections in North America with a preserved collection of over 20,000 independent and alternative zines. The organization is entirely volunteer run, and the public can access the full library and archives during open hours.”

Indie publishing is a democratic medium and by all accounts it is growing one too, despite the Internet or maybe because of it. You can find zines online and locally, if you know where to look. And there are plenty of people out there still mailing zines to dedicated audiences. There is something quietly revolutionary about disseminating your thoughts, art, and DIY-style through a collage of ideas. That said, zines are varied and reveal so much about their creators’ intentions and as such there are many genres, but perhaps that’s a post for another time.

We hope our collective efforts make for a vibrant Zine culture in Norman. We’d love for more Oklahomans, young and old alike, to feel like they can cover the subjects they want, and maybe find a community of readers they can connect with as well. At the same time it is important to us that we work towards building the kind of Zine culture that attracts outsiders too. Even as we ramp up to host a Zine Fest at Resonator and participate in Denver’s Zine Fest, there is also a small group of Resonator-affiliated artists considering the idea of even trying for Kansas City this year as well. It just looks so stinkin’ cool and their vibe reads inclusive and fun.

¡Viva la cultura DIY!