The zine culture is growing not just locally, but regionally as well. The first time SPACEBAR ZINE got involved with the scene in Thailand, they made 100 copies of their own zine and that was the very first step that has led them to where they are at today. Now, they have their own space where everybody is free to check out zines and even make their own anytime they like, and not just access zines once or twice a year during an art festival.
Although the internet definitely has influenced the demand for physical books and zines, these tangible forms of text and art will still have a place in today's world. "The new generation is still interested in zines and books. They are passionate and it is a matter of adapting the publishing process," shares SPACEBAR. They believe that if the content is adjusted and are produced to become more compelling, the zines will still interest youths to collect them.
Not everything has to be about fast paced living. To have a physical zine is to be able to read and reread it, to have a part to play in its beauty, power and the aesthetics shared from creator to reader.
Visiting Singapore later this June as part of the Singapore Art Book Fair, SPACEBAR shares with us more about the zine culture in Thailand and how they stay relevant in the digital age.
Share with us about the zine culture in Thailand.
Currently, Zine in Thailand is becoming increasingly known by starting with the concept of ‘Hand-made book’ that have been for long until it becomes the Zine event, which was clearly seen and regarded as a pioneering group during the new era in the past few years, such as A Day ‘Make a Zine’ organised by A Day magazine, a monthly magazine of modern people which is famous in Thailand for a long time about positive change and creativity.
SPACEBAR ZINE itself was started from that event also, by starting to create Zines by the founder: Wimonporn Ratchataganok, and Wisaruth Wisidh. This is until the Bangkok Art Book Fair Initiated by Studio 150 in partnership with BANGKOK CITYCITY GALLERY for the first time in 2017 which makes us and Zine known extensively in a wider group of people. Presently, there are many Zine stores and independent bookstore stores in Thailand that start producing their own Zine also the Zine which are imported from abroad for sale.
There are many groups that start out to the international market, such as Art Book Fair in various countries; Tokyo, Singapore, Korea, and Taiwan. More people have greater understanding on how it is different from other books, both the production process, the way of thinking or communication.
Is there a particular zine that has really made an impression on you?
The Spacebar Team will almost like the way towards Illustration Zine and Photo Zine. We feel that it's easy to access that it crosses the barrier of the language and it comes out with the work of drawing which is an actual picture of the book owner. Actually, if it is an illustration, we usually like something that is simple, minimal, or those painted with watercoloured or wooden pencils. If it is Photo Zine, it will come to the street style mostly.
Definitely, our team is so into the story with a lot of movies and music. The content of Zine at our studio so is mostly about movies and music.
Spacebar is a space to make and sell zines. In the next five years, what do you envision for this brand?
With the main idea of the shop that is ‘Everyone has their own Zine’, we aim to be a studio in people’s perception that can be relied on as a Zine consultant and producer. Also we want people getting to know Zine more and more.
In Thailand, there are people who are good content creator and storyteller, many people who want to have their own book and feel that it is difficult and impossible, we want to become a studio that meets a desire of this group. Let’s try to make Zine? It's possible and not difficult. We want our studio to be the first place that this group of people think about including want to have many location for Zine as much as possible in Thailand and abroad, and hope it to be self-sufficient enough to have a budget and have the power to go out to the Art Book Fair overseas every year.
In an era of digitisation, do you think physical zines and books will still have a place in our future? Why?
It still has its way of course, seen from a new generation of people who are still interested in Zines and Books, namely our generation. It's not strange to interest because we are still passionate about getting caught the actual book according from the original behaviour and our familiarity but in the new generation who has new options from technology, reading behaviour, cost saving, or space saving like buying E-Books. It comes together and must admit that it makes many book manufacturers have to adapt or even the Zines that the reading group is more independent and willing to pay more also have to adjust as well to answer the questions they have given that:
‘When everything is available on the Internet, why do they still have to buy our publications?’
For any new aspiring zine makers, any advice to give them or zine makers they can look up to understand this scene better?
From the answer of the above question, firstly, we must understand that the adaptation here for publisher or Zine maker is not because the new generation will not buy anymore, they will buy less but still buy, that means we have to adjust the content and production patterns to attract them to pay more attention to buy more, such as adjusting to make Zines and books a more ‘compelling’ publication, not a fast-paced publication but must be a publication that people want to buy to read and be able to read it again.
It must be beautiful and powerful enough that makes people want to collect and proud to have it in the bookshelf at home and keep it for a long time.