Tag Archives: brilliance

Sometimes I’m Shit and Thick

Sometimes I’m Shit and Thick. And Sometimes I’m Just Shit.

No contact details.
I got my copy from Sticky for the super value of $1.

You had me at ‘hello’: I scanned the following paragraph and reached for my wallet knowing I had to buy this zine: “Artists would build brick walls in the middle of the studio, or create puddles of petrol, or make huge metal dandelions, or order funeral wreaths that said ‘FANNY’. I once watched someone have a bath during their crit and it lasted an hour…’ = YES. Shut up and take my money.

Loved it: Reading this zine is the equivalent of sitting in a circle cross-legged, and listening enthralled to a storyteller as they create this world around you with their words and you can’t wait to hear what happens next. That’s how perfectly this zine is written. And yes, it’s full of mad shit (tick) but it’s also earnest and genuine and contains profound wisdom, bet you weren’t expecting that. The zine is actually drilling down to the ultimate legacy of the zinemaker’s time at art school; critical thinking. But specifically how to really evaluate any kind of endeavour; how to think about ‘success’ and ‘failure’ and analysing one’s motivations. This zine actually hits on universal truths as it narrates entertaining accounts of ‘crit’ sessions where students present their work to their class group and listen to their fellow students’ assessment and feedback – and contribute their own personal responses to their classmate’s work.

Rogue Scholar: The zinemaker gets into crits so much? they start sitting in on crits going on in other departments. That’s right, introducing the zinemaker as that mystery student who never has anything to personally present but plenty of opinions to share across all kinds of artistic disciplines. And now you’re part of it as the reader, becoming equally as obsessed with the sculpture department.

Master storyteller: Total anticipation builds with every page. Honest to God, you will seriously read this all in one go, desperate to know what becomes of great personalities and greater ambitions. It also contains the stuff of Art School Legend, retold here for the first time. Everything is so perfectly unfurled, with precision and gusto. I was wetting my pants, I was so into it. You will too. Hashtag: Instant classic.

Aesthetic: Simple sans serif accompanied by occasional photographic evidence, tinted colour paper cover in self depricating green hue.

Crime against humanity: No contact details.



OCD and the GED

bioproject (at) gmail.com
I got my copy through the zinemaker cause I’m special, pester them for a trade or purchase!

A personal account of the zinemaker’s triumph in successfully managing their O.C.D. in a professional capacity as well as a story of his own student’s ability to rise against their underprivileged backgrounds and societal expectations that they are ‘non achievers’. NB: the GED is a high school equivalent certificate in America and Canada.

Don’t be put off by: The initial footnotes. Because the zine assumes an academic tone to begin with.

How this is not academic:  Well, for starters, the zinemaker wants to demonstrate how educational and therapeutic techniques which they have experienced as both patient and teacher-in-training can (and need to be) applied to the field of psychiatry. So yeah, a little ambitious.

There are several aspects that annoy me when grasping with such vast subject matter: Some key concepts go undefined (there is a lot of talk about ‘risking love’, but no explanation of what that means). And some of the arguments assumed in the zine are a little flawed, or dependent on generalisations.

Case in point: The zinemaker is pissed with how everyone takes Monk (the tv detective) to be a stereotypical O.C.D. personality – one fictional detective does not represent a highly complex and variable disorder – but then the zinemaker goes and cites a single individual (Ellyn R Saks) as her proving her psychiatric professionals wrong – as if all schitzophrenics suffer her experiences and are capable of overcoming their condition and can get genius grants and become law professors etc. So in a diadactic sense, Ellyn ends up as a flat-packed ‘type’ to prove a point as much as Monk.

Whats really being argued here is that: We are all unique individuals, capable of exceeding expectations placed on us  by ourselves, generic figures of authority, and society at large. The sentiment is a powerful one. It’s the stuff of universal myths and legends and the key to understanding amazing people throughout history. It is also what makes this zine cool, because this simple truth is amply demonstrated through the zinemaker’s experiences personally, as well as with his students. This alone is more powerful than bullet points and Foucault references.

What makes this zine worthwhile: If you haven’t guessed, it was not the academic tone for me. It is the zinemaker’s personal writing, the tangible passion that comes through the pages and the stories he relays about life in the classroom – the personal challenges the environment presents, as much as the learning challenges for his students.

His experiences span teacher training, working with middle school students and working with adults studying to get their high school qualification equivilent after an interrupted education. Not only are the teaching experiences varied, but the zinemaker also talks about being a young white teacher amongst a black adult student population and how he (and his students) reconcile this culturally.

Goddamn, this zine is engaging on so many levels – the perspective of someone with O.C.D, the insights of teaching, those of learning; the broader power dynamics of teachers and students race relations, and developing one’s teaching style (…and identity). Even without being interested in education (or reforming psychiatry) these remain amazing and genuinely inspiring stories that make you want to hug the guy.

Further reading: The zinemaker mentions the ideas of Douglas Kutach, Paulo Freire, Myles Horton, bell hooks, Carter G. Woodson and Jack Mezirow.

And if you’re interested in this zine, also check out: OCD Thows Bows, and Mo Bows – both zines describing personal experiences with OCD.