Remember how, for a little while there, everybody was into that thing where they tried to encapsulate their lives or society or the world or something into just six words? There was even a novelty book sold at an Urban Outfitters near you that traded off this conceit. (Ed. note: At the time of this trend my father summed up my life for me in 6 words—"Walks through shit, smells like roses"—and I know I will never top that) Well, that trend peaked, but I thought of it again when i saw a new zine put together by James Aviaz—Everything is Fucked, Everything is OK—whose title pretty much perfectly sums up the state of things right now, all in 6 words.
Perhaps what impressed me the most about this zine is that it not only speaks to the overall dissonance that exists in this world—that constant internal mental clanging as we try to sort through all the incongruities that we see around us—but also to the hopefulness that we all need to retain somewhere inside, lest we fall into utter despair. And the zine tackles all of this through a blend of witty essays, trenchant commentary, and insanely awesome art. Not only that, but I was reminded that the zine format is refreshingly digestible in a world that is full of Tumblrs and twitter feeds that can be constantly refreshed and are, as Aviaz mentioned to me, tediously infinite in length. So, I'm a fan. Anyway, I spoke with Aviaz about the zine and, specifically, about the special edition that he's put together on the topic of Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath.
Here's what he had to say:
What is your background? What else are you involved in besides the world of zines?
For the last decade, I’ve been writing/editing for print and web in Melbourne, London, and Sydney. Most recently, I’ve been plying my trade in online content/marketing for a New York-based music publishing start-up. In my spare time, I can be found pontificating about modern life, buzz-bands, and English Premier League.
What about a zine's format appeals to you?
Above anything else, I love the size (or lack thereof). Being limited by physical space — as opposed to writing for infinite-scrolling Tumblrs — forces you to focus intently on concept and content. There’s also an undeniable magic inherent to the physical artifact, which will never be replicated by digital.
Can you tell me a little bit about the title of your zine?
The title of Everything is Fucked, Everything is OK most succinctly sums up my own feelings about modern life. For good or ill, I tend to see the world in black and white. My experience volunteering on Staten Island was no different. The destruction and deadly ramifications of Sandy were unequivocally ‘fucked’; whereas the stoic heroism of those families affected was very much ‘OK’.
What inspired you to put together a zine about Sandy?
On the Friday after Sandy, my dear and civically-minded friend Matt Kochman extended an invitation to volunteer on Staten Island with SandyBaggers. Within moments of reviewing my photos from the day, I felt compelled to document my experience—and those of the families alongside whom we toiled—with a special issue of Everything is Fucked, Everything is OK. All profits from this issue are being donated to charities involved with the rebuild on Staten.
How have you been affected by the storm?
After seeing the impact on Staten, it’s hard to talk about being ‘affected’ by Sandy without guilt and/or tongue-in-cheek. With the latter in mind, I suspect all Brooklynites are about to feel an effect on their rent prices. In the days following Sandy, I had more visitors to my Williamsburg apartment from lower Manhattanites—who normally eschew visiting Brooklyn for all kinds of facepalm-inducing reasons—than in the 12 months prior. The bad news? They all really loved it.
What's on the horizon for you and Everything is Fucked, Everything is OK?
I’m really looking forward to the official Issue Two, which will be out in early 2013. Like the debut issue, it will feature a slew of amazing contributors from around-the-globe opining about modern life’s minutiae. My design-partner-in-crime Andrew Guirguis (a.k.a. Andrawis George) has just arrived in New York from Sydney, so we’re equally excited about growing Everything is Fucked, Everything is OK, and also working with like-minded collaborators on new titles.
Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen