WHAT DO FUZZY LOGIC, quantum physics and Pop Art have in common?
If I submitted that idea for a talk, would people want to hear it? Late at night. A form, online. Would I send it in? I would.
VOTING. The system I was writing into was a kind of popularity contest. You had to be voted up, and tell your friends to vote for you, and all that craziness that smacks of the things I don’t really like very much (pizzazz over content, so-called style over substance, marketing over delivering a great experience, etc). But anyway. Magically, it did get voted up. Maybe because Research Triangle Park is very nerdy. ‘Fuzzy Quantum Pop’ was the result. Just 5 minutes. A lot of fun. Bit daunting, being my first time talking in my rambly, somewhat esoteric and often obtuse way, in front of so many people. They were lively, though. Receptive.
To me, the conversation is the whole thing, and if the dialogue is good, if there’s a great jam, then whatever happens is just exactly right.
(You really did have to be there to feel the feeling, but this video gives you a sort of a taste of the experience.) So much of what we are about here at DK is creating a certain space for us to explore ideas, together. No one ‘wins’ in the ‘arguments’, and we don’t have a style of debate that is so popular with so many designers (‘let me push my ideas at you.’) Rather, it’s more like a jam session. A call and response. A conversation. Even in college, steps away from the Lincoln Theater (where this talk was presented), Design Kompany’s earliest aim was to foster an open forum style. Our dialogue formats have changed since then, but we’re still at it. Still making space. Salons. Workshops. Online forums…
NEW BOOK. Next month I’m launching a new book, Nostalgia Cà Phê, which is science fiction, and since there are parts of the new work that reminded me of the old notes for FQP, I thought I’d dig it up and share this video, today. (If you already know me pretty well, this will be not surprising at all. High school friends already know about my forays into the sphere with radius Φ. But if we’re just getting started getting acquainted, I think this video is as good an intro as any. Or the book…
A LONG TIME AGO, I used to blog here every single day. This was at a time when WordPress was just coming out, facebook wasn’t a thing yet, and no one had an inkling of what instagram would do to us. Twitter was there, but it was still just for the geeks, and when you wrote the blog, people actually went to it, and left comments. Those were fun times. In fact, the blog was where we found most of our new clients: people somehow, I think, felt that they could trust our open style, and what someone called ‘your transparency.’ Is that what it is, when you write what you mean, and say what you feel, directly? I think it must be. So many facades out there. So many ways of tricking people into clicking something or buying something that doesn’t really fit with their needs, or even add up to what they imagined it would be. We have so many—too many, I feel—ways to be influenced by something we think is one way and want desperately to believe in, but in fact, turns out to be a dud. Why does this happen?
I think I’m learning a little bit this summer about why it happens. I think, for one, we fall in love with a projection of something we feel a lack of, in ourselves. So the marketers are so clever they make it like what they are selling is what you need, exactly. Much like horoscope writing, what they say lacks specificity and the terms are so big and vague and one-size-fits-all-ish that anyone might believe in what they are being told. You try to and come up with something that has real quality to it, and you try to tell people that, and my goodness, you are looked at like you are some kind of Martian. Why? Because people are so used to being sold to that they want, well, they want you to sell it to them. Whatever ‘it’ might be. Every so often, someone says it to me: ‘You need to sell this better, DK,’ for example. I find myself feeling like I did when I wore black jeans, black shoes’ and black t-shirts and zipped around New York City’s Manhattan up and down the roads at my fastest on my very dark green, almost-black bicycle. What the hell do I need to sell it to you for? Look at the damn thing. But no. Not these days. These days it’s, ‘You need a speech.’
Do I need a speech?
‘No, I don’t need a marketing spiel.’
NO. Not for the people I want to connect with. Not for my audience. My audience is people who read long blog posts, like, even this far. They aren’t going to complain to me about how it was ‘TLDR.’ They like quality, they like good thoughtful considered points of view that come out when one is also interested in good, thoughtful, considered points of view and has listened to many others words and wisdoms. I mean, wow. The world. Order. Is so weird now. I feel. I am writing a narrative in my head, though, aren’t I? I’m connecting dots based on a projection of what I feel. That is just as bad as the whole being duped by marketers. Feckin’ hell, really. I mean, we cannot let ourselves get caught in the trap of letting our minds race around in a whirlpool, so fast, so quick, so off the mark from reality, that they consume us and keep us from seeing what’s, in fact, right in front of us.
The pursuit of beauty has, for many, many years been one of the recurring things in this blog that I loved to write about. Back in those days of daily posts, for example, I would write a whole series on this. Or, ‘In Search of Meaning.’ So yeah. ‘In Pursuit of Beauty’ and ISOM became my favorite categories. (Oh. If you’re wondering what happened to the old blog–so am I, kind of. It was downloaded to a laptop so we could refigure what we were gonna do in Asia with DK, and then, wham, that laptop got stolen. And no, the backup… isn’t with us or in the cloud, but some old bits and pieces are probably on some CD somewhere at a friend’s house somewhere, at least, I hope so.)
Our IT lads say the CD is not going to last forever, that the archives that we left will also fade away. Here I could write some kind of poetic soliloquy on ephemera, but I’ll save it for S P A C E guests of ‘Slow Moment‘. (I am blogging publicly, here, but saving my best stuff for S P A C E. Better. We talk in the comments. It’s way more relational that way. A real conversation. Instead of… I don’t know. What is this? Blogging. Erm. One to many.)
I don’t like that. I don’t like… the whole… lurker thing. I mean, if you’re reading and you like this stuff, and you want to say, just say hi!
Here is a form. I will continue this another day. I’m feeling a little corny right now, listening to Finnish pops on the radio and kind of starting to recognize some of the repeating artists. What I always get a kick out of is when the songs come on from the 80s and 90s. Roxette, for example. Look Sharp! I remember! And so much Phil Collins. And Michael Jackson. And Tina Turner. Then there’s A-Ha, which is lovely, and more stuff. The Finnish rap is fun, too. I am enjoying all of this bundling of various; it’s refreshing, and a change from where I usually live. Which is, uh. Currently: Destination Unknown.
Atelier S P A C E is a conversation space-making project.
The outcome is a set of zines. See the issues previously published in our online store.
Each set is themed based on emergent conversations with new people in new places, whose paths might not have otherwise have crossed.
By designing a unique moment for people to participate in a chance to share new input and fresh perspectives with one another, in real life, in a hosted salon, we are carving opportunities to make meaning, together.
Zines (and why we love zines)
WHAT IS A ZINE? A zine is an inexpensively produced, often photocopied, limited edition run of self-published works that are usually distributed by hand. People make zines to express themselves (for example a love of a certain band), or to dive deep into other very particular niche areas of interest. It’s a wacky, worldwide culture
WHY ZINES? We use the zine form because it simplifies an otherwise overwhelming process. Publishing starts with ideation, and theme development, then design and of course production. That can be a lot. To make it bite-sized, we’re using the zines, which are easy to assemble on-the-spot.
SO FAR. Since Sept. 2017, we’ve hosted these zinemaking popups in: Battambang and Phnom Penh in Cambodia, Penang and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Bangkok in Thailand, and at the time of this writing we are in-progress with photozines in Helsinki and Kärsämäki in Finland.For Atelier S P A C E, DK are making zines in short runs to distribute to: the people who make them with us, their friends, and our own slowly growing, international network.
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