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The Pop Manifesto No. 7

Aussie webzine founders discuss bi-hemisphere collaboration, their DIY publishing ethos and site-crashing mixtapes

by Ami Kealoha in Culture on 14 July 2010

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In its most recent incarnation, The Pop Manifesto hovers between its origins as a 'zine and tastemaking publication that traces the leading edge of graphic design. Focusing on Japan, the latest issue includes both a round up of under-the-radar creative Tokyoites and Diet Butcher Slim Skin, the Kanye-approved menswear designer.

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Its Australian founders, editor Ilirjana Alushaj and art director Karl Maier, started the publication five years ago as a way spotlight the talents of the people around them. (Alushaj fronts the Brooklyn band Apache Beat and Maier is member of the art collective Rinzen . "I think we've always thought of the Pop Manifesto as more of a 'zine than a "magazine," Maier tells CH, "and I feel like this direction grew out of that mindset, injecting a bit of considered chaos into the whole affair."

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With Alushaj in New York City and Maier in Melbourne, the editorial and art work a hemisphere apart, but their confidence in each other wavers little. "We've have odd hour-ed conversations and panicked emails, but Karl and I really trust each other and it is rare we don't like something one of us is doing," Alushaj says.

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Heavy downloads of its first mixtape (curated by Romy Croft of the XX) devoured bandwidth, essentially shutting down the website until last week. "I've always loved making and listening to mixtapes and wanted to offer to readers of the Pop Manifesto something similar," Alushaj explains, "[Croft] was psyched as I was to do it."

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The mixtape is in spirit with the publication's DIY-attitude, sparked by a camaraderie of sharing instead of the call of hard-nosed journalism. This ethic remains largely unchanged; seasoned writers, photographers and others contribute without pay. "The Pop Manifesto is a small project we mainly do for love," Alushaj explains. "So, we have certain limitations, but we are trying our best to make things amazing."

Check out the new issue and download the free mixtape on their site.

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