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A workshop on making zines using material from the web
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Appropriate Tech: who can speak for whom and how

In this workshop students will use their online personas to create art about themselves and their classmates. First we'll discuss appropriation versus privacy and artistic freedom versus social justice — looking at a recent art world controversy. Then we'll learn about zine culture and how it embraces and critques appropriation. Students will create a self-portrait using a thread from their emails, texts, apps, or feeds. Finally, students will portray each other using the same material as a way to see one another differently. Trusting each other with their content.

Homework (15 minutes)

Take 15 minutes to watch this video about the controversy surrounding Dana Schutz's painting from the 2017 Whitney Biennial. Then read this article about Parker Bright who protested Dana's painting and was the subject of a Neïl Beloufa work at the Palais de Tokyo museum in Paris.

Think about who. From what position was Dana creating? Then whom. How did this effect Parker and Neïl and then Parker again? How did technology play a part? Not just in the distribution but the making of art.

Warmup (30 minutes)

1 take a couple hello-my-name-is stickers
2 write down several user IDs that you use
3 stick one ID to your chest
4 save one for the group

Appropriation in art is the use of pre-existing objects or images with little or no transformation applied to them. The use of appropriation has played a significant role in the history of the arts (literary, visual, musical, performing, and net art). To appropriate means to adopt, borrow, recycle, sample, or cut and paste aspects or the entirity of a thing. Notable in this respect are the readymades of Marcel Duchamp.1

In the digital age we're all appropriation artists by default. Like Pigpen from Peanuts. Each moment he steps or shakes his head – he generates more visible dust. Pigpen moves through the world inscribing the contemporary into his digital cloud, adding the dirt of the day to his already thickly layered historical record. His critics – the entire cast of Peanuts – often accuse him of wallowing in his dirt, of taking hedonistic pleasure in his condition. As an outcast, he assumes the role of the trickster, an artist — a figure who, defying normative community-based behavioral standards, is the keeper of a database of deep and secret knowledge. His cloud is a haze, an ambience, a network that can’t be defined by specific boundaries. He is at once physical and ephemeral.2

A zine is a small-circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images, usually reproduced via photocopier. Dissidents and members of socially marginalized groups have published their own opinions in leaflet and pamphlet form for as long as such technology has been available. The concept of zines had an ancestor in the amateur press movement of the late 19th and early 20th century, which would in its turn cross-pollinate with the subculture of science fiction fandom in the 1930s. The popular graphic-style associated with zines is influenced artistically and politically by the subcultures of Dada, Fluxus, Surrealism and Situationism.3

The Official Cockettes Paper Doll Book by John Flowers and Clay Geerdes
For Everard by Anthony Malone
[NOPE 45] by Sebastian Hutchinson

Work (70 minutes)

Building an Archive
1 open your emails, texts, apps, and feeds that use an ID from your Hello stickers
2 find a single thread that you'd like to use as raw material
3 tag each post within the thread with a title

1 search on your title
2 screenshot, organize, prep for b/w printing
3 print two copies of each asset
4 put one set aside

Cut, Paste, Copy, Repeat
1 use one set for your self-portrait zine
2 cut out, paste, embellish, draw, copy, and print again and again
3 fold 3 letter-size sheets in half
4 bind your zine with the stapler 5 place your Hello sticker on the cover

Appropriate a Classmate
1 randomly choose a classmate's set of prints
2 review material
3 repeat above steps to create a portrait of your classmate

Share (15 minutes)

What story are you telling?
From what position?
Whom does it effect?
How is the zine similar and different from the actual thread?
How is your self-portrait similar and different from the portrait your classmate did of you?

Takeaway (5 minutes)

Wasting Time on the Internet by Kenneth Goldsmith
There's a New Movement in American Poetry and It's Not Kenneth Goldsmith by Cathy Park Hong

Sorry to dump on you like this ZIP and PDF by Christpher Clary
Our Arrival PDF and GitHub by Allison Parrish

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