Interview — Silvia Bianchi & Ricardo Juárez

In the night of April 27th 2011 the “Libros Mutantes” invades Madrid (Spain). La Noche de los Libros Mutantes was an event dedicateted to exhibit selected artzine from all over the world in several exhibitions spread in the whole city. Silvia Bianchi and Ricardo Juárez the actors behind New-Papers and Barriobajero, organized this event and i asked them to answer a few questions…

What was your reason to organize a zine event?

Nowadays there are lots of independent publishing projects in Spain and abroad, but, as an underground movement, sometimes it lacks  public diffusion beyond the independent and artistic circles. We wanted to make zines accessible to the general public, and so we created La Noche de los Libros Mutantes.

Why did you name the event »La Noche de los Libros Mutantes«?

The birth of the first fanzines was strongly connected to subcultures such as Sci-fi and terror, so we thought that it would be ok to recover a part of that independent spirit. Besides, as an alternative to the official celebrations of the World Book Day, we think that a “mutant” book is a concept that reflects our aims of celebrating independent and underground culture.
»La Noche de los Libros Mutantes« is placed in different locations dispersed throughout the city.

Is it some kind of a zine tour? How did you choose the locations?

Yes, we would like the public to walk throughout the city discovering interesting places. An open event like La Noche de los Libros gives people a more open insight of cultural institutions and spaces, and we like this idea of Zine Tour. We have chosen relevant spaces in the cultural cartography of Madrid: art galleries, cultural associations, shops, cafés… We will turn them into ephemeral bookshops.

The way you diplay the zines, is it important for you?

Of course it is. When we planned the exhibition that will take place at la Casa Encendida, we decided that we wanted to showcase different zines from all around the world, but we also wanted to make people read them and touch them, because zines have a very important material side that has become crucial in these times of digital hegemony.

What are the most important aspects for you when you’re organizing
La Noche de los Libros Mutantes?

One of the most important aspects is designing activities that appeal to the general public and, at the same time, respect the spirit and philosophy of underground and self-publishing projects. We have to find that balance, and that’s one of our main objectives right now.

How does the spanish zines scene, especially the artzines scene,
looks like?

Although it is not as developed as it is in countries like Switzerland or Germany, the Spanish artzines scene has grown immensely in the last few years. Every month we find amazing new projects, and that’s something that has encouraged us to organize this event.

Is it an important medium for spanish artist to express themselves?

In the last years, lots of artists have recovered “vintage” techniques such as xerography and collage, and paper has become really important in emerging contemporary art…

What do you do when you don’t organize a zine event?

Actually we’re a diversified group of professionals, half curators half publishers. We have in common the intest in underground culture and publishing. A part of our staff is composed by New-Papers collective, a group of graphic creators involved in books, magazines and visual arts. Up to this moment Libros Mutantes has been a specific project limited to an annual event, right now we are working to transform it into a permanent platform. For instance our website is fully operative and we’re still receiving and including new publications in the database.

More pictures of the event you’ll find here.

Fotos by Arturo Laso