contemporary art, installation art, relational aesthetics

Louis Brown, MAKERZINE (2012)

June 17, 2012

The Pure Good of Theory is one of the most oft quoted poem titles around. Wallace Stevens seems to have nailed it, but are there more spheres of pure good?

Visitors to Brighton University last week might think so. At a degree show, you could argue for the pure good of art education, which after all does entail plenty of theory.

But my eye was caught by the clear benefits of MAKERZINE by Louis Brown, a digital printing press on which you could churn out your own copy of the eponymous zine.

I’m sorry to report I picked up a pre-made copy, so cannot report on the experience of cueing up a new zine. But it was simple enough with the clearly chalked instructions.

Reclaimed scaffolding boards and hessian wrapped benches gave the workstation a sense of rough and ready utility. You could forget this was a piece of sculpture.

Louis Brown therefore succeeds in his aim to demystify the creative and fabricational process. This was a demonstration of the pure good of making.

The zine itself contains recipes, homebrew instructions, tips on recycling scaffolding boards to make furniture and interviews with T-shirt designers.

As manifestos go, it could not be more pragmatic, or more optimistic, or more realistic. Its spirit of ingenuity will serve us well when civilisation collapses, or may even avert that.

Artists are often thought of as impractical souls, dreamers, romantics, fools. But this piece is a great testimony to a more contemporary spirit of art, certainly a more purposeful one.

MAKERZINE could be found in the Brighton University Faculty of Arts Graduate Show 2012, in the Fine Art Sculpture BA(Hons) section.

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