S P A C E | Malaysia

DK’s Atelier S P A C E | KL happened in spring and fall 2018.

COMING AND GOING in Malaysia in 2018. A new thing is starting. A new small circle.

Zinemaking is part of it, but m ore than that, it’s ‘showing up.’ Big thanks to those of you who took part in our popups in KL in both the spring and just this past September, in the series Atelier S P A C E had hosted in an ad hoc style, more or less. But we’re getting less disorganized… if that’s a way to say it. I can’t say that we’re getting more organized. But it’s true we’re getting less disorganized. That I can say.

Many things to follow. (Were you in KL and didn’t get a chance to join us? It’s not that we’re going to do this indefinitely–S P A C E is moving around and changing all the time, and we’re going on the road again soon. But if there’s interest, we make a thing happen. Did you miss our previous stuff in KL? I’m putting things together in a roundup post, here. So that, you know, you can see that it happens. It’s a thing. Thanks to MM for the pics, and more to follow, there on that page, and in the active spaces of  our S P A C E forums too.

You know who you are.

See you there.

‘Hello again’

PHNOM PENH, it’s nice to see you.

Blogging, writing, conversing, connecting, and sharing–but slowly, small steps, this time. Meet me in the conversation spaces of  S P A C E. Looking through the photo archives since 2014, when DK first arrived in Siem Reap with no idea whatsoever that we’d be making Phnom Penh a base for the next four years. A long story. Writing, revising. Sharing, learning: but like I said, slowly, quietly, and in whispers, with very small circles. A new quiet space, a new, loose, light and less-public facing growth.

To be continued.

Phnom Penh // Photo by Dipika Kohli // DK 2018
DK’s first commissioned work in Phnom Penh was the brand identity design for NUK Cafe // DK 2014
The Book of Ennui // DK 2016
Chhunny Noem (right) and Akira Morita at the popup art show ‘Distracte’ at Mère Café, Phnom Penh // DK 2016
Book of Time // DK 2017
Zines
‘Book of Time’ popup atelier in Phnom Penh // DK 2016
Reading from Breakfast // DK 2016
Guests at the launch of Dipika Kohlil’s book, ‘Breakfast in Cambodia’ at TINI // DK 2016
’16N’ started in Phnom Penh with ‘N’: NORMALITY // Photo courtesy KGM 2014
‘Excerpts of Note’ // DK 2016-7, London and Phnom Penh
Studio on Street 63 in Phnom Penh // DK 2014

Relationships matter, and this is why, according to systems thinker George Vickers

‘Human contacts are dangerous [because] they matter so much, and no one knows how much they matter. Even the most trivial meeting makes a difference, slight or lasting, to one or both.

George Vickers, profiled in a book on systems thinking, makes it clear in his writing that it’s up to each of us to decide to make paying attention to the human relationships we’re involved in, in passing or more in depth, a priority—because they matter. And much, much more than we think.

‘Intimate contacts make heaven and hell, they can heal and tear, kill and raise from the dead. These contacts are the fields in which we succeed or fail. I believe they matter far more than anything else in life.

‘What we are is written on the people whom we have met and known, touched, loved, hated and passed by. It is the lives of others that testify for or against us, not our own.’

–George Vickers, systems thinker, quoted in the academic text Systems Thinkers (Sprinter: Rampage, Shipp, London, 2009)

(HT EJ. Thanks for the book!)

Excerpt from ‘Serendipities’

The formation of the most perfected words, the most meaningful, the most philosophical, in the fullest sense of the world occurs unfailingly in periods of ignorance and simplicity. The onomathurgical talent is invariably disappearing as we descend towards the civilized and scientific eras. In all the writings that appear in our time on this most interesting subject, there is nothing but an invocation of a philosophical language, and without knowing indeed without suspecting, that the most philosophical language is that in which philosophy is least mingled. The latter lacks too little faculties to create words. Intelligence to invent them, and authority to have them adopted. Does philosophy see a new object? It will go and leaf through its dictionaries to find an ancient or foreign term, and always the enterprise comes to a bad end. Montgolfiere, for example, which is used throughout the country, is correct in at least one sense. And I prefer it to aero state, which is a scientific term but suggests nothing. You could just as well call a ship hydrostatic. Observe the invasion of new words borrowed from the Greek over the last 20 years, gradually, as crimes or madness demanded them. More or less of them are formed erroneously, they are self contradictory. Theophiloanthrophists, for example, is a term more foolish than the thing in itself, which is saying plenty. A simple English or German scholar would have been led to say on the contrary. Theanthpophile. You will reply that this world was invented by wretches in a wretched age, and yet the terminology of chemistry, which was surely created by invited men, begins precisely with the lowest sort of solecism.

