After a near lifetime of patronising reminders heralding the death of the print medium, the launch of Krass Journal was nothing less than a brazen middle finger to the ever-cynical journalism industry.
Journalists by trade, Sanja Grozdanic and Tess Martin designed Krass Journal to be savoured, pondered over and questioned by its’ readers; a sharp distinction from the production line of mindless content coming from many other news media and magazines.
‘I hate reading on an iPad, or a Kindle, or whatever you call it,’ Sanja says. ‘When you discover a line that you love, how do you mark it down and return to it? How do you highlight? Where do you underline?’
Wedged between an undying love for the print medium and a substantial amount of wine, the aptly named publication was born in defiance of blaspheming minimalists who no longer believe in the function of bookcases and bookmarks.
‘Krass,’ Sanja says, ‘is a German slang term, meaning cool, tough or wicked. It is a word we appropriated as an antidote to the slick and saccharine.’
Sanja says that the spirit of Krass Journal is best encapsulated by Kurt Vonnegut’s description of Phoebe Hurty, quoted in the introductory pages. Stamped across an unadorned sheet in unflinchingly large, black lettering, she is described as ‘impolite in conversation not only about sexual matters, but about American History and famous heroes, about the distribution of wealth, about school, about everything.’
‘We hope to be impolite about many things; some of them fun, some of them serious,’ Sanja says.
A written insignia of the journal’s very philosophy, the quote demonstrates early on that Krass is unafraid to set sail amidst the murky waters of controversy and critical thought. However, rather than compiling a bunch of articulately hateful rants about the government or inciting an anarchist movement, the key weapon with which Krass Journal navigates and combats contentious issues is that of questions.
‘Today I’m wondering what on earth the National Programme for Excellence in Arts is, just how pretentious it is to add an unnecessary ‘me’ to the ‘program’, and what kind of art a man who believes in our right to be bigots will be funding,’ Sanja says. ‘I’m not sure what exact questions we should be asking, but I believe that we should be asking more of them and louder.’
In this spirit of curiosity and refusal of ignorance, the Krass Journal is centred on interviews. There are thought-provoking essays and a good deal of beautifully curated photography, but it is dialogue; confronting and raw; that underpins the many pages of Krass Journal.
‘We are forever humbled and inspired by the incredible range of human beings who are open to talking about their life and work,’ Sanja says.
The interviewees in issue one were exceptional, defiant; they each had something to say which challenged the dominant paradigm in diverse ways.
With issue two in the works, the line-up of interviewees for the next edition is looking stellar, with world-renowned philosopher and social activist Noam Chomsky on the register!
‘I hate exclamation marks – but this one is warranted,’ Sanja says. ‘Chomsky is a legitimately busy man – busy in the actual sense, not in the way millennials use it as a humblebrag – and yet there he goes, accepting interview requests from an independent magazine in Australia.’
Tess and Sanja are not alone in the unforgiving sea of independent publishing. ‘We are lucky enough to be joined in our venture by a designer called Simon Pearce of Frame Creative who is both talented and endlessly patient; a rare meeting,’ Sanja says. ‘This has made the whole process infinitely easier and more enjoyable.’
With a range of talented contributing writers and photographers, Tess and Sanja plan to write for the critical and curious reader.
‘So many publications underestimate their reader. We hope to do the opposite,’ Sanja says. ‘We hope that our readers hold us to a high standard, whilst understanding that we are new to the game. We hope our readers stay with us and trust that we’ve got bigger things up our sleeve.’
To check out Krass Journal or order a copy for yourself, click here.