zines & art books

bits & pieces

no. 7

- olabo & akay -

zine . riso print . 28 x 19 cm . 52 pages . 2020

In Stockholm, the snow still covers the sidewalks. Vacant storefronts line up along the now-empty pedestrian streets, either closing for good or biding their time, waiting for a return to normality. Motor scooters with urgent food deliveries rip through the scene, otherwise it’s a city on hold… holding its breath until corona passes.

A pandemic doesn’t disrupt Akay and Olabo’s work though. Still it might reveal how their daily activities operate independent of a “functioning” economy and somewhat outside of society. When the rhythms of modern life come screeching to a halt, they’re still out on their bikes, looking for places to play.

They always notice abandoned buildings and deserted office spaces, so they were aware of more stores going out-of-business as a result of this particular global crisis. They figured they’d call attention to the increase, and maybe find a use for the vinyl sticker paper they had in storage since the nineties. Perfect. Except they didn’t consider that they’d be peeling off sticker backing with their bare hands in below freezing temperatures, or that their mild dyslexia would have them redoing misspelled phrases.

But in the end, they found a way to highlight the changing landscape. Not with hushed voices concerned about a failing economy, but with big block letters welcoming the possibilities that could arise in the wake of its demise. Akay and Ola found their sentiments echoed in articles on degrowth economy and in passages of Evasion fanzines. Philosophies of the gainfully unemployed reconsidering what a high quality of life could look like. Social isolation and restricted civic activities are not normal. But is business as usual something to aspire to?