Monday, August 31, 2009

Q&A with And/Or Magazine's Jeni Kozicky

By Juleana Enright

Flying underground since its conception in May, the free collaborative arts and culture magazine, And/Or, is a printed version of a topics forum with submissions from local writers, poets, illustrators, photographers and mixed media talents galore. For each issue, And/Or chooses a topic and then it's up to you to provide the dialogue. The 500 issues printed every two months are paid for through rockin' benefit concerts featuring musicians in a harmonious union of talented locals supporting their fellow artists. We recently had a chat with And/Or founder Jeni Kozicky about the cool new mini-mag...

Who are the members behind And/Or Magazine and how did you meet?

Since And/Or started off as a personal project for me I've sort of been the one holding all the pieces together since the beginning, but not without the help of a lot of good friends who share my passion and motivation to keep the magazine alive. I host binding parties for each issue where I'll buy some cheap, boxed wine and we'll all hang out and bind magazines. It's really been a lot of fun to be a part of.

What do you think about the jump from print to blogs? Do you think journals and magazines in printed form will ever become obsolete?

No, I don't think that print will ever become completely obsolete. Yeah sure, blogs are much easier and less expensive, but when we make that jump from print to digital there is something lost in the process. A blog can never replace the real, tangible quality that a printed piece holds. I feel like we spend enough time staring a screen in our day to day lives, it's nice to see something that's more than just pixels.

So, And/Or Magazine was your MCAD senior thesis project, what was the inspiration behind the project and why do you think it has gained popularity?

When I first started thinking of ideas for this project I knew right away that I wanted to make something that could be for the community rather than just for myself, and I wanted to make something that could live beyond the walls of MCAD. I pulled inspiration from a lot of different places, but mostly I just wanted to create something out of nothing and see if I could make it grow. A lot of people I've talked to are excited to see something like this as an element of their community.

You guys often refer to sustainability regarding And/Or, what is your definition of a “sustainable magazine” and what makes this concept so important in creation and distribution?

And/Or is self-sustainable in the sense that it is completely community supported. The content is made up of submissions from local artists and writers, and then the printing costs are paid for by benefit shows featuring local musicians. This is what sets it apart from so many other printed publications that require advertising in order to sustain themselves. The independent production and distribution of this magazine is just as important as the content itself. The fact that enough people in this community care about keeping this magazine alive so that it can survive without outside financial support is so beautiful to me. I hope we can keep it going.

What other culture blogs/magazines do you guys follow and do you see those other journals as a motivation or competition?

I have to admit I'm a little behind in the blog world, but my rounds when I do make them usually consist of Wooster Collective, 12oz Prophet and Post Secret. And I can't say I really follow any publications too closely either but Adbusters makes for a good read when I can get my hands on it. In general I don't look at other publications as being competition, I just love to see that people are out there making things happen.

So the 500 bi-monthly print copies of And/Or are entirely paid for by benefit shows featuring local musicians. Do you find the Twin Cities to be a supportive community for local arts and new ventures in creativity?

I've found the Twin Cities community to be extremely supportive of creative ventures. It seems like every other person I meet is an artist, musician, or creative of some sort. It's really beautiful to see people come together to support a common cause.

Speaking of local musicians, who are a few of your favorites?

Oh, now that's a tough one. Since I'm a musician myself and so many of my friends are musicians it would be easy for me to just give shout outs to all my friends right here, but that's not really fair. I'd have to say that a few local musicians who have caught my ear lately would probably be Dosh, The Histronic and Heatbox.

What are some topics you've featured in past issues and how do you choose a theme?

The theme for the first issue was "The Digital Era Issue" and the second issue was "Income and/or Outcome: The Money Issue". Issue #3, which was released this past Friday, is called "Lost and/or Found: The Identity Issue". I try to choose topics that are somewhat broad, and that are easy for people to relate to. Topics that everyone has something to say about.

Roughly how many submissions do you get per topic and what is the criteria you go by for choosing which ones get published?

The number of submissions I get for each topic has been growing consistently with each issue. For Issue #3 I received submissions from 35 people. Once we get all the submission in I usually get together with a few other people and we jury the submissions based on their quality and their relevance to the concept.

How does one submit to your zine?

If you're interested in submitting to And/Or you can check out our website at to find out the concept for the next issue and to get all the information you'll need to make a submission.

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