Passing Through.

In response  to Ran and Ray’s questions about paper, although my relationship is in steady decline, it certainly plays a role in archiving my experiences. I have an extensive collection of letters, photographs, zines, and record covers, all of which could be used to locate me in time and location, while defining my affiliations with various subcultures. For me,  the use of paper for xeroxed zines and handwritten letters, or photobooth pictures has served as a marker of authenticity in a subculture that seems more and more difficult to define.  Historically, the subculture which i am describing, anit-captialist, anti-profit, diy culture revolves around the production and distribution of homemade zines, records, and self-published books. These formats allowed me to make connections with people who existed outside of mainstream definitions of art, politics, and pop-culture. While  some paper zines are still in circulation, others are housed in archives, and liner notes can still be found printed and inserted inside record sleeves, the use of paper is of course in decline.   The use of the internet and digital filing formats has increased access to and appropriation of DIY cultural commodities.  This transformation has also disrupted the notion of “radical individuality” that is the basis for such communities.

In thinking about paper as a marker or record of personal history, I thought about the following piece by Meredyth Sparks:

The image printed on the record sleeve is a photograph Sparks took of a graffiti piece which reads “U can erase history”, this piece had been amended from a prior quote which read ” You can’t erase history”. The second quote appears on the opposite side of the record sleeve. Spark’s work calls into question an unresolvable debate surrounding the erasure of history both literally via the missing record and abstractly through the multiple layers of meaning embedded in the act of amending represented by the graffitti. (Hobbs 63

by s.o.


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