The project aims to, over a period of 3 days, gather Johannesburg [Jozi] movements to design and produce covers of their ideal fanzines while exploring the role of grassroots movements in social activism and economic development.

Further, the project aims to link participating grassroots, mostly hip-hop inspired movements with keleketla!library project, Joubert Park, Johannesburg and a literary arts project in Detroit, Michigan

The argument is that inter-collective, collaborative methodologies lead to widespread development through shared resources, as epitomized by Imbawula Trust’s Fire on The Mountain Festival [see]

Some background

As the name suggests, The Fan Pal Project is an adaptation, and the merging of pen pal and fanzine culture/s.

Pen pal culture

Pen pal, for those who may not know, is a ‘friend’ who shares interests with another friend through letter writing activity. Generally a long distance, even intercontinental relationship, a pen friend can provide a kwaai dialogue, leading to an exchange in information. Check out your old collection of Bona and Pace to refresh. Facebook and the current breed of virtual networks could be seen as an extension of the pen pal family tree.

Fanzine culture

A fanzine is an inexpensive and enthusiastic magazine made by a ‘fan’ of a particular culture, sub-culture, genre, band etc etc. A fanzine is characterized by a DIY cut-paste-copy black and white aesthetic. It is about having a strong point of view and a desire to create NOW! According to Capzine:

Fanzines are where loads of designers and journalists get started, fanzines are where the magical alchemy that happens when words meet pictures on paper first come to life for many of us and, most importantly, fanzines are where you don’t have to worry about who you’re offending, who your cover does and doesn’t appeal to and if you’re going to upset your advertisers. Fanzines, lest we forget, also made an important contribution to the history of independent publishing – if no one is writing about your favourite bands, artists, films, TV programmes or books, then, hey, go and write about them yourself. [Computer Arts Capzine: 3: July 2007 Underground Design Special Edition]

theFanPalProject is…

In varying degrees:
• networking exercise for Johannesburg grassroots, mostly hip-hop inspired and social activist collectives
• independent publishing catalyst
• platform for emerging writers, designers, photographers, activists, producers, movements etc etc
• intercontinental networking opportunity for Johannesburg and Detroit youth movements
• add…

The idea

1.Each movement will design a cover page of an ideal fanzine that:
• has the name of the zine [can be the name of the movement]
• has a slogan[optional]
• has subtitles [at least one reference to Jozi and one reference/address to Detroit]
• has a flexible number of BLANK pages
• has a multimedia CD [music, mixtape, video, film, magazine, photographs etc etc]

2.Collectively, and parallel the zine production the movements will design and add content to this, a shared blog that:
• documents the process of the Fan Pal Project
• outlines the history and focus of each movement
• has full contacts of the movement including postal address

3.Movements mail fanzines to other movements. Other grassroots movements will select one or more zines and then:
• Respond by reflecting,
• Contribute two pages into the selected zine[s]
• Create own zine with cover and blank pages
• Return the zines to Jozi by post at their own, convenient time
• Jozi movements respond by adding two pages, mail back…

Each movement in both cities respond to zine by engaging in a dialogical back and forth contribution until the entire zine is filled up [Big ups Michelle!]

4.The culmination of the project will be an exhibition of the original zines at decided space in Jozi. This exhibit will also serve as a resource map suggesting and highlighting local and international possible networks, and project based collaborations

keleketla!library, Drill Hall
22-24 August 2008

participants [thus far]

1. To the Love Movement
2. Likwid Tongue
3. innacitycommunity
4. Imbawula Trust

6. Craig + Sandile
8. Infinite ISO

9. Impande Core

10. Eternal Beat

11. words unlimited [ladysmith]

Material and equipment needed [in bracketed items indicate what we have, movements/individuals are encouraged to bring along to whatever possible equipment to maximise capacity]

• Paper [various]
• Scanner
• Computer/s
• Internet
• B & W Laser printer
• Digital projector
• Digital camera
• Markers/pens/pencils/mark makers etc
• Staplers, sticky tapes, glue etc
• Typewriter
• NT cutters, cutting mat
• Domestic sewing machine
• Other


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