We visited the duo - Brian Paul Lamotte and Andreas Laszlo Konrath - in their studio and discovered their secrets to zine-making. First, was their sewing table where they have bound books by hand. Nearby, we found their risograph – a type of ink based printer that can produce very rich and heavy black and white images. We then walked over to their laser printer that they used to publish 3D Etudes. And we rounded out by viewing the legendary vending machine that they used to dispense Zine Time at The Newsstand.
Tell us about the Lisa Rovner Poems book?
Brian: This is a diaristic, image based project that our friend Lisa had brought to us. We used a thread binding which was used to bring out a more personal quality. We were able to do it in small quantities and at a pace that was comfortable for us.
Andreas: Lisa told us that she wanted the book to be really loose in a way that you could pull the pages out and rearrange them if you wanted. This is a classic saddle based binding but the thread is literally wrapped around the spine and it never enters the paper at any point. We actually had to research what kind of knot we wanted to tie around the book to hold the paper together - something that would add this slightly loose feeling. In the end, we used a red thread that complimented the blue cover.
B: The nature of the binding lends itself to the title of the poems and style of the work.
So, it looks like it was made on a desert island or on a boat.
A&B: [laughs] It’s actually a sailors knot we ended up using!
Why did you use this risograph printer?
B: The main reasons we used the risograph is firstly for the quality it produces and that secondly that we have a lot of control over how the images were processed. Each page is done one page at a time and we were actually matching them to the originally images or as close as we could get.
A: The book is by the photographer Nick Haymes who does a lot of traditional black and white printing. What’s nice about his work in particular, and what relates to the 'riso' printer is that his work is very dark, dramatic and heavy. The photos are very rich, the blacks are very deep - if you look closely you can see the dots where the ink from the 'riso' hits the paper.
B: So for Nick’s images, we pushed the density really heavy so that we got these intense blacks. Even though the book is two years old, if you thumb through it you’ll get some black on your hands because it still hasn’t completely dried.
Why did you use this printer to make the zine, and why is this printer useful to you?
A: Our friend Santiago Stelley had shot these short film experiments using a 3D video camera and named it 3D Etudes. Together we created the zine which comes in a dust jacket with a set of 3D glasses to view it. Stelley was in Japan after the Fukushima earthquake and shot the aftermath which is the basis of one the stories. The other film is about the drought in Dadaab, Kenya. It’s quite an interesting irony because 3D is normally about fun things, so people go, “oh, it’s 3D!” but then when they actually look at the imagery and see some dead bodies and shocking stuff it’s a really jarring juxtaposition.
B: We had just bought the laser printer and were keen to experiment with it mainly. We didn’t know if printing the stills in 3D would work so we did some tests at first. Having the printer that we produce a lot of our books in our studio not only allows us to produce work quickly but also allows us to try things out and produce things we might not be able to make if we had to use traditional print shops.
What is the concept for the vending machine?
B: The idea for Zine Time came about when our friend Lele was at our studio one day and mentioned the initial idea of The Newsstand that was located at the Lorimer L stop. He asked if we wanted to do something specific for it – we had wanted to do a vending machine for a while – so we knew this would be the perfect place to put something like that. We bought a used sticker machine on eBay, put some new plexi-glass in it and made the machine into our own. Afterward, we brought it down to The Newsstand and it was there for a month and a half before all of the zines eventually sold out.
A: The zines are minis because they needed to come out of the vending machine that had originally dispensed stickers. We approached twenty different artists and photographers to contribute work that would be presented in this mini format. We liked the idea of collecting so we created this interactive machine where people could buy zines for a dollar - trying to collect a complete a set of zines was part of the fun and a challenge because the zines came out at random.
Will you be publishing with it again?
B: It’s very site specific. If a project came around that makes sense to do then we’ll think about it. But for the time being, it’s sitting dormant.
Flashback: check this video we did more than a year ago when Pau Wau was preparing their Zine Time Vending Machine for The Newsstand: