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AR Zines as Discursive Artifact

Cergam Muslimah (translates to Muslimah drawn out stories; pronounced chur-gum) is an exploration into zines as part of a creative practice that utilizes the affordances of mobile augmented reality (MAR). Through the layers of short stories told within these 8 page zines, the MAR helps evoke a dual or a hidden meaning in the augmented reality. Each of the three zines consist of personal stories from my point of view, but are common anxieties or feelings that can be endured by many Muslimah. They explore various themes of life, love and thoughts about the future and present a different way to read each of the stories through AR.

Cutting the zine

Opening the cut fold

Folding the 8-page zine

The three zines were first illustrated traditionally. These drawings are vectorized digitally to be saved as images and gifs for the augmented component of the prototype. The images are then arranged according to the 8-page zine format within a tabloid size paper, which also uses the page in reverse of the page as a poster that counts for the final page of the story. (Zine-making is not limited to illustration– many employ different techniques, such as collaging.) 

Reading the 'My Hairline is Receding' zine through a smart phone device

This story is a shared personal experience that centers on the problem regarding receding hairline as a result of wearing an inner hijab, or having worn the hijab for a long time. The notion of a receding hairline can also metaphorically refer to the idea of “aging” or stressing through all the policing that occurs for Muslimah in general, regardless of being veiled or not. 

Read zine online

This story comes from a personal experience regarding choices about the future. It expresses regret, loss and a certain stability of a life path that could have been. 

The metaphor of an estuary, an area where a freshwater river or stream meets the ocean, is used to convey how the mixing of the two bodies of water here are almost impossible, or else “brackish”. Estuary is used as a way to situate how the choices I made have led to living completely separate lives and are unable to mix completely with each other. I also situate this feeling as grieving for the path untaken.

Read zine online

This story is a shared experience endured by Muslimah (situated as Indonesian) as they grow older and the “familial” pressures that are inflicted upon them, thrown around as passive-aggressive nudges or teases. It reflects the Indonesian culture of “caring” for family and family friends, as they often throw around phrases that primarily come with societal expectations. 

It is also worth mentioning that the use of localized language, such as the transformation of the Arabic word salih (pious) into shalihah (localized female pronoun for pious; pronounced saw-li-hah) are also used in this zine to reference the language used to address younger Muslimah. Anak also translates to "child" from Indonesian.

Read zine online

Download the Eyejack Application on your mobile device and scan the QR codes on the zine pages linked above. 

The zines are designed so that they can already be read as they are, but in addition to seeing them as discursive artifacts, using the reskinning technique for MAR experiences (outlined by Ronald Azuma) places the augmented content as an equally significant aspect to presenting a different perspective or an elevated experience. Reading the zine while also given insight to the "hidden" story reframes the artifact as discursive as it furthers and adds to the existing narrative. The questions that arise from this artifact also prompt reflection to the audience that it is mainly tailored to. These can remain as rhetorical questions or as a request for a further course of action.

How does the AR aspect add nuance to the story?

Does it help make transparent narratives that would otherwise be deemed as aib (shameful)? 

How much more dynamic is this experience in representing identity? 

What kind of affordance does AR provide in telling multiple dimensions to the story?

Reading the 'Living on Estuaries' zine through a tablet device

Reading the 'Anak Shalihah' zine through a smart phone device

The MAR technology used for this prototype is Eyejack ( In using this as opposed to creating an AR application in Unity (for example), I demonstrate the accessibility of this technology as a free resource. Making the experience through this application can also be as simple or complex, depending on the story the designer would like to evoke. 

Making of the AR zine

This project is part of the OCADU Digital Futures 'cyberhaze' Online Graduate Thesis Exhibition, 2020. 
More projects are on view at

© Carisa Antariksa 2020