Tuesday, January 10, 2012
I completed my latest zine exactly a week ago, making my collective zine output total a whopping four zines-- two were collaborations, and two were my own-- in 2011, the official year of the Revenge of Print. Looking back, I feel that I did well...I did my part for the revenge! Print was one of my first loves. Needless to say, I hope it is here to stay.
While this zine came to fruition mere days into 2012, I consider it a '2011' zine because so much of its research and construction was done in 2011. In a nutshell, Museozine is a zine of interviews with friends of mine-- all wonderfully creative young people who craft, make music and make art on their own terms-- about their museum experiences. These interviews started off as casual research I was doing for my job at a small Toronto museum last summer. The interviews were, in some cases, so honest and joyful and surprising that I felt like I just had to publish them in zine form as a way of honoring and preserving them.
Some of my favourite moments in the zine include the following quotes:
"When I was a young kid I loved to sit upside down on the couch (legs up the wall, head hanging down over the end of the seat) and look at the living room/kitchen upside down and fantasize about how cool it would be to be able to walk around in a house that was upside down. Really upside down, but defying gravity so everything would stay in its place, and to walk in the front door and try to navigate around the house that way and see all the familiar objects in this whole new way. I did this a lot. It was a bit of an obsession. There's my dream museum-- my childhood home upside down." --Elaine B.
"If I could create my own museum it would be quite a bit like my own apartment, except much, much bigger...everything from old print (magazines, comic books, fanzines, old books) to old toys, various pop culture items, guitars and music gear, and-- probably most importantly-- vinyl records." --Matt H.
"I think a hobo museum would be cool. It would have a riding the rails simulator, and a hobo camp staffed with historical re-enactors like Black Creek Pioneer Village, and maybe a folk singer from the 20s or 30s. Although this is changing, museums tend not to represent the lives of people on the margins of history." --Patrick M.
Today, headlines about millions of dollars in funding for culture and research being cut from both the municipal and the provincial budget over the next year were splashed across Toronto papers. Sad when you consider how much museums have captured the imaginations of the people I interviewed. Most of these interviews referred to childhood museum experiences, which, for the case of many, happened in the 1980s, before the massive culture funding slashes and economic recession of the very late 1980s and early 1990s. There is currently an accessibility problem among Toronto's museums. I hate to think that the current economic climate and recent cuts will make the current problem (or crisis, even) of local museum accessibility--and not to mention cultural funding-- even worse.
For lots of impassioned writing on the topic of public access to museums and cultural institutions, check out Toronto critic and arts writer Leah Sandals' always engaging blog, Unedit My Heart.