* This title is on pre-sale. Pre-orders will ship January 2024
Softcover, 528 pages
9 in. x 12 in. | 20.32 cm. x 27.94 cm.
Way back in 1991, a freely-circulated zine called The Lumpen Times was born in Champaign, Illinois. The creators would go on to relaunch it in Chicago in 1993. Over time, the underground magazine would lead to building a Community of the Future.
Through the certainty of chance, collective engagement, casual encounters, and accidental actions, The Lumpen Times became the hub for a series of cultural platforms spawning hundreds of projects, spaces, happenings, exhibitions, and initiatives. Some were short-lived, but each project fueled a new one in its wake.
As an example, they started a record label, which spawned other publications. Other projects include engaging in dot-communism, opening community art spaces, hosting international art and activism festivals, and producing thousands of exhibitions and events. They also built an FM radio station, opened a bar, restaurants, launched a brewery, built another beverage company, created an artists’ retail shop, and started community kitchens. This range of passions has become an interconnected and deeply inclusive set of ventures now called The Buddy System.
The Lumpen Times: 30+ Years of Radical Media and Building Communities of the Future shares stories from a few dozen of the thousands of Lumpen collaborators over the years. It contains a visual survey of the printed matter they produced over the past three decades, illustrating the evolution of the xeroxed-and-stapled zine into an internationally recognized cultural periodical.
The book is also a catalog of strategies, highlighting dozens of “case studies” demonstrating how artists, activists, educators, and creative entrepreneurs of all stripes have built community and culture in their beloved city of Chicago via the printed word, physical spaces, and over the airwaves and digital networks. Each study includes the reason it started, examples of its production, and the reasons it failed, mutated, or continues to this day. The project is a deep archive, essentially showcasing some of the secret histories of Chicago’s countercultural milieus over 30 years of community and artistic engagement.
Ed Marszewski is the director of the Public Media Institute (PMI) and publisher of Lumpen Magazine and other titles. PMI launched the low power community radio station, Lumpen Radio ( WLPN-LP ) on 105.5 FM, and programs the long running cultural center Co-Prosperity in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago. PMI also opened the Buddy store in the Chicago Cultural Center. Ed is also the co-founder of Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar, Kimski, Marz Community Brewing Co., Life on Marz Community Club, Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream, and Kim’s Uncle Pizza. For more about many of the projects he leads, visit the-buddy-system.com.
Design by Jeremiah Chiu