Text by Kiriakos Spirou
Zine fests always have a very special vibe: they feel open, friendly, welcoming and creative in an uncomplicated way that is totally missing from institutional art book fairs and the like. The directedness that comes from the unmediated interaction between publishers, creators and the audience is hard to replicate in any other setting. A zine fest is also a great place to connect with a creative community in action, with direct solidarity, collaboration, exchange and support always shared generously by everyone taking part.
Fanzineist is of course no exception to this. Organised since 2016, the fair originally began in Istanbul, and since the second half of 2019 it runs under the direction of Deniz Beser — a Vienna- and Istanbul-based artist, curator and publisher of Heyt Be!, a zine that is dedicated to Turkish underground culture.
Although this year’s Fanzineist had to take place online due to pandemic restrictions, the organisers have achieved to rally 117 participants, exhibiting more than 600 zines from 34 countries. With the intention to “welcome artists, publishers, and other creative people to share their stories, knowledge, and love of zines and art books”, Fanzineist Vienna Art Book & Zine Fair manages to bring together the zine and art book community through a diverse and inclusive programme that showcases independent art publishing in all its forms.
The main part of the fair is its generously curated virtual exhibition that includes all the hundreds of zines and books presented by the participating exhibitors, organised in five virtual halls. Visitors can navigate through a 3D environment on their browsers and view the exhibition as if in a museum, with all the publications hanging on the walls like artworks. Clicking on any image will bring up more information about the publication and a link to purchase it directly from the creator.
The main exhibition is accompanied by an ongoing programme of online concerts, talks, discussions and screenings that engage participating creators and others. Both the exhibition and the events programme are taking place from 26 July to 26 August. You can discover the full programme and view the exhibition on fanzineist.com. Make sure you visit Hall 3, where und. is exhibiting some of its own publications!