Monday, June 29, 2020

International Artists' Periodicals: File (Canada), Doc(k)s (France), Plages (France), Infrarot (Germany), La Jicara (Mexico)

FILE (Canada), #1-29, 1972-1989, editors/publishers General Idea [Jorge Zontal (1944-94), Felix Partz (1945-94) & AA Bronson]

"We began FILE Megazine in 1972 as a networking publication. It functioned as an in-house organ for an art network of the early seventies, blurring the line between contributors and readership and authenticating fringe art activity as something really happening. It was. You knew it was happening because you could see it in FILE. The backbone of these early issues was the Image Bank Image Request Lists." AA Bronson in: General Idea: 1968-1984, traveling exhibition catalogue, 1984-85.

Doc(k)s (France) 4 series, #1: 1976-1987, #2: 1987-1989, #3:1990-2007, #4 2006- .  Editor: Julian Blaine and P. Castellin & J. Torregrosa.

Julian Blaine (b. 1942) is a French artist, poet, performer and prolific publisher. Doc(k)s represents his most sustained periodical publishing project which he started in 1976 and continued through to the end of its 2nd series in 1989. After this Blaine passed the editorship on to Akenaton (P. Castellin and J. Torregrosa) and Doc(k)s continues to the present day. Each issue of Doc(k)s is usually comprised of 2-4 issues rolled into one, which makes it a hefty anthological publication, with each issue bringing together experimental writing, concrete & visual poetry, and visual & text works from a wide swath of international artists. Many of the early issues were devoted to works from specific countries, and this international focus has continued to the present day. Doc(k)s is a remarkable publication, not only for its longevity, but its long term commitment to documenting experimental activity across a range of genres, with recent issues including DVD's documenting experimental activities in sound.

PLAGES (France), #1-130, 1978-2011, editor Roberto Gutierrez (1939-2011)

Plages (Beaches) another long-running artists' periodical, edited by this Argentinean born artist who became a naturalized French citizen in 1978. The two issues shown here present two rather different sides of this periodical with #20 (1983) being a rather sedate issue except for the moveable element on the front cover. However, #35 (1986) illustrates what Plages became notorious for, and this was the introduction of an incredible array of 3-dimensional and sculptural objects into the pages of the periodical. In his editorial in the last issue Gutierrez summarizes the issues and concerns that preoccupied him during his life, "In May 2011, the last Plages will appear, thirty-three years of digging up the cobblestones of the dream and throwing them into the mouth of art, sometimes successful, sometimes less impactful...always at the forefront of the fight of creation. We fought against the institution, to defend the social security of artists, by organizing demonstrations and debates to obtain a legal income for all...".

INFRArot (Germany), #1-8, 1983-1985, #9-14, 2013-2015, editor Dieter Herrmann

On Dieter Herrmann's website he relates how he came to be publishing this magazine and the two French artists who were instrumental in him starting the INRArot (Infrared) adventure, "At the beginning of 1983 my new friends Camille Philibert and Jacques-Élie Chabert told me that they wanted to publish a graphzine and asked if I would like to take part with pictures. "What the hell is a graphzine?" I asked and they patiently tried to explain it to me. But how do you explain to someone who has never seen anything like that what it is? It was something like a magazine. But mostly your own pictures would be printed. So, it is something like a small art exhibition. An exhibition in the form of a booklet - I didn't understand a word".

When Philibert and Chabert next visited Herrmann they showed him the book with his works included and he was "thrilled", and "It didn't take long and I had licked blood: I wanted to do something like this in Germany and I thought about how I could be manage it....". A sampling of the results is shown here, and they display all the grittiness and raunchiness that are such a key part of the graphzine movement's aesthetic.

Here's a link to a video Herrmann created that shows all the issues of INFRArot

LA JICARA (The Gourd), Mexico, #4, 1995 and #6, 2009, editors: indigenous Maya women, San Cristobal, Chiapas

This is a really unique periodical published by indigenous Maya women as a means to promote Amerindian culture, with its format modelled on the codices created by the women's ancestors that were all but destroyed by the Conquistadors and priests, during the Spanish conquest. Thus, this periodical embodies both resistance and pride, as well as being a powerful tool in the documentation and preservation of this community's history.

All the women are a part of an arts collective called Taller Leñateros (The Wooldander's Workshop) that was created in 1975 by Ambar Past, an American expatriate, to preserve, support and promote Maya culture. Over the years the collective has published a number of books, prints, assorted printed matter, as well as artists' books. One of their landmark books was titled "Conjuros y ebriedades, cantos de mujeres mayas," (Conjuring Spells and Drinking Songs of Maya Women), with over 150 people contributing to the book during the 23 years it took to create. Printed in an edition of 1000 copies, it was the first book written, illustrated, printed, bound and published by the Mayan people in 1,000 years.