I left this here for you to read
April 27, 2009 11:11 AM   Subscribe

I left this here for you to read: You can't buy this magazine in bookstores, and you can't subscribe to it. If you do find an issue, it's purely by chance: each month, 50 issues are printed and left in public places across the US and Canada. Each free, collaboratively produced, handmade issue contains short articles, small greyscale images, and sometimes tiny flat objects attached to the pages.

The magazine is the brainchild of Boston-based artist Tim Devin, whose projects often encourage bringing private emotions into public places. Devin says he tries "to remind people of each other, remind people about other people's emotional lives."

Nora Young interviewed Tim Devin on CBC Radio [mp3; segment starts at 20:40] about this project. People can send contributions, edit and produce, or distribute issues of I left this here for you to read. Some have started a version in their own community, like the people in Darwin, Australia.
http://www.darwincommunityarts.org.au/node/847
posted by hurdy gurdy girl (36 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
Coincidentally, I recently started a blog titled "I Found This Weird Thing And Read It".

It's mostly just reviews of magazines I've found on park benches.
posted by kingbenny at 11:23 AM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Doesn't talking about this online sort of betray the whole concept then?
posted by squalor at 11:27 AM on April 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


This seems like zines from the early 90s, except it's hard to find, has pretensions to artistic merit, and the authors seem a little hostile towards people who want to read it.

So: exactly like zines, I guess.


Park benches are the new coffeehouses.
posted by logicpunk at 11:34 AM on April 27, 2009 [12 favorites]


Doesn't talking about this online sort of betray the whole concept then?

The web site provides nothing but proof of this mini-mag's existence, and an opportunity for others to get involved. No examples of articles, nothing as to where these were left, or when they were printed. No betrayal, just a taunt.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:37 AM on April 27, 2009


I think it sounds pretty awesome, personally. You get two free copies if you contribute, and it is free, so it stands to reason they don't have a great deal of financial resources at their disposal for distribution. Leaving it lying about in random places might increase the chances of it being thrown away, but it could also increase the chances of it being read.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:42 AM on April 27, 2009


This reminds me of a zine-ish thing that I periodically find at one of the independent bookstores around here (Chicago)-- it's always in a handmade paper envelope stapled at one end, which contains a folded xerox of a hand-written letter addressed 'Dear You.' The envelope is stamped with the same stamp every 'issue', a red block that simply reads 'YOU'. The letter inside is personal, sometimes talking about a concert the author went to, sometimes about what he's been thinking about recently. The creator is apparently named Luke, and lives in Melbourne. This is all I know about it.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:43 AM on April 27, 2009


Printing Press: Written works no longer reproduced by hand, available for mass consumption.
Internet: Written works no longer printed, available for theoretically universal consumption.
Mini-mag: Uses bandwidth and printing to ensure written words are not available for much of any consumption.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 11:43 AM on April 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Reminds me a bit of dobbs' project from last year where he wrote poems and stories in the margins of published books, sometimes using the words in the books and crossing out others. He then brought them into bookstores and put them next to their untouched brethren with a note on the back saying the book was free/already paid for, leaving the receipt for the book inside like a bookmark in case you got stopped at the door. I managed to get one of them but the others were always gone by the time I figured out the locations from his emails.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 11:44 AM on April 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wankity wank wank wank.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:50 AM on April 27, 2009 [4 favorites]




Wankity wank wank wank.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:50 PM on April 27 [+] [!]


Are you talking about the post or the mess you're leaving here, pope?
posted by dazed_one at 12:12 PM on April 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Creating found objects, basically.
posted by DU at 12:17 PM on April 27, 2009


This is very cool.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 12:19 PM on April 27, 2009


I like it: it's like porn in the woods only without the porn.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:21 PM on April 27, 2009


Sounds like trash creation to me. Our beloved local transit authority runs a campaign to tell people not to leave their read newspapers on the metro because what they think of as an act of kindness is more likely to be a pain in someone else's ass.

I love the idea of found objects; I have read a few good (and more not-good) books that I found left around places. But I think it's a fallacy to think that stuff doesn't just end up in the garbage 99% of the time, unread and unexamined. Of the listed locations - "park benches, on buses, in airports and dentists' offices" - it's only dentist's offices that have a real chance of surviving to be examined a second time.

Now, I LOVE the idea of subversively creating media to put in waiting rooms. Material that masquerades as a glossy junk news magazine but instead contains some other content? Brilliant. Or how about something that looks like a crappy rabble-rouser pamphlet but is instead 100% statist propaganda that you can leave in the independent coffee shop?
posted by phearlez at 12:25 PM on April 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


This reminds me. I've been hiding incredibly awesome, insightful and moving poetry in my Metafilter comments.

Half of the key to decode this poetry has been whispered to an ailing Chilean monk in Santa Barbara and the other half I just sent to pb in a text message.
posted by ODiV at 12:38 PM on April 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Coincidentally, I recently started a blog titled "I Found This Weird Thing And Read It".

It's mostly just reviews of magazines I've found on park benches.


Paging porn in the woods to this thread; MeFi's Own porn in the woods, please pick up thread ID 81190.
posted by Spatch at 12:55 PM on April 27, 2009


Are you talking about the post or the mess you're leaving here, pope?