Poetics of Space

oxygen

When they should say, instead, oxygon.

I am not a chemist, but I have excellent teasons to believe that honest terminology is destined to vanish. The fact remains in all case that from a philosophical and grammatical point of view it would be the most unhappy imaginable if the prize for barbarism were not contested and wrested away by the metric vocabulary.

p. 138-140 from the chapter, ‘The Linguistics of Joseph De Maistre’, Serendipities, Umberto Eco

International post

DK ARE GETTING READY to go to the post office. It’s been a little while since we’ve offered some of our work for sale, and this is the first time we are sharing in the post selections of our new S P A C E limited-edition printed zines. Get a four-pack of zines from our brand new series, S P A C E || Finland. Everything was made on the spot here in the middle of northern Finland, plus a few other spots like Helsinki, and built from real stories shared with us by people whose paths we happened to cross, in the project we have been doing since last Sept. that is called Atelier S P A C E.

Order before August 28 to be sure to get a hold of this one-time special offer.

(We can’t really guarantee postal service will work as well where we are going, next. But Scandinavia, yes. Order today and we’ll put aside a 4-pack with your name on it. If you want to send S P A C E as a gift to someone, just tell us whom to address our personalized letter when we put together the package. Order here.

 

S P A C E || Threads

THE SUMMER STARTED with just a simple question, ‘What are the threads?’

Telling the stories, sharing the narratives, making the necklace, and developing the voice. All of this happens in the space of conversations. Where you discover something new about, say, someone else, but also, in the process of simply opening up and seeing what you might say to someone you are beginning to get to know, what you find out, too, about yourself.

 

Art starts when you see it

The series of zines, in S P A C E.

We’ve been writing quite a lot and thinking even more, but finding out that at the end of these long journeys, sometimes, where you arrive, is where you started. And you are less tired, because along the way of hat along circle of sewing the new pieces, you have let go of dead things and discovered new space. Quality starts with wanting it.

Letting go, moving forward, picking up the new, and arriving at the next. That is where we are. That is what is newly beginning. A freshness, and a richness, and a complexity. Will share everything in the new zine, ‘A Summer Love Story.’

S P A C E || Pappila popup

YESTERDAY EVENING.

Did a popup art installation here in Kärsämäki. Zines. Sketches. Magazines. Collage.

Three people put stuff together with DK’s zines and we made a tea room out of the front porch.

There are literally like 23,004 tea cups, saucers and related in the kitchen here. I think this place was originally the kind of spot you could stop in, whenever you felt like a chat or the need to unburden, and have a cup of tea.

Or twelve.

The Pappila Popup was fun.

It looked like this:

Popup at Papilla // DK 2018
Zines and magazines // DK 2018

This all started when about 4PM, I noticed a bunch of people beginning to turn up. Cars everywhere, suddenly it felt like the parking lot of some kind of a carnival. Then, there began a parade of *taxis*. Taxis out here in rural northern Finland are *giant.* They are bigger than minivans. They are serious things, elephantesque but black and yellow, that look like 12 people would be inside but then, only 2 emerge.

This whole thing was a ‘happening,’ as they say here in Finland. The actual happening happened to be a music concert. I’d heard about it since I got here–music, concert, August. But given the relatively small turnouts for most things I’ve been to now, I just had no idea there would be some 100+ people popping in. My hunch is that people
drove from far and very far (no big deal in Finland to take on long, long road trips, ‘Thanks for the offer to stay, but why would I need to overnight? It’s only 140km from here.’) They came to hear the music of Arja Korieseva — Elämäni Laulut. Glad to see so many people looking happy and enjoying themselves, the music, and the sun. And a few who popped in to say ‘hei’ and join us for tea. (Kiitos! You know who you are. Hyvää. JooHT Kaltio Magazine, At Johan’s, and Kattilakosken Kulttuuriosuuskunta.)

