PUNKura* — Free From Censorship And Far From Established Mainstream
PUNKura* is a new Sarajevan maga(zine) that’s printed in A5 format. It covers underground arts, culture, and lifestyle, focusing on topics such as visual art, music, nightlife, graffiti, skateboarding, ecology, relationships and the lack of public spaces.
PUNKura* is founded and run by Nardina Zubanović and Adrian Pecotić, who started this project about a year ago. It’s a 52 pages document of Sarajevo's scene, “elevating its creative people and works in a way they usually aren't and looking directly at the challenges that exist.”
How did you two come up with the concept of the PUNKura* magazine? Why the name ‘PUNKura*’ with the asterisk?
Nina: Well, in zine culture it’s quite common to have a provocative and rebellious name, so we also wanted to have a cool and unique one…
After few ideas that were just stupid swearing, we came up with “Punkuratz”. Then, we cut the "tz" because it seemed a bit too much. That was perfect cuz it had punk in its meaning even though we are not just a punk magazine – actually we are not defined by genre so that makes it punk itself… We have an attitude that's like punk; free from censorship and interested in what’s not just fake or part of the popular and established mainstream, but what’s true and real – underground.
But let's go back to the name... When we wrote down Punkura* - the name took on several meanings that made it more cool and original since it can be still interpreted as a rebellious Punkuratz in the free meaning of being "full of everything," “it’s enough” or “too much,” and “loads of…”
But it also means Punk-Ura as “Punk hour” or “It's time for Punk,” as well as Punk-Kura., like “Punk is healing.”
That * gave more meanings to our name for interpretation, which helped it be the final decision. It's actually cool that everyone can make up their own meaning…
Also this, first time publishing, our letters on a cover are coloured pink... Pink-ura (laugh)
Adrian: The concept of the magazine evolved pretty naturally, I think.
We started out knowing that Sarajevo needs a magazine for young people and wanting to make a zine about underground art and music. And when you add those two ideas, you basically get PUNKura*.
I don’t think we can, or really want to, explain the concept of PUNKura* using strict labels. We’re not a traditional magazine, nor a ‘pure’ zine either (even though we’re inspired by both). We’re happy mixing mediums and mixing different types of content, having serious art on one page and a crossword on the other. So, if I had to boil down the concept of PUNKura* to one sentence, I’d say something like:
PUNKura* a street paper that refuses to have any strict borders about what a street paper is and what can go into one.
And so far as the name goes, the name is just a good name... it has a ring to it.
Nardina Zubanović and Adrian Pecotić
Adrian, what kind of content are we going to see in PUNKura?
Adrian: Like Nina said, PUNKura* isn’t defined by genre. That goes for genres of writing and art as well.
We’ll put anything we can print into the magazine if we like it enough. That means we’re just as likely to publish a short story or poem as an interview with someone interesting. And we’re just as likely to publish something that’s written in English as in Bosnian… Whichever language fits the story best, we use.
But, we have to be guided by what’s happening and what people are interested in. That’s because we’re trying to represent, make some kind of document of, the subcultural scene as it exists. For example, there’s a big, and growing, skate scene in Sarajevo – that’s something we’ve got to cover.
The nice thing about having a magazine is that we also get to include topics and people that we think should be more popular. Some of them in this issue, like the painter Mirza Čizmić, are from Sarajevo but more popular on a worldwide level than a local one… It’s nice to make introductions.
Mirza Čizmić, Stolen memories, Fathers fairytale, painting 56x76cm,
You are currently working on “The Special Edition”, a pilot issue which will get its support through crowdfunding. What can the readers expect in this issue?
Expect the unexpected. We made a very free maga/zine, in the sense that you’re never quite sure what’s going to be on any of its 52-pages.
Nina: In a time of ruling social networks, and so many things going on in a virtual world, we decided to make a paper in a physical form for a reason. The central topic of our Special Edition is space in a wider context where it can mean physical space, public/private space, virtual space…and even the space of memory.
If you closely look at our artists’ works, you might find them communicating in direct or indirect ways with public and private space. Like, for example, we have two works by one of the best-known performance artists, Vlasta Delimar (1956.), Ovo sam bila ja 1980. kada je umro drug Tito (1980.) and 40 godina poslije (2021.), who has often used her naked body as a medium to perform in public spaces during 70-es and now, and a work by Mak Hubjer (1993.), Traces of New Realism (Akcija Split/Riva 2021.), who also uses public space in his artistic practice. Then we have artists with different artistic sensibilities, like Dalila Manso (1991.), whose work “In the kitchen” illustrates an intimate and common daylife, private space and situation…
You can read the names of all of the contributors on the PUNKura* cover photo. They come from different backgrounds and they are different generations but the thing which connects them is that they are current artists and writers who create - here and now, and they are great in what they do - no matter are they are at the start of their careers like the young and very talented Hana Grozdanić (1998.) or already established artists like Mirza Čizmić (1985.), a great BiH artist who lives in Helsinki and whose works are exhibited in ART galleries worldwide next to Leonardo Da Vinchi and Chagall.