This magazine is just about the wankiest thing I've ever heard of, and I spent my undergraduate years hanging out with philosophy and art majors.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:00 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sounds like 100 magazines probably go to the trash fill or recylcing bin each month. Not to say it isn't a cool magazine - but what are the odds it will be picked up by someone who cares enough to collect it or pass it on etc?
posted by Rashomon at 1:06 PM on April 27, 2009


I'd read it. I often read things I find lying on bus seats or park benches. It's how I discovered Jack Chick.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:08 PM on April 27, 2009


So that's why've stopped playing D&D with us. Damn that Jack Chick!
posted by filthy light thief at 1:22 PM on April 27, 2009


Material that masquerades as a glossy junk news magazine but instead contains some other content? Brilliant. Or how about something that looks like a crappy rabble-rouser pamphlet but is instead 100% statist propaganda that you can leave in the independent coffee shop?
posted by phearlez at 2:25 PM on April 27


I like you.
posted by Ynoxas at 2:01 PM on April 27, 2009


This might be a lot more effective if it was left in the tube during rush hour. How Metro et al got going...
posted by djgh at 2:01 PM on April 27, 2009


It sounds like 90s zines to me too, tho' I do agree it comes across as optimistic about the percentage of average folk who are going to be interested in a zine... But I suppose it's more about the process of creation than the actual readers reached, and anyway if they reach one person they wouldn't have at a standard bookstore/cafe, rather than multiple people who already know how to find this kind of expression, perhaps it's made more of an impact in the end. In any case, it looks like a neat project.
posted by mdn at 2:04 PM on April 27, 2009


Oh how totally fucking hip. I guess all the rough drafts are written on moleskines?
posted by Afroblanco at 2:08 PM on April 27, 2009


I have a copy of this on PDF I could send you. But I only have one left.
posted by hal9k at 2:28 PM on April 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hm, I guess I live somewhere so unhip it didn't occur to me this might be perceived as a hipster, trying-to-be-cool thing. We don't really have a surfeit of public art/creative writing stuff here.

I was thinking of getting our local adult literacy programs to encourage students to submit stories so they can get some issues to leave in our local bookstore/cafe. It would be neat for them to be involved in a cross-border writing project.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:36 PM on April 27, 2009


If you do find an issue, it's purely by chance: each month, 50 issues are printed and left in public places across the US and Canada.

That's 50 copies, right? And each contributor also gets a copy? So maybe ten copies are read by random people, and of course the contributors all read their own shit and compare it to the other contributors' shit.

It's a group blog, but printed, so it costs a lot more to put out.

What people need to do is create very specific literary magazines for waiting rooms. A literary magazine only for hair salons or only for dentist offices, or gynecologists, or veterinarians, or muffler shops, or airports, or bus stations, or pews. Poster-format reading for public toilets. Place mats for restaurants. Think of a waiting place and create a literature for it. Not just restaurants, but pancake restaurants, and a pancake literature. A literature not just for toilets, but for airport toilets full of layover people taking a dump in a strange city, a strange country. Because you'd be able to aim advertising at very specific sorts of people, you might even make a little money at it.
posted by pracowity at 3:14 PM on April 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


It's mostly just reviews of magazines I've found on park benches.

Paging porn in the woods to this thread; MeFi's Own porn in the woods, please pick up thread ID 81190.


** wakes up, rubs eyes, stumbles to kitchen, brews cup of ambition **

As you'd guess, periodicals which are distributed outside of established methods are A-OK with me. I'll take it over another Flipside or MRR.
posted by porn in the woods at 3:16 PM on April 27, 2009


I used to leave little personal notes for people to happen across on napkins and sugar packets in diners and on ass gaskets and rolls of toilet paper in public restrooms. Just little personal notes. Like, "They're onto you." Or "She knows." Or maybe, "Don't look behind you." Just. Little. Personal. Notes. "I didn't wash my hands." "You should have a doctor look at that." "It wasn't your fault." "Maybe you were adopted." "Kill them all."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:18 PM on April 27, 2009 [13 favorites]


You know, this is exactly, EXACTLY like what I do. I take very personal things, like favorite songs or things I'm going through currently, along with a ton of links I steal from Metafilter, Boing Boing, Reddit, Digg, and other various websites, and then I post it on my website. But see, only about 50 people a month actually read my website, so it's a deep, dark secret. It's awesome too, because no matter what I try, be it posting my artwork or reviewing (admittantly, poorly reviewing) movies or albums, I can't get any more traffic at all. So yeah - I put up my crafty stuff, write personal things, and probably could see where some might consider my site largly garbage. =P Bageena.com FOREVER!
posted by Bageena at 4:09 PM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sounds like the zine I contributed to in the mid-90's, except more people will probably end up reading this thing.
posted by Falconetti at 4:25 PM on April 27, 2009


I did this once. But with poop.
posted by koeselitz at 4:52 PM on April 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


I periodically [lol!] wrote "Stupid Stories" in high school, printed roughly 25-35 copies from the computer lab per story without saving them (on those oh-so-cute Mac Classics with their Claris Works 'n shit) and established somewhat of a cult following by handing them out randomly. I hope some copies were kept for posterity, as I have none to show for it.

I am inspired to write creatively again.

...maybe tomorrow or when I get around to it...
posted by aydeejones at 5:47 PM on April 27, 2009


It's a group blog, but printed, so it costs a lot more to put out.
I think that's an APA.
posted by hattifattener at 10:04 PM on April 27, 2009


There's a copy of this in the Salt Lake City Library.

I picked it up and was confused for about 30 seconds, then I put it back down.
posted by mmoncur at 11:41 PM on April 27, 2009


You know, thinking more about this, there was a zine like this in my hometown that operated in much the same way (minus the prizes), and was put together really cheaply - xeroxed pages, construction paper covers with stencil art on them, the whole volume stapled together. And it contained by far the best writing in the city.

Call me nostalgic, but I'm kinda happy to see the tradition continue in new ways. And I mean, it is free, too.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:13 AM on April 28, 2009


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