Elevate Difference

Plazm 28: Luck

Editors Jon Raymond, Tiffany Lee Brown, and Joshua Berger begin their opening epistle with the words, “It’s been nearly four years since an issue of Plazm last appeared . . .” As a follower of small press, I hadn’t realized how much time had passed! And I am heartened that after all this time, Plazm decided to print a new issue. It’s good to see them back.

This issue was packed with interesting art and interviews. It’s difficult to pick a few highlights from a magazine brimming with fascinating work. Personal favorites include an interview with Dave Thomas of Pere Ubu, Jon Raymond’s rumination on the fine line between performance art and pranking, and excerpts from Melina Rodrigo’s zine A.W. And yet I’ve omitted “Cop Love,” which ties into Jon Raymond’s article, Chris Jordan’s photographic comments on mass consumption and an interview with Marlene McCarty, who discusses both her art and the circuitous path an artist sometimes takes to realize her work fully.

“Performance PDX” seems to be a regular feature with short reviews of performance pieces. The performances were almost entirely in Oregon with a few forays into Washington. That’s understandable because Plazm is based in Portland, but it’s a bit frustrating to read about performances that I probably won’t get to see. However, local flavor is one of the strengths of small press. At least I know some names to keep in mind when browsing the weekend section of my local paper.

The store on the website for Plazm has lots of goodies in stock.. One of the t-shirts with the lucky black cat that appears on this issue’s cover is crying out to hang in my closet. Besides back issues of the magazine, check out books on the social uses of art, cd’s and the design studio itself. In an era when more and more media are controlled by fewer and fewer outlets, small press and independent media allow outsider voices to be heard. Art, – capital “A” Art, not craft or design – is often the expression of a voice that would otherwise be unheard, even unacceptable. Plazm provides a fine glimpse into the world of art, prompting further exploration on the part of the reader. Find a copy and expand your perceptions.

Written by: Allison Crawford, August 28th 2007