Currently within European arts practice, there is a growing movement in stencil duplication; artist are revisiting the mimeograph as an expressive medium, whether for it’s aesthetic potential or as a subversive act against computerised print processes, or both. The Mimeo Revolution in Europe is a stance – a material and immaterial perspective on the politics of print, an important issue given our increased dependency on technological and automated systems today. In 2019, a visual arts bursary enabled me to research and engage with European practitioners of this movement.
Gestetner duplicators were the primary means of reproducing documents for limited-run distribution for many year, transforming communication systems for business and diverse communities around the world. This low-cost duplicator, sometimes refered to as a mimeograph machine, works by forcing ink through a fragile wax stencil onto paper. Like the typewriter, these machines were products of the second phase of the industrial revolution which began towards the end of the nineteenth century. The small press printing movement of the 1960s and early 1970s turned to the low-cost mimeograph for a means to print and publish their own work. The proliferation of the DIY zine culture at this time was also sparked by the mimeograph, an eruption of underground print, the material precursor to the blog in todays digital age.