Zine Review: 24 hr Psycho


We got some exciting new mail at the office this week: Petra Collins’ new zine 24 hr Psycho. The zine is the material counterpart to Collins’ show in San Francisco, which spotlights 10 women in moments of emotional distress. In 24 hr Psycho Collins tackles themes of mental health and vulnerability in women, a topic of much needed attention. Some of us may recall reading Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story The Yellow Wallpaper – a collection of fictional journal entries written by a woman whose doctor/husband “diagnosed” her with hysterical tendencies. Forbidden to work or engage socially, the woman descends deeper and deeper into psychosis. The story illustrated 19th century attitudes toward women’s mental health. The concept of hysteria and gas-lighting does indeed seem old-fashioned, yet these attitudes continue to prevail in modern times. Collins remarks, “Women’s emotions are constantly labeled. Any slight deviation from ‘pleasantness,’ and we are labeled as hysterical. When we are angry, sad, depressed, or manic, we are immediately seen as unfeminine, or ugly, or weak.” Suffering from mental illness herself, Collins hopes to empower women by depicting the complexities of our mental states. Reclaiming the derogatory term “psycho,” Collins celebrates the intensity and beauty of “negative” emotions. With dramatic hues and lighting, the series of portraits are a far cry from a pamphlet on mental health awareness. The zine itself is a 15 page, large-scale newspaper you can take apart of fold into your purse. -CM

24 Hour Psycho is on show at Ever Gold [Projects] gallery until April 30