In the Special Edition, you can also see works of important artists on Sarajevo’s current scene, who live and work in BiH, like one of our best graphic designers and illustrators Boris Stapić (1977.), the work of conceptual artist Bojan Stojčić (1988.), the well known street artist and painter Rikardo Druskić (1990.), unique photographs by Tajana Dedić-Starović (1993.) from Banja Luka, funny mixed collages by Kasja Jerlagić (1996.) and the Graffiti Crew - STF… as well as photos of foreign Lithuanian artist Gabrielė Žukauskaitė or Sam Sabourin who are passionately interested in Sarajevo …
I want to circle back for a second and talk about why we’re selling the Special Edition on IndieGoGo. People might think that there’s a contradiction between being an underground maga/zine and being on a platform like IndieGoGo.
There is a point to that, but it misses the larger point. Nina and I are trying to create a maga/zine that’s both sustainable in the long run and independent.
We can’t do that on our own. We need support from the city… It’s hard and expensive work to make a magazine. IndieGoGo is just an easy and accessible way of gathering support from people who believe in our project.
Nina, making the choice of having the form of a DIY magazine must have a background story – why a zine?
Nina: We wanted to have an original design that’s not a usual magazine design, and most zines are DIY style. Some of the pages I designed in a really DIY way by really cutting paper and gluing it to a surface, like paper collages. In my artistic practice, I’ve been doing paper collage lately, so it was kinda natural for me.
Anyways, it was too hard and would cost tons of money and time to write, glue and cut every single article by hand and then scan it later… so not all our pages follow that old-school zine style. I personally designed the Billain interview, “People from the street make a difference,” and Arnel Šarić Šaran’s text, “Ne Razumijem.” The designer followed my idea in a digital form…
Also, our "inside covers'' are literally graffitied surfaces that I photographed while walking around, which fits since the maga(zine) itself is about the streets of Sarajevo...
In what ways do you filter and choose the topics which you cover in the PUNKura maga(zine)?
Nina: Well, the starting idea was to cover topics which people would be interested to explore, read and identify with. When I say people, I mean people of all generations. We want to connect people of all generations with similar interests… to create a sort of document and platform that can bring people together in one place - a physical newspaper. Both people who currently exist in Sarajevo and on the world scene.
People who are part of the subcultural scene might never have met before, which is possible because in Sarajevo, there’s no established base or any kind of subcultural center (which in future we would like to create).
In this issues so you can read in our interviews thoughts and ideas of aware, awake, and true people like one of Sarajevo best DJ-s and producers; Billain on which Sarajevo is very proud, young and great skater Dino Pepić, band Moca i Biznismeni, story of Saša Džino, poetry by great poet Marija Šuković and Sarajevan dramaturg and poet Adnan Lugonić… as well as intellectual text of BoriŠa Mraović “Posljedice i politike platforme” and intrigue text about underground scene - wrote by frontman of band Popik - journalist Arnel Šarić Šaran which I previously mentioned.
I personally pick local characters to work with or interview and Adrian picks more international characters interested in the city of Sarajevo (Sam Sabourin, Gabriela Manda Seith ...), which makes sense.
We normally come with ideas, communicate them together and then look for a person best for writing it. In the future we hope that maga(zine) will be more interactive and that people themselves will send us their art works and essays and we will publish the best.
Adrian: I’m a pretty old-fashioned editor, and choosing stories comes down to three simple things—quality, fit, and value. Is a work—whether it’s an essay, art, or a comic strip—one that we’ll be proud to publish? Does it fit into the magazine or will look strange beside everything else we’re publishing? And, most importantly, does it have some value for our readers? Value in this context can mean useful information, or it can be something that makes someone look at something in a new way, or something that causes someone to feel something.
What’s unique about PUNKura* compared to all the other editing work I’ve done is how free we can be in looking for many different types of value.
How can people submit their work to your maga/zine? Is there a certain way to start a collaboration with you?
Adrian: Yeah, we have a new email address that’s just for submissions! It’s firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’d be incredibly happy for any of your readers to reach out to us personally. That can be by sending artwork or a pitch to our email, via our instagram profiles @punkura_ and punkura_official2027, or by meeting us at a some kafana and saying, “Hey, I have an idea for PUNKura*.”
We’re also looking for collaborations with small or big local businesses who have the same approach as us and a similar public. Like, if you’re making your own craft beer or have a skate- or print-shop…, we’re interested in working together. We need more people working on things on their own, and we need to support each other.
Nina: Our magazine is about to start its life on Sarajevan streets and perhaps build a new/current cultural identity. We’ve all been whining for so long about the subcultural and cultural scene of Sarajevo not growing or being bad. With this kind of maga/zine we all can help it get to the place it deserves. But we need to do it together.
It’s very important at this point that people support PUNKura* by buying it, so we can continue publishing and make “something” like Adrian says (in our video) “that will last”. You can see the whole video of ours and get a PUNKura*’s “Special Edition” on IndieGoGo together with our perks like cool PUNKura* T-shirts, hoodies… done by the best quality print-shop, PRINTMANIA, which are at this moment our only sponsors. To order and support PUNKura* from any part of the world the only thing you need is your card, not even online banking. Get your issue NOW.
Author: Hana Tiro