Tapezine is both a “zine” (self-published magazine) as well as a format for “zines”. a tapezine is a zine published on a standard audio-cassette. Tapezine: The Analogue Journal is a modern prototype for the format, showcasing various techniques that can be used to produce tapezines.
Do more than audio on a cassette!
A tapezine is able to contain more than just audio for music or the spoken word! Tapezines can also contain images/video as well as text/data! Using any smartphone or personal computer you or your readers can decode the embedded images/video and text/data using open and free software. Think about the possibilities!
- Spoken Word Audio & Music
- Analogue Slow-Scan Video for Photography, Art & more
- Digital Data stream for text, writings, information & programs
- You can make a one of a kind gift or mass produce your own tapezine
- Tapezine: The Analogue Journal uses A for Audio and B for “Data” and promotes open and freely available encoding formats.
- Audio Cassettes make great archival material and any cassette can be a tapezine.
- More cassette players are being made now than in the past 20 years, any electronics store or department store carries a cassette player, and used units are still abundant.
What is the point of a tapezine?
The point is you can make one too!
A (tape)zine is a physical object. Zines in the 21st century are even more of a statement in the face of the digital ethereal internet. Tapezine allows the user to offer more than simple text and graphics through physical media and allows the creator to package the effort in readily available standard audio cassettes. The flexibility of shell colour, or tape length from online manufacturers greatly allows a new dimension of customization for a truly multi-media zine.
There are more cassette players being made now than in the past 20 years, your local department store or electronics store probably carries one for under $40. Plenty of used working machines are still very available in thrifts and yard sales.
Tapezine is a new hybrid analogue-digital medium that allows greater possibilities in zine space. Your tangible cassette allows you the benefits of creating a hands on product or statement while bridging more of the human senses than a traditional printed zine. Creating your own tapezine is simple and the specifics are entirely up to you.
The origins of a cassette magazine are connected with 70s and 80s DIY culture, computer/radio/telephone/audio hobbyists. Tapezine: The Analogue Journal is a cassette magazine for the 21st century – open formats and cross-platform, a tapezine celebrating analogue culture and media.
How do you embed Images and Data onto an audio cassette?
Remember dial-up modems? You would know that data can be sent over regular telephone lines which are simple audio lines. Likewise on a tapezine, video and data have been modulated or converted into audio tones which are then recorded onto cassette using traditional encoding techniques that are open source, free to use, and have modern software available to de-modulate the data and display the content for your audience.
Tapezine: The Analogue Journal currently uses an analogue video encoding technique called “ROBOT 36” of which there are many free apps that can convert the audio on the cassette into the images that are embedded. Each image takes 36 seconds of audio to fully decode, which appears line by line on your smartphone or computer.
In addition, traditional ASCII modem data streams are used for recording text and data onto the cassette. Using “Bell 202” at a rate of ~100 baud (10 characters per second), the cassette is able to be played over the speaker into a microphone with success. Higher speeds of 300 baud (30 characters) or 1200 baud (120 characters) can be achieved with direct tape-to-aux connections.
Today, these techniques are typically employed by Amateur Radio operators however their potential for creative use has not fully been tapped. You do not need a licence to use these techniques, nor do you need to be a computer programmer to unleash them. The possibilities are expansive as one could use similar technologies such as “Robot 8” a black and white video process that requires only 8 seconds per frame, or the use of ASCII at 300 baud to transmit poetry, manifestos, or even hypertext or computer programs directly to your audience.
Tell me more about Tapezine: The Analogue Journal
Tapezine: The Analogue Journal is a semi-regularly published tapezine that showcases various open source or open technology techniques to act as an example for the format demonstrating the kinds of things possible on the medium.