Zine Scene: The Sociology of Aaron Lake Smith

Like countless other works of art, Aaron Lake Smith’s zines were born out of boredom.  The author of Big Hands and Unemployment recalls how he got started in writing, in 2004: “I spent a summer living in a moldy garage behind an anarchist collective in Greensboro, North Carolina. All my friends were gone, and I had nothing else to do.”

The resulting collections of short stories and typewritten journals follow ordinary people, from retail drones to historical Moravians, and trawl their everyday actions for meaning.  The most recent issue of Big Hands comments on everything from family Thanksgivings to Foucault’s panopticon, with an eye for finding truth in short interactions.

His latest work, Unemployment, is similarly scientific in its exploration of what happens when we have too much time on our hands.  Smith says, “Unemployment is about having dreams that get put on the backburner for when you ‘finally get some time’. But when we actually get the time to do what we want, we fail to act.”

“My amateur sociological research reveals that people are deeply affected by their social relations and their routines—if you are surrounded by people who do nothing, you will do nothing.”

Big Hands 6 by Aaron Lake Smith

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