28.1 | Sara Rosa Espi

Vulnerability Disclosures: Zine Writing in the Age of New Media


In what is known as the digital age, the possibilities for self-publishing personal narratives are wider than ever before. At every turn there is an invitation to “share” what we are thinking in status updates, tweets, posts, and re-posts. In the giddy pace of this technological innovation, it may seem as if print-based modes of sharing, such as zine writing, are outdated, or even redundant. However, I will argue here that zines—as print publications—gain new significance in what N. Katherine Hayles, in Writing Machines, has termed our “contemporary media ecology.” Zine writers experiment with diverse visual, tactile approaches to expressing personal narrative through the paper body of the zine. Furthermore, personal zine writing offers a way for writers to create vulnerable disclosures with a limited circulation. In the context of increasing alarm about surveillance and security breaches online, this aspect of zine materiality becomes very significant.