Zine Review: La Boca #2
4 April 2008
E Parrott’s second issue of La Boca is exciting from the get-go, before you even crack it open, thanks to a cleverly designed cover. Its bright brown card-stock is painted with white and pink blobs, which are made sensible only by the photograph printed on them by the copy machine.
This design sensibility and obvious mastery of the equipment shows through in the body of the zine, too. Photos have been manipulated through the photocopier to exaggerate light and shade. Grainy reproductions are given definition by hand-drawn lines; sometimes whole sections — a notebook here, a scarf there — are replaced by sketches.
The result is a striking clash of the real and the unreal. Parrott looks at the world and sees abstractions and ideas and feelings to which others are oblivious. She sees tenderness in a friend’s actions, and fraternal connections between different Beatles albums. “everything has connotations.”
I was fascinated by a passage in which Parrott imagines herself as a man:
listening to iron and wine I think of him–– 20-something, huge beard, mellow look on his face. and all the associations that go along with an image like that. yes, that’s what i want. and, like i often do, i imagine myself looking exactly that way, forgetting for a second that i can’t grow facial hair, or have masculine features at all, and that short hair says something different on a girl, that even that mellow look is different on a girl.
There follows a powerful discussion of gender identity. It’s not a fully-fledged manifesto; there is anger there, but Parrott admits “i need to think more about it”. The power of the section — just a couple of pages long — comes from this introverted caution. It conveys the author’s real discomfort with being a woman: “sometimes … i notice the sound of my own female voice and wonder how anyone takes me seriously.”
These thought-experiments give La Boca #2 great depth. By taking the real world but giving it a twist — whether by wondering what if the author was a man, or by reducing a photographed cat to a line-drawing — the reader is forced to look at things from a new, unexpected perspective. It is a sophisticated technique, and integrated just as effectually in Parrott’s words as in her pictures.
La Boca #2 has an almost paranoiac awareness of the layers of possibility that exist around us:
we live on the edge of something, it scares me. who says things will happen as expected, things could just go out of control.
One day, hopefully, they will.
E Parrott, La Boca #2, 1/4 size, 48 pages.
Available from Loop.