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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Archizines/Public Offer

More of a pop-up library than an exhibition, the RMIT Design Hub is hosting a dual show: an internationally touring collection of architecture-focused zines and a similarly expansive catalogue of design magazines. If there's any exhibition that could convince a digital devotee how satisfying a lovingly created piece of printed text can be, this is it.
By Zac Millner-Cretney
February 13, 2013
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By Zac Millner-Cretney
February 13, 2013
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More of a pop-up library than an exhibition, the RMIT Design Hub is hosting a dual show of Archizines, an internationally touring collection of architecture-focused zines, and Public Offer, a similarly expansive catalogue of design magazines. The exhibit provides an alternative voice to mainstream discourse about architecture and design by showcasing a wide range of independently published material — each zine a little cultural freeze-frame, capturing a moment in the development of how we build and design our spaces.

Printed media is tangible — you can pick it up, play with it, and flip through at your own pace — a beautiful element that was not overlooked in the curatorial decision making process behind Archizines/Public Offer. All zines are not just displayed but laid out to hold and engage with, making the whole experience exponentially more engaging and fun, particularly as many of the zines experiment with paper type, embossed fonts, and construction. True to its name, the Design Hub ensures an incredibly stylish exhibition by encouraging a different mode of view: two long tables are laid end-to-end with leaflets and magazines, with chairs dotted about the space, meaning that either a brief perusal or an in-depth reading can be comfortably accommodated.

Not simply a series of hand-stapled and typewritten zines, the publications laid out range from your basic, old-school university photocopier stuff to hardback glossies. Archizine's Evil People in Modernist Homes in Popular Films does what it says on the tin, taking a lighthearted approach to the exploration of pop culture's representation of architecture. Meanwhile, They Shoot Homos Don't They is a gay look book with a serious side, confronting LGBT issues via fashion and design. Repeated discussion topics include the invasion of the virtual/digital into the physical world, unsurprising considering both architecture and design are increasingly digital mediums, being discussed here through a medium that is itself being supplanted by blogs and online news sites. A diverse and enormous amount of content to trawl through justifies repeated visits for thorough design and architecture enthusiasts.

A series of projected video-blogs from various publishers, architects and designers round out the show, each video discussing a specific question, the most pertinent seeming to be, "what is the place of print media in the digital age?" If there's any exhibition that could convince a digital devotee how satisfying a lovingly created piece of printed text can be, Public Offer/Archizines is it.

Image via Archizines at the Architectural Association, London, 2011. Photography courtesy of Sue Barr & the AA School.

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