Zines have long been used as a platform for marginalised voices, not only by fan communities and artists, but also by activists and citizens wanting to express their concerns. Zines are ‘portable ideas’, usually appearing as DIY booklets featuring affordable material and cost-effective printing. They are often not-for-profit, or free to distribute and circulate. Yet their unpolished nature doesn’t diminish their role as a vehicle for sharing ideas and amplifying calls for action.
In Hong Kong, zines represent a popular creative medium and is a traditional practice in the fight against the suppression of authorities or freedom of speech. In times of social unrest, it can be a powerful tool to raise concerns and challenge the authorities.
Especially in the 2019 pro-democracy movement, DIY publishing and prints have become methods for spreading messages efficiently. First-hand materials like zines, posters, flyers can be seen everywhere from online to offline. Compared to traditional media channels, they are responsive, affordable and effective. The materials are often done by oneself or self-organised small groups, while lots of the files are open source and free to circulate. Everyone can contribute, whether by providing content, editing, translating and designing, or simply taking the initiative to print and distribute in one’s community. The power to ‘voice out’ is then placed in the hands of anyone who wants to support the cause.
The talk will share tactics and insights of printed matters from Hong Kong protests.