Twin Cities Zinefest 2010: Post Mortem

zinefest minneapolis tim sievert andy sturdevant
Zinefest Panelists, clockwise from top-left: Tim Sievert, Andy Sturdevant, Andy Sturdevant's leg and Ariel Pate

The 2010 Twin Cities Zinefest came together rather well. I’ve attended the festival since I moved back to the Twin Cities in 2007, and each year the show has gathered steam. This year the duration of Zinefest was scaled back from two days to one day. But, what the show lost in time, was made up it’s intensity. In previous years the two day show felt diffuse and under-attended. Shortening the time focused the show. It felt consistently busy and well attended. In previous years the two day format left a lot room for significant dead-time.

Another thing that struck me at the show was a kind of new vitality. Since the early 00’s the atmosphere at zinefests around the country felt depressed and melancholy. The rise of the internet sucked all the oxygen from the substantial zine ‘revolution’ of the 80’s & 90’s. Attending a zinefest sometimes felt like descending into a camp of nostalgic luddites (guilty as charged). But this year it seemed like there was a new spark. I didn’t detect too much pining for a lost golden age. Perhaps the internet is starting to lose it’s sheen of novelty? Maybe Prince is right…? The internet is starting to… simply be. It’s… something we’re becoming used to. Just because the internet IS, doesn’t mean that other things must cease to be. Also, I think our bodies are becoming tired of the computerized deprivation chamber. Is it a coincidence that the rapid rise of the Internet has been paralleled by the rise of New Urbanism with it’s corollaries of walking and biking? The rise of the virtual mirrored by the return of the repressed: the physical world. This… new physicality (?) seems to be the source of the zine resurgence. Whether this energy is a temporary localized phenomenon (a TAZ?), or whether this is something that can be sustained into the future I don’t know. Perhaps it was simply a good show.

The Zinefest day was capped off by a fun after-party at the Seward Cafe. The party started off with a panel headed by Andy Sturdevant (pictured above). I know a lot of good bands played, but I missed them all because I ended up talking too much in the garden behind the Cafe.

Favorite Zinefest object: Esoteric Bullshit: Cairns by King Mini (pictured below). It’a an 8 page, 3-color silkscreened booklet. The images of abandoned detritus will be familiar to fans of King Mini’s work, but I detected something new lurking in these drawings. As the booklet progresses the discarded objects become increasingly organized and ordered… into new structures… as if the trauma that created these assemblages was being overcome… the apocalypse followed by a renewal… an appropriate coda for the whole show. Update: This is now available via the Etsy shop.


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