ISSUE 35 FALL/WINTER 2019/20 OUT NOW         ISSUE 35 FALL/WINTER 2019/20 OUT NOW    

innen zines: Labor of Love

Words by
Katja Horvat

Founded by graphic designer Aaron Fabian in 2006 in Zürich, innen zines is an independent publisher promoting Swiss and international contemporary artists, offering unconventional perspectives on art and contemporary trends.

innen is an independent publishing house based in Zürich, Switzerland. Founded by Aaron Fabian in 2006, innen advances the dialogue by highlighting work that reflects a particular taste, preserves the vitality of our culture, and offers a lasting impact on society. Their focus lies in contemporary art and bridging the gap between international artists who, through individualized work and self-publishing, embody ideas true to the origin of their practice.
Over the years, innen has published more than 150 zines from creatives such as Raymond Pettibon, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Chloe Sevigny, Ari Marcopoulos, Glenn O’Brien, Maia Ruth Lee, Helmut Lang, Dash Snow, Cali Thornhill DeWitt and Peter Sutherland,. The latter called innen’s work a labor of love, and sees it as part zine-making and part curation, adding, “Some people they are choosing are not really artists; they kind of fall outside of the traditional gallery-art spectrum—Art with a capital A, so to speak—which I find really cool, as that goes more with the tradition of zines, does not follow the mainstream trends, and highlightens the shared ethos of a certain community.”
In 2010, innen also launched Zug Magazine, a biannual collection of selected contemporary artworks and writings. Each issue follows a certain theme and portrays culturally subjective depictions. In the past, Zug has been guest-edited by Rita Ackermann, has addressed topics such as obsession, collecting, speed and firmamentation, and has published excerpted writings by Slavoj Žižek and József Mélyi, among others.
A close friend, and collaborator of innen is Nieves, another independent publishing house based in Zürich, Switzerland, founded in 2001. Both have also shown their work together at Swiss Institute, New York, and Kunsthalle Zürich. In addition to joint showcases like these, innen is a constant presence within the book fair community, regularly showing at Printed Matter’s LA and NYC Art Book Fairs, Art Book Fair Basel and the Tokyo Art Book Fair; its titles were also included in MoMA’s 2012 “Millennium Magazines” exhibition.
Over the years, innen’s contribution has elevated and highlighted the importance of self-publishing in a media industry where technology is rapidly reshaping and re-envisioning all (known) practices. “The participatory nature of alternative media democratizes and progresses the consumption and production of cultural content,” says Nick Couldry, Professor of Media, Communications and Social Theory at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). “Alternative media challenges the corporate realities and agendas, ones that the mainstream media portrays, by allowing the broader public to create their own versions of reality.” With their self-publishing practice, innes provides a framework through which content lives outside an electronic archive environment, thereby increasing the efficiency of our current (digital) sources.
Overall, innen can be seen as a significant uplift from the media as we know it—a media which often imposes restrictions on the right to freedom of artistic expression due to the myriad changes. They are actively sustaining the heart of artistic practice and highlighting the importance of culture—which, in words of Slavoj Žižek, is “less and less a specific sphere exempted from the market, and more and more not just one of the spheres of the market, but its central component (from the software amusement industry to other media productions).”

Image courtesy of innen zines.

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