The writing below is our plans and outcome of the distribution of my groups zine.
The name of our group is either Terra 1 or Cotta 2, and our territory location is Terra Cotta Coffee House. Everyone in my group contributed to the zine, which includes myself, Sofiya, Kaylee, Beth, Cheyanne and Ashlin
Our zine truly embodies the experience of being in Terra Cotta. It’s a mood board, Terra Cotta through time, and overall reflection of the space.
We believe that the people in Terra Cotta are the people who would appreciate this zine the most. The workers, the students who frequent it for coffee or to like to sit on the comfy couches to study; they are the people who would appreciate it because they’re in the space so much.
Who ever reads this magazine is are already in the location (Terra Cotta), and since most of our zine is a ‘mood board’, we know whoever in Terra Cotta picks it up will be feeling what we are trying to convey, which is stories, moods, and snippets from our communal time in the space. Furthermore, reading an art magazine in a place like Terra cotta, when thinking about the artsy college next door, makes sense. The zine is overall about passing time, so for someone to find it and read it while they’re drinking their coffee, would be special in the space.
The requirements we set for our distribution was that it needs to look like some of the things sitting around Terra Cotta for people to read. It shouldn’t be a stack, it should be one stray magazine on a table somewhere that someone could pick up. It needs to seem not out of the ordinary, like it blends in, but not enough that nobody will notice them around. Our system of distribution entails putting them on tables, leaving near books, overall place in quaint places around the cafe.
The number of copies of our zine was around 8. We chose this amount because we didn’t want it to look like we were trying to sell a magazine; we wanted to give the impression that ‘maybe someone left it there’, to seem normal, but still special. We didn’t want to push our zine on people. Our audience are the people who frequent Terra Cotta and people who will just happen to find it if they have interest.
Distributing this zine is a visual performance because we are presenting it in a specific way, as normal and left in the cafe, which is important to the experience of reading it. Our performative aspect of this piece is almost actively not performing. We will sit a couple copies down and hope it’s enticing enough to pick up by someone. We are letting fate decide what happens to the zine.
We want our audience to have a mindful experience when reading the zine. That someone sees a well rounded view of how they feel when they’re in Terra Cotta, drinking coffee, studying, talking, eating, working and anything else that people do there. The feeling that one is recognized and experientially mirrored by the content in the zine is what we hope people will feel when the read it.
To determine and measure the success of the plans written above, we plan on going back to Terra Cotta a couple days after distribution to inspect the zines. We planned to find them, and if we do, examine them to see if they’re moved or worn out slightly, or if we need to put more out.
A few days later, after Zine distribution…
I went back to the shop a couple days later, as planned, and saw they had been moved around, and that some were even missing, maybe taken with someone.
I believe that our plan worked, and was overall successful. The changes we anticipate aren’t ones we can really directly measure, unless we spend exuberant amounts of time in the shop watching the zines to see if they get noticed; but the zines still continue to live in the space, and I like to think will be noticed by individuals who spot it.
I did get some direct proof of our zines success though. We discussed personally giving some to the staff, but we didn’t get around to it. Coincidentally, on a night coffee run, I happened to walk in right when a staff member was reading our zine behind the counter. A fellow foundations student who works there, Mia, said that the staff love it, and the women reading it said it was really good.