Kermés “Editing the Everyday”

On the rooftop of the UNAM Museum, the fourth edition of the kermesse “Editing the Everyday” took place today, Saturday, April 13th. Although it may sound unusual, it is precisely that: a kermesse. At the entrance of the museum, a stand was set up where people could get prints stamped on their skin like tattoos, serving as an invitation to go up to the kermesse, which was held on the rooftop. Upon entering the rooftop, attendees were greeted with hibiscus water and basket tacos. The event dynamics were explained, and “churru-pesos” bills were distributed, which could be exchanged for activities at the stands or items for sale, essentially serving as a welcome. The organizers of this event are 10 self-managed editorial collectives seeking to showcase their work as fanzine creators, while also creating a space to welcome both those familiar and unfamiliar with their work.

In Mexico, there are times of the year when, to commemorate special dates such as Independence Day and Mother’s Day, schools organize events called “kermesses.” These events are about socializing with classmates through games, activities, and sharing food. They were even more enjoyable when students were allowed to wear everyday clothes instead of uniforms, adding an extra appeal. Thus, the kermesse was the most “punk” moment of the year. For these fanzine creators, who know that the origin of the fanzine is rooted in punk culture, they have revived these two concepts to create “Editing the Everyday.”

The fact that it is a kermesse is not a coincidence; it is an idea developed by La Zinería and Editorial Mitote. They invite colleagues from the field whom they have met along their journey in editing and publishing. This journey has mainly been through bazaars and certain cultural events where, during social interactions, they noted that there are no spaces exclusively for them and their work as fanzine editors and independent publishers. So, not finding a place in book fairs or venues that open their doors to them, these collectives organize themselves and seek their own places for meetings and exhibitions.

The artistic offerings ranged from fanzines to prints, illustrations, posters, newspaper figures, paintings, and items covered in epoxy resin. Additionally, there were talks, workshops, and readings in a room below where the kermesse took place. I came across titles such as “Cómo romper el corazón de un elefante” by Brian O’Brien, which narrates how elephants are kidnapped and separated from their herd to be trained and sold to zoos or circuses. Larissa Alcántara presented “¿A qué velocidad viaja el pasado que siempre nos alcanza?” where she discusses drug use during adolescence, packaging the fanzine in a plastic bag along with colorful stickers, small candies, and bead bracelets that resemble pills, thus creating an analogy to how drugs are packaged and presented. Baruck Racine created a photographic fanzine that tells the story of his life in the USA during his childhood, his life in Mexico, and how the border separating the two countries is not just physical. Additionally, the UNAM Fanzinoteca lent material for exhibition, which is part of their catalog that can be consulted at any time in their archival center.

The main idea of these collectives, besides showcasing their work, is to create spaces and build communities. They find it essential to break the stigmatization of what art should be and for whom it is intended. This particular vision arises because the creators have found that in their communities of origin, which they refer to as “the periphery”—Xochimilco, Ecatepec, Cuautla, Tláhuac, Morelos, Tlalnepantla—there is little openness to the graphic and artistic expression they produce. Few spaces have taken the risk in previous editions of this kermesse to open their doors and even fewer to finance them. Therefore, by joining efforts among collectives, they prepared an open invitation to the general public, creating an event where children are also welcome, offering young ones the opportunity to engage with this world and show them that there are people who make a living by “drawing pictures.”




Inkitt: BbyKevs
Wattpad: @SugoiKevs
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The world of zines

Readers can encounter all kinds and varieties of reading. Books, magazines, blogs, and digital platforms are the most common and accessible formats. However, one format usually thrives in the underground world of reading: the zine.

Just because it’s “under” doesn’t mean that the fanzine is something that is suddenly emerging; in fact, its origins can be traced back to the late 19th century with the emergence of fiction self-publications. Over the years, the zine has taken on diverse shades, leaning more towards the artistic or science fiction in the 1930s, resembling the comic book format. At some point in the 1960s, zines turned towards politics and protest, even touching on taboo and counterculture topics.

Towards the 1990s, with access to computers and the internet, zines also transitioned to electronic media, giving rise to the term “ezine” or “e-zine.” This leap was made to attract more readers while simultaneously reducing distribution costs. Initially, they were distributed as PDF documents, later transitioning to a web format and becoming non-printable electronic magazines. This moment in the life of the zine is more of a branching point, as zines continue to be produced both physically and digitally today.

The fanzine is not exclusive to nor does it exclude any particular topic. We start with the premise that its term is a combination of the words “fan” (enthusiast) and “magazine,” which opens the door to anyone with an interest in a particular subject and writing to create a fanzine. From its beginnings, they were publications made by fans around a particular theme (such as music, sports, literature, film, comics). The fact that fans make them and do not have sponsorships or budgets pushes creators to produce them homemade. Although it might seem like a disadvantage, it actually offers its creators total freedom of expression without economic or any other type of ties to third-party interests.

Creativity is the limit when it comes to creating a fanzine. They can be made solely with texts or combined with images, made solely with images, clippings, or collages, combining papers, giving them any shape. Distribution can typically be through prints, photocopies, and digital PDF documents. The themes can be as varied as their creators, who are often specialists in the topic they present, without needing to be recognized as professionals, valuing their work more than their prestige. Thus, the true essence of the fanzine is being artisanal.

Currently, “prozines” are productions made with professional means, unlike zines. They incorporate all the initial concepts of zines: freedom of expression and creative freedom; however, they are self-published by creators who intend to make a living from their creative work. With this aim, their prints are of higher quality. They have style correctors and professional reviewers to improve their work. Personally, I find that the prozine is not necessarily in competition with the fanzine, as their objectives are different, and the existence of one does not diminish or complicate the other.

Fanzines emerged primarily as a need for their creators to have a voice in an environment where it was difficult to be heard, especially if one held opinions different from those of the time (whether political, moral, or of any other kind). The format, form, and content are as diverse and extensive as their creators, offering a wide range of productions. They were and are necessary if, as a writer, photographer, or graphic artist, one seeks to showcase their work or responds to that human impulse to express oneself, speak, and be heard.

Inkitt: BbyKevs
Wattpad: @SugoiKevs
TikTok: @bbykevs