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Archizines: The Book

[THIS WEEK] Archizines may inspire you to dig out your own comics and zines, writes James Pallister

Even if you can’t make it to the exhibition, it’s worth ordering a copy of the book that accompanies Archizines, a collection of contemporary small press architecture magazines now at the AA. The catalogue gives a taster of the 60 titles on show, with a page for each featuring its cover, a short description and its vital statistics; print run, frequency and so on.

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‘Little magazines’, as Beatriz Colomina might call them, are flexible formats; in Archizines there’s the four-page title Foreign Architects Switzerland as well as the rather larger 176-page Volume. As Rob Wilson, editor of Block magazine says, the magazine can be cast as both ‘a Luddite taste for slow food and a hit-the-spot take-out, distinct from the internet’s rolling buffet.’

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From this logic, books have an obligation to analyse, explain, take the long view. This little volume fulfils that brief well. The strong, often witty set of essays includes pieces by Wilson, as well as Matthew Clarke, Pedro Gadanho, Adam Murray and Mimi Zeiger. Together, these make a clever companion to the issues faced by architectural publishers today, both in mainstream and more obscure incarnations.

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Part of the Archizines collection will be handed over for archiving in the National Art Library at the V&A. It’s pleasing to know that libraries are still archiving and collecting significant pieces of off-mainstream publishing.

If you’ve any valuable bits of social and design history cluttering up your loft, or you want to free space under the stairs, then I’m sure Andy Simons, curator of Modern British Collections at the British Library, will be happy to hear from you. And if you’ve a stack of cartons and boxes like I have, then possibly your loved ones may appreciate it too.

Read Archizines, 154pp, Bedford Press, November 2011 £12
Visit Archizines, Architectural Association, London WC1, 5 Nov – 14 Dec, free
Visit National Art Library at the V&A, London SW7, Tuesday – Sunday, free

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