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The zine »True Youth Bootlegs« re-examines an emblematic youth subculture in word and image. It’s published in a twin edition, each version addressing the topic according to the qualities of the respective medium. True Youth Bootlegs comes either as a, rather customary, stapled 64-page brochure — or as a light, viscose scarf. Utilizing and pairing these two objects allows for shifts in perspectives on the object of interest of True Youth Bootlegs: youth subcultures, in particular the Hardcore scene of the 1980s and 90s and its (lasting) impact.

Youth subcultures offer structures for the establishment of self: a sense of belonging, distinction and exclusivity, grandiose fantasies and oppositional posture, even a suggestion of superiority … construing an order recreating that of the rejected mainstream society by one (not necessarily progressive) remove. These issues can be observed emblematically in the Hardcore scene of the 1980s and 90s, especially in light of its androcentric appearance, the often Lebensreform-like claims and an unconditional celebration of youth. The fervor, energy and attitudes in Hardcore music leave little room for ambivalence. This becomes apparent in the bands’ names, the sole material that is appropriated in the twin edition. Visually the band names in »True Youth Bootlegs« are rendered as unstinting translations of the intensity the scene celebrated in its music, diction and at live shows — but without regard to the original, varying visual aesthetics of this scene. The resulting images might resemble emblems of militias, superhero comic or commercial graphics. Composed only from the words constituting the featured band names, the attached table of categories could be seen as a breakdown of issues of importance for the self-image and Weltanschauung of this subculture.

The semantic and visual qualities of these re-imagined cultural signs, and their interconnection, is presented in two different, complementary approaches. While the paper version of »True Youth Bootlegs« zooms in on the individual graphics and names, the textile version puts them on display as a decorative, ambiguous retrospection of a self-proclaimed uniform, charismatic movement.

You can order »True Youth Bootlegs« from the Golden Shop,
go here for the paper version and here for the textile version.

Installation view from the launch event at Rise gallery, Berlin.