A zine (pronounced zeen) is a small circulation self–published work of original or appropriated texts and artwork produced via photocopier. Much of the work discussed in zines centers on minority experiences, gender identity, or other markers of personal expression.
The Annex space, an intimate lounge perfect for small gatherings, at North Philly’s Little Berlin gallery is home to the largest collection of zines, catalogs, and artist books in the greater Philadelphia area. They range in content, with titles from “The Lesbian Lexicon” to “Countering Intimate Partner Abuse in Activist Communities.” The space also hosts film screenings, monthly poetry readings, and smaller scale exhibitions than those held at Little Berlin’s main gallery.
“The gallery is one of the few cooperative owned galleries in Philly to focus on curating outside material instead of the works of its owners,” said Terrill Warrenburg (C '16), a current member of the artist collective.
She heavily encourages other Penn students to explore the artistic opportunities outside of the Penn bubble. Interested individuals, collectives, and curators can submit project proposals that explain their intended exhibition’s number of works, potential artists, and themes. This space is the only one in Little Berlin that can host the live readings of works or musical performances.
This potential as a live space is the main reason to visit the gallery. For the opening ceremony, there was a zine reading of Self Care, a series of new works by J. Pascoe. There were also readings in both English and Spanish from three poets, Candy Alexandra, Raquel Salas Rivera, and Virginia Price. The readings were preceded by a potluck dinner and drinks. Much of the work centered around the concept of self care after difficult moments and relationships in the artists’ personal lives. Alexandra talked about her experience rebuilding her emotional life after the Trump election. Rivera meditated on her background as an immigrant and struggles within her family. Price presented spoken word poetry on her own sexuality and her identity as a woman.
All of these pieces were also available in print form near the front of the Annex for either a small fee donated to charity or free for all. The space is helping to preserve the art of zine–making from the encroaching online blog world. Interested Penn students should make sure to check out the main exhibition, entitled “Natural Phenomena.”