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The Grrrl Zine Network

An interview with Elke

by Marisa from Kitty Magik

December 2001


This is an interview Marisa from the awesome zine Kitty Magik did with me in December 2001. Some things have changed since then... but here it is!

1. How long have you been running the Grrrl Zine Network for now?
I have been working on the web site since last winter (2000). I have never done a web site before and had to learn it from scratch. And I loved it! I really enjoyed putting together all the information I had gathered in the years before and to develop a nice layout. It was fun! Since I got the site online I am updating it with the information I get from grrrls emailing me. I am very happy and excited that the site gets such a welcoming and encouraging response!

2. What made you decide to start this project?
I had all this bookmarks on grrrl zines on my computer and constantly got lost in them. I was looking for an archive where I could just go and browse in a range of grrrl zines but couldn’t find one (if you know one let me know!). There are many sites where grrrl zines are listed but I haven’t found yet a central site. My dream was to share all the grrrl, lady and trans folk zines I found sofar with others. So I decided to build a web site. I wanted to create and build up a network of grrrl zines where one could find easily zines and resources dealing with (young) women’s and feminist issues. In particular, I am very interested in grrrl zines from different countries and languages. It is very empowering to discover that women not only in America but also in Brazil, Poland and New Zealand put zines together and share their thoughts and experiences. You really see that you are not alone with your ideas and thoughts. I come from a small village with 800 people in the mountains of Austria and always wished to have had contact with like-minded people. Now, with the Internet, grrrls on remote places are also able to get information and to find friends on the other side of the world. And that’s great! Another aspect of building this site was to learn web site design. I was trained as an (old-fashioned sculpture) art teacher but when I came to the States I wanted to enhance my work skills. So the web site gives me a chance to experiment and learn things.

3. What do you hope to accomplish by establishing this Grrrl ZineNetwork?
My main aim is to collect, provide, exchange and share information on grrrl, lady and trans folk zines, feminist resources, related resources and projects. The site should not only work as an archive but also as a space of communication, networking and to have fun!

4. Do you just promote grrrl oriented zines on your site or do you also promote zines that may not be female oriented but are made by women?
The focus lies definitely on grrrl, lady and trans folk zines who have feminist/grrrl empowering viewpoints and are dealing with (young) women’s issues. It’s fine for me when there are also guys collaborating. I think it’s not about creating an exclusive community, but about creating a growing network between like-minded people and about providing information to those who need it.

5. How old are you, what is your full name, where are you originally from and where do you reside now? What made you move to America?
I am 26 years old and my name is Elke Zobl. I grew up at the end of the world in the Austrian alps (at a place called “Krimml” with 799 others).

Right now I live in San Diego, California, with my love Robert who is also Austrian and into cancer research. We decided to move away from Austria because we wanted to get to know another place on the globe and new people. Right now San Diego is great for us but I don’t think we’ll stay here forever…Our dream is to live and work in different parts of the world, so that’s just the start!

6. Do you create a zine? Have you ever in the past? Are there other projects you are working on at the present moment, aside from this one?
Right now I don’t create a zine myself, although I see my web site as a kind of “zine”, like a review or resource zine. I was co-editor of a zine on women artists, musicians, writers and on projects organized by women in Austria (called “Female Sequences”) in 1998/99. It’s still published but I quitted after the first issue. I just participated at the exhibition “First Story – Women Building New Narratives for the 21st Century” which took place in Porto, Portugal. For this show, I collected international and Portuguese/Brazilian grrrl zines. My friend Christiane (who made a compilation of women in electronic music) and me did also a workshop on zine-making and on how to do a radioshow. Additionally, I am conducting interviews with grrrl zine editors for my research on grrrl zines and for the web site.

7. What was your first exposure to zines? How did you find out about them? What have they come to mean to you? Do you consider them an important part of a movement of sorts?
I am into zines since 1997. At that time I was working on the zine “Female Sequences” and got interested in German-speaking feminist art and comic zines. I collected them and decided to write my master's thesis on feminist art and comic zines in Austria and Germany. Since then, I got more and more interested in zines, especially in those written by women with a feminist viewpoint. Whenever I get a zine in my mailbox I get very excited and curious. Zines are a forum where I can read about what really interest’s me (like independent, feminist projects). I definitely think they are an essential part of a movement where young women use zines as a creative form of resistance to dominant culture. I think doing zines is very important for girls (also people in general) because doing them empowers you. And we really need self-conscious, kick-ass women in this society!!

8. What have been some of your most favorite zines?
A great zine I recently discovered is Bendita from Brazil. The editors of Bendita collect stories of women who experienced sexual violence. It’s a very powerful zine. Some of the more known zines I love are Venus, Bitch, Bamboo Girl or the Riot Grrrl Europe Zine.

9. What do you do besides this project? (got to school, etc.???)
Hmmm, good question… surfing??? but yes, next to organizing exhibits, editing an anthology on the international grrrl zine network, I am doing research. With the web site I try to find women who do zines and then to interview them (as part of the web site and of my research). I think it’s important to listen to young women's voices and to consider what we have to say about editing a zine, being a feminist, living in today’s society. So if you read this, edit a zine and want to share some thoughts with me, please email me!

10. What does the future hold for the Grrrl Zine Network?


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