Festival of the Photocopier

Last weekend I went to an event in the Festival of the Photocopier. Dozens of stalls lined the long underpass that runs beneath Flinders Street. The arty end of the underpass is called Platform and it’s a great exhibition space. Set into the walls are glass booths that used to house advertising but now are used to display the work of very funky Melbourne artists.

You may have lived in Melbourne for years without discovering Platform. You can get into the underpass/subway from Degraves Street, Flinders Street or even from Flinders Street Station (if you’re coming into the city by train). At the moment, the glass booths are filled with the work of zine artists.

Saturday was the official opening of the festival and dozens of different zines and other paraphenalia was for sale. I bought a badge that read “I LOVE BOOKS’ and a stack of zines, including ‘Lumpen Proletariat No. 2’ (pictured above).

I know, I know, you’re thinking ‘but these aren’t real books!’ But in many ways, zines are the new frontier in creative story-telling. I love them. ‘Lumpen Proletariat’ is by a young artist called Pat Grant and it’s a collection of his cartoons and graffiti art. ‘One Sock – the love-sick devil’ is by a stylish, clever young woman called Rosalux. Neither of these zines are for junior readers but most teenagers would appreciate their dark humour.

If you missed the festival opening, there are other events during the course of this month that you can find about on the Sticky Institute website. If you haven’t heard of the Sticky Institute before, now is a good time to find out about what they are up to. They are definitely a force for good in the lives of young people in Melbourne. If you miss the Festival of the Photocopier, a trip to their shopfront (also in the Flinders Street/Degraves underpass) is a journey worth making.

Kirsty is an Australian author of books for children and young adults.

“Books are windows into other ways of being.”

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