Fans of Pin-Up, the gold-covered New York-based publication that mixes architecture and bondage at will, will be pleased to note that it comes out of a long line of magazines, available via the mail but not necessarily naughty. Mimi Zeiger is a self-described “old zinester,” who printed the first issue of her zine about architecture, loudpaper, as a graduate student at the Southern California Institute of Architecture. It was her graduate thesis, and she printed it on paper from de-commissioned maps and put a picture of Elvis on top. More recently, Zeiger added an online component, her blog; now she is re-visiting zine history with A Few Zines, an exhibition that opens tonight at Columbia’s Studio X.
Upon its publication in 1996, loud paper joined Lackluster, Infiltration, Dodge City Journal, and Monorail as alternatives to trade and academic journals by mixing architecture and pop culture and cultivating a social aspect. To hear Zeiger tell it, publishing architecture zines was part of a vital network of sub-cultures. Zeiger’s was her interest in the Indie music scene: “You couldn’t miss it,” she says, “I was more of arty kid than a punk rock kid. You found your way through sub-cultures.” She compares the types of connections to a Facebook network today, as a community where acquaintances for whom it was relatively easy to reach out. It also brought advertisers together with writers; “Ads were part of the editorial” says Zeiger, describing ads for Dischord Records laid out alongside MIT Press. People have stayed involved, opening magazines of significant distribution like Dwell and American Craft.