Junkjet is the closest physical simulation yet of my browsing of the internet. It is as though someone took a snapshot of my newsreader on a given morning and turned it into a print journal — here are the excellent and pithy articles by Sam Jacob, some data visualisation projects, a project by Maynard this time the suburb regurgitating robot dogs, something written in German with pleasant diagrams, building typologies as D&D character sheets, and some project where google map markers are built at 1:1. Temporary tattoos of a cement mixer with wings are inserted into the front cover and folded into the back is a mock broadsheet, the ‘junkancial times’.
Junkjet — the “Fanzine for Electronics and Aesthetics” edited by Asli Serbest, Mona Mahall and Gerd be Bruyn at the University of Stuttgart — is an exuberant publication, full of intriguing projects and essays. But what sets it apart, for me, is this uncanny sensation that reading through it feels like wandering the internet.
Much like a jaunt across multiple websites, there is no visual cohesion linking one item to the next; projects appear without context or explanation, are absorbed by the retina, and moved on from. Yes, this may be a common trait of zines in general, but in this case, the Technicolor approach and subject matter seem intricately tied to global online chatter than the cut and paste street press.
Considered as my personal real world rss reader, Junkjet then stands in contrast to other efforts of collating material found online like prss release and Things our Friends Have Written on the Internet where online content from disparate sources is similarly repurposed as a cohesive document. These efforts have always been attractive with their exotic non-webstandard typefaces and layouts freed of the constraints of blogging engines and yet I have found them to be a sticky format. Prss release (which is also great) for example is something that I continue to read on a screen in a web browser rather than printing out and reading on a metro, the lack of hyperlinks occasionally reminding me that I am not operating this machinery as one should.
Curiously, Junkjet’s masterful reformation of the online experience offline is not so successful when put in reverse. Its website is determinedly ‘anti’; all animated gifs, scrolling text and flashing lights. I get it, it is subversive. But it is not pushing the medium as hard as its print counterpart. I am not sure what would be more suitable (a del.icio.us bookmark page? An rss aggregator? no website, just a paypal portal?) but this is a minor point as the actual journal itself is so refreshing.
Looking forward to issue 3!