textures of your pandemic experience

by Kawmadie Karunanayake

Zines (from ‘fanzine’ or ‘magazine’) are mostly short, self-created, self-published little books. They often have themes, include collage and writing, and can be highly collaborative. In their origins they were traditional media, made by hand, delivered through mail or in person. In their current iterations many of them are online or multimedia publications. They cover topics from computer science and queer advice to fermentation and preservation. Zines can be about most anything the heart desires. I’ve personally made ones which are quite academic and include citations and essays, as well as ones which are just a collection of vibes and images.

In the Grad Library we came up with an idea to create a collaborative zine about the FIMS community pandemic experience. There’s been lots of work done around archiving this “unprecedented time” and we thought it could be interesting and useful to have a zine which captured the more personal, felt experiences of these years. The theme was textures: sensorial, emotional, mental, the embodiment and feeling of living through these years. The participants all approached the theme from diverse perspectives and created pages which captured their own internal sense of this shared time.

The workshops to create this zine took some finagling; the shift from online to in person was the push that was necessary to make it come to life. The sense of collaboration created through in person collaging and creation was much more within the sphere of zine making as a whole, rather than a zoom affair. (I do however want to give kudos to people who did manage to organize and run zoom based creative workshops, because I truly understand the amount of effort it must have taken.) Overall I personally enjoyed the process of creating both the workshop and the zine. In the true essence of a zine it ended up being a project created through the efforts of many people and with a final product which is a combined aesthetic of everyone’s ideas.