Today we’re in Adelaide, Australia browsing through the book shelf of Krass editor Sanja Grozdanic. Now onto its third issue, Krass continues to blow us away because of its commitment to creating a genderless design language and for loudly and intelligently expressing feminist and queer political concerns. It’s likely that if you haven’t read Krass, you’ve at least admired its typographic covers — the new issue would ensnare a magpie, with its custom brutal, neoclassic typeface printed on a shimmering silver cover.
Krass is worth sitting down with for some time; once you acclimatise to the provocative font choices, its writing by artists, activists and academics are engaging for the defiant and curious.
Sanja founded the magazine with her partner Tess Martin in 2015, and she also works as a freelance writer for titles like DazedDigital. We asked her to pick three publications to share with us today: an old issue, a new issue and one other thing.
An old issue: The Saturday Paper
Rupert Murdoch began his empire in my home-town of Adelaide, where you can’t buy a non-Murdoch owned daily. Our only national daily broadsheet is a Murdoch-owned travesty, and it does as most Murdoch papers do; asks you to fear and isolate one another. Such are our times.
Luckily, we have the Saturday Paper. Blessedly, it publishes writers such as Helen Razer, Maxine Beneba Clarke and Christos Tsiolkas. Its editor, Erik Jensen, is about my age and has also published a book, which makes me consider waving a white flag and giving up immediately, because he really is that good.
This is one of the best Trump covers I saw. Erik Jensen explains: ‘Donald Trump gives face to the ugliness of hate. That is why we have decided not to give him a face. Our front page covers his sneering visage with a void into which hope might be projected.’ My subscription to the Saturday Paper has been one of my better investments.
A new issue: Hook Up #1
Hook Up is a zine by my dear friend Anthony Nocera. It is the product of an experiment with dating apps; it explores strange beds, strange men and that strange twilight zone of fleeting intimacy.
Anthony is very wise and also very funny. He writes: ‘I’ve never been the type of person who thought they needed to be loved or has ever purposefully looked for someone to be with, but while I had dating apps on my phone I found myself checking them every spare moment that I could because the company was nice when it wasn’t horrifying’.
I guess that’s like dating generally – a gamble for the good between the horror. I’ve been buying more zines lately – Vaein Zine by Jonno Revanche is another excellent example on my bookshelf – and finding myself endlessly inspired. Grotowski wrote that the question in life is how to be armed, and in art, disarmed. Zines are truly disarmed; there is no commercial narrative; they’re brave and vulnerable and summon love and solidarity. Reading Hook Up and Vaein reminds me of the intrinsic worth in publishing, creating and collecting.
And another thing: Emotional Map Catalogue
Gerry Wedd is a local ceramicist and this is a catalogue from his incredible exhibition, Kitschen Man. Gerry’s work has humour and politics and heart. It’s cultural critique (example: a pot with an Australian flag that says “Fuck off we’re full”) on clay, no gimmicks, no pretention. Designed by James Brown from Adelaide design studio MASH, part of this catalogue has found its way to my wall, and the other part is on my bookshelf.
I’ve realized as I’ve been writing that I’ve unintentionally gone local in all three choices; and I considered changing – but there is so much talent when you look around you, and it is important to look around you. As the saying goes; locals only.