The world of zine making has come to Andover’s Union Street, from 27th till the 29th of May, with The Bureau of Exchange opening opposite Thornton’s.
If you’ve heard of “zines”, it’s probably from the 1980s punk scene, as the printed voice of alternative culture. They’re most typically small publications, self-published, limited in number and like a blog – but before blogs.
They have now become much more of a collectable item, a token of passion or an invested gesture that trades itself around the alternative culture hot spots of England. Now they’re in Andover.
Leading the project is local contemporary artist Tom Mortimer, whose work has graced art publications and been exhibited in England and Paris. Andover may know him through his local projects; such as with Portway Junior School, where his zine project took pupils to teach teaching staff from across the country at an Artsworks event at The British Film Institute in London.
Alongside him are members of Alternative Press, whose impact has hit London since 2008 through organised self-publishing fairs, open mic evenings, as well as live collaboration activities.
They have also published four books, produced a regular radio show, run workshops and continue to connect artists and scenes from all over the world, amateur and professional. One Alternative Press Festival event was recently featured as the basis of a recent documentary Comics Are My Rock and Roll by Daniel James Baldwin.
The Bureau of Exchange project as a whole is an exciting pop up shop art project by Chapel Arts Studios, a local contemporary art collective that are based in the converted chapel in Andover’s St Mary graveyard.
The opening zine event is just the start of a month long programme using the space to explore methods of exchange, from alternative currency methods of sharing, communication and connection. The project is funded through an awarded granted by The Arts Council England and Test Valley Arts Foundation.