Writing about work: 1. ‘Underground fairylands’

Emma Davidson_Underground Fairylands_2

‘Underground Fairylands’ is my homage to zines. To begin with it was a small, photocopied zine of found text and found images, which I made in 2013.

I discovered zines as a teenager growing up in suburban Sydney in the 1990s; I spent a lot of time daydreaming of other worlds, and was always on the lookout for some portal-like experience that would transport me out of everyday life. I escaped into the world of books, for example, as boldly (and as bodily) as the cartoon character Gumby did when he stepped into a page. When I discovered zines I realised I was not alone in this desire to escape: there was a secret world of people like me, connected by handmade, photocopied, ephemeral objects – zines.

I don’t think childish dreams – the desire to be grown up, to move out, to discover and explore – are lost in adulthood: they can fuel the desire for political projects that open up new possibilities for living. ‘Underground Fairylands’ juxtaposes images and texts which chart, like a rogue story-board*, the ad-hoc, sometimes tentative, processes by which people acquire knowledge – or consciousness – about the world, and their place in it.

This large-scale, wall-piece version of ‘Underground Fairylands’ was made in 2018. I wanted to capture the graphic quality of photocopying, but on a much larger scale than can be achieved with a photocopier, and, in keeping with the analogue nature of zines, without using any digital processes. Solvent transfer is a printing technique which transfers toner from a photocopy onto another surface (cartridge paper, in this case). This piece is composed of approximately fifty individual solvent transfers. It took me about two weeks, working five hours a day, to complete.


*Stole the line ‘rogue story-board’ from Bianca Martin, of Rut zine x


Newish zines

I’ve managed to make a few new zines over the past months, despite those months being among the strangest I’ve yet lived through – too strange and too close to even write about in a zine.



Typing Pool/Para no sentirme solo zine


Typing Pool/Para no sentirme solo contains all of the typing – including the typewriter loops and automatic writing featured below in older posts – from lasts years’ show at Chrissie Cotter Gallery, All Or Nothing. The Typing Pool section of the zine is A3 folded lengthways, then in half again to A5. The Para no… section is an eight page, A5 wrap-around. There are copies available for sale on the Take Care Zine Distro website, and I will have some at the upcoming Other Worlds Zine Fair at Marrickville Town Hall on Sunday 26 May.



Bridges zine, issue #1


I’ve also started a new zine series called Bridges. This one I aim to stick with and make on a semi-regular basis. There have been three issues so far. There are no copies of Bridges #1 or #2 left, though I might recopy some in time for Other Worlds. Issue #3 was made for the Sticky Institute’s annual Feed the Animals fundraiser – there may still be some copies available at Sticky if you’re in Melbourne.



Bridges zine, issue #2


Bridges zine, issue #3 – a fundraiser for Sticky’s Feed the Animals.


Care of

During my residency at Frontyard late July/early August this year I kept daily notes of whatever happened to enter my mind at the time. The following typed pages are an edited version of those notes.

Emma D_Frontyard Residency notes 1_2018Emma D_Frontyard Residency notes 2_2018Emma D_Frontyard Residency notes 3_2018Emma D_Frontyard Residency notes 4_2018Emma D_Frontyard Residency notes 5_2018Emma D_Frontyard Residency notes 6_2018