“You can't SEO the human soul.” Fernando Gros.
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Blog // Thoughts
December 1, 2017

Modularity – My New Zine

Something small and personal from my Tokyo studio. Personal reflections on the last season of life with new ideas on art, music and creativity.

I’ve made a zine, 24 pages, available for U$12 including postage anywhere in the world, and you can pick it up at my online store. It’s a limited edition thing, with some funky typesetting experiments and a few ink drawings, in a sexy B6 size, and when it’s gone, it’s gone.

What’s a zine? Well, it used to be written as ’zine, which of course was short for magazine. They were the DIY or punk version of a magazine for those with something to say and not much money with which to say it. They were a part of various subcultures, from skating and surfing to art and music. Their aesthetic – dodgy graphics, hand-drawn lettering, and copier grade paper – were part of their charm.

Zines died off for a long time, and a lot of the creative energy that used to go into them went into early generations of websites and then blogs. But they are now back in a significant way.

I’ve been noticing how many creatives in Tokyo have been putting out zines recently, and my recent trip to the Tokyo Art Book Fair further inspired my thoughts about producing one myself.

Of course, like so many things now, what a zine is has been codified into a whole bunch of rather dull rules and procedures, which made me wonder if it was worth bothering with. To make things worse, the very definition seems fraught, as many photographers talk about putting out a zine, by which they mean a one-off low budget photo-book, rather than a magazine-like periodical.

I’ve called my zine Modularity, which is a nod to my new-found passion for modular synthesisers, but also reflects a growing idea about how to build a creative life out of a set of modular choices, a theme that I’ll explore in each edition.

I hope to publish four issues a year, like the seasons, but I’m more interested in the sub-seasons, which is why this first one is the Indian Summer Edition, written during the long dry end to this year’s summer in Tokyo.

Some of the articles in this first edition are things that appeared on this blog, edited for the zine; others are new thoughts, collected around a theme of making health-related choices.

There are no photos in this one – just text and drawings.

Putting it together has been a lot of fun. It’s a mix of high tech and low tech. I’ve used it as a chance to learn a little bit of Indesign. It was alarmingly hard to figure out how to actually print out the zine as a booklet, rather than as a random-like assortment of pages, with every second page upside down!

But I also got to play with tracing paper, which I hadn’t used since high school technical drawing classes, and to make some pen and ink art.

In future I’ll offer some options, if for example you want to order the next four issues and have them sent to you when they come out. But for now, the best way to get one is to buy it in the store, where’s it’s available for U$12 including shipping anywhere in the world.

Responses
Eunice 1 year ago

Hey Fernando,

I really love and appreciate your work. I have checked out Modularity and it’s awesome!! Anyone who hasn’t checked it out please do. Thank me later 🙂

Looking forward to the next series…keep us posted

Dane Cobain 11 months ago

Really nice, I do love a good zine! I’m sure yours is really well-produced knowing your flair for aesthetics etc. but equally sometimes they’re still super enjoyable even when they’re poorly put together. It almost adds to their charm, you know? I see you have a second issue out as well, I might have to check them out! I like the reasoning behind the name as well. You could argue that zines themselves are pretty modular, especially when you look at some of the ones people are making with say half a dozen or more different contributors!

    fernando 11 months ago

    Dane – yeah, I love that some zines are like lo-fi publishing!

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