This past Thursday, I had the pleasure of sitting down with cultural critic Anne Elizabeth Moore. She defies categorization as artist. She has created performance pieces, zines and comics, written articles, edited publications and much more. She's the author of Unmarketable, Cambodian Grrrl: Self-Publishing in Phnom Penh, and more. She was co-editor and co-founder of the late Punk Planet, and much more.
I was quite keen to talk to her about her body of work in Cambodia. She ended up going there to live and work with the first large group of women to go to college in the country. During her time there, she decided to teach them how to make zines, self-published book or magazine, to show them a basic means of self-expression. She taught 32 women how to make zines while learning about their history and culture. The women took to it whole-heartedly and found a use for it. It started a chain reaction. These women went to their homes all over Cambodia and taught their friends and families. It's incredible. She explained that when she returned two years later, people were still making zines in Cambodia led by woman.
We also talked about her work "American Girl Project: Operation Pocket Full of Wishes" in the 2000s. She snuck in some cards in to the store mimicking American Girl produced materials. For this project, she was arrested and escorted out. You can read a full account of it in her zine Safe, Legal Abortion Access. I mentioned that it was extremely tempting to recreate the piece since I worked so close the American Girl. However, I was a bit concerned my employer would look poorly on me if I were to get arrested on my lunch break. Maybe in my spare time. Maybe not. More likely, I'd come up with my own work to critique corporate imaginings of girlhood in the US.
However, she cautioned in our interview about criticisms of corporate culture that: "I don't want to make a career of hating things." Hating something is easy. She wants to support strictures that she believes in. Going deeper into understanding the structures and possibly changing them is much more powerful and interesting.
Rock on. That's just a small snippet of her work and the conversation. Check out her website for her diverse and provocative work: http://anneelizabethmoore.com/