To conclude the research I have been conducting into belonging at NTU with a small group of students, we have been asked to develop an artefact to display our findings. Rather than making a typically written report or poster, a zine will be made to create a more visual, accessible piece.
To learn the zine making process, I attended a couple of sessions, with the first held at Brackenhurst and the second at Dizzy Ink.
The aim: To develop a collaborative zine to demonstrate the diversity and experience at the university Brackenhurst campus.
The first session was certainly out of my comfort zone; however I actually enjoyed the process when I got into it. I had three hours to explore Brackenhurst, sketching, writing and photographing anything I thought was interesting. I focused my attention on the outlines of buildings, and different angles that I could capture through my phone lens. The combination of sharp edges of the architecture and the natural curves from the nature caught my attention.
This session was great for me as I had to slightly let go and not worry about what the outcomes looked like, but rather focus on putting my interpretation down on paper. Although I wasn’t happy with how each one turned out, it was a mindful activity where I was observing my surroundings that I would usually be oblivious to.
In the second session at Dizzy Ink, we combined all of our experiments together; we laid everything we had on the table and started to see which slotted together and would form part of the zine narrative. At the beginning I was hesitant about cutting up other people’s work to create overlapping collages with them. However once we all started cutting words out of free-writes, elements out of photographs and sketches, we started to quickly form the pages.
As part of this session, I learnt how Dizzy Ink create zines which is very different to how I have previously developed my own. They use Risograph printing where two colours are combined on top of each other, meaning we had to create two compositions for each page. I found it difficult to visualise what the pages would look like combined as we had the lighter layer on one row and the darker on another. As a result of the A6 size, I was concerned with overcrowding on some of the pages.
Once we were happy with the narrative and composition, we stuck the individual pages onto A3 sheets ready to be printed. We selected a dark burgundy as the darker layer and a green as the lighter as a result of these being the dominant colours in the photographs. I was surprised that Ben at Dizzy Ink essentially photocopied the pages in one colour and then repeated the process layering the other colour and composition on-top. The uncoated paper made the zine feel more hand-made and experimental and also mirrored the country-side environment at the campus.
Once the zines were cut, folded and stapled, it was evident that the naïve colourfulness and unpredictable nature of the Risograph print combined the free-writes and sketches really well to create a tactile artefact in response to the visual stimuli around the campus. Although the print isn’t in my usual clean and structured style and some of the pages wouldn’t be how I would have composed them, I was happy with the end result, bringing all of our interpretations together. I learnt a new way of printing and now have a couple more contacts that will be valuable in the future.