Secret event ‘Kesämuisto’ *happened* in Kärsämäki

Thanks! We had nice time and a private event. Come and view the zines on display through the end of August.

DK’s newest zines to be released at a launch party *soon* at At Johan’s KesäKahvila

 

‘Will you come to Oulu or Helsinki?’

YES. The first stop will be 16 August at Oulu Arts Night and then 29 August we’ll host ‘N’ Helsinki.

Read more >

Next up: Hei Kesä at Oulu Arts Night. Checkit!

 

 

A big blind date for just 16, in Helsinki, and just once

Tickets for ‘N’ Helsinki

OUR TRAVELING series 16N is next stopping in Helsinki. It’s a big blind date for just 16 people. (Who will be there? That’s the whole magic of it. The thing is a giant *surprise*.) It’s by invitation. Ask us for an invite, when you follow the story, here: http://designkompany.com/16n

29 August | ‘N’ Helsinki: NEUROSIS

LET’S TALK ABOUT IT. Neurosis.

In more than 50 conversations to date with people on the bus, on the street, in cafes, at pubs, passing through the town, looking left, discovering something, sitting still, not speaking, in libraries, distancing themselves, and telling me in some form or fashion that DK’s comics about this place remind them of ‘Finnish nightmares, and that I should look that up,’ well, in 99% of them, something uniquely common has popped up as a thing that everyone wants to tell to a total stranger. Maybe it’s because there can’t be judgment around it, or the fact that they’ll never see us here in Finland again. Maybe that’s why there’s an ease to it: the simple act of divulging personal data that, hey, were we to be living together as neighbors from hence forth, they wouldn’t ever, ever share. The thing is this. Mental disorders. As much as I want to share more about all the various things I’ve heard, I am not going to do that here, in this public space of the blog. Instead, I’ll collect the impressions and stories and 16 random people in Helsinki, and share at ‘N’ Helsinki: NEUROSIS, in the end of August when the time in Finland for Design Kompany’s team here comes to a close.

WHAT IS N? A conversation. A salon. A real life magic moment. For those whose paths cross DK’s, by sheer randomness, chance, and sometimes, internet discovery. I’m looking for people I don’t know—I’m engaging and connecting with some of you, here on the internet, and others, in real life. If you are in Helsinki or will be, you think, towards the end of August, hit me up. Or better yet, investigate on your own what I’m going to do by following the links at ’16N.’ We are just starting to make the move here, on showing up for ‘N’ here in Finland. It would be fascinating to see if we find all 16 people to make a ‘go’ of a thing that, honestly, wouldn’t be what it is were it not for 16 people taking a risk, showing up, and making magic together. A big blind date. Why not say yes? Read more about how to play 16N and then, if it’s a fit, I’ll invite you to register.

Affirmations

WHAT A FUN DAY.

I didn’t know that we would get together with the small group that we did for our event, but wow. We did. People had warned me: ‘Don’t expect too much; it’s a small town.’ I never expect anything, these days. I mean, with the conversation salons that I host that have such esoteric titling as ‘Rooftop Philosophy,’ for example, or ‘Beauty: what is it, who gets to decide?’ or, hey, this really happened, ‘The Book of Time,’ I never expect anyone

‘The Book of Time’ salon // Photo by DK 2016

to come. But they do. Occasionally, they do.

And when they do, when they self-select to become part of ‘the experience’ as I think of S P A C E now, when I talk about it to my close associates and friends and mentors and when I begin to form budding partnerships with people who are also in the same line of work as me (making space for remarkable connexion), then yeah. It happens… we talk about what brought us out of our daily lives and into the shape of space that lets us slow for a moment, take the time out from the usual, and discover something about ourselves—together. It’s nice.

It really has been a pleasurable day of conversations and slow moments. Even with the new rain. A respite from the heat wave (?) that we were having here in Finland. (Did I say ‘we?’ Hm. How easily I adapt to wherever I am.)

New things.

But.

By invitation only.

From here on, rather than hosting something and asking lots of people to come, and wondering if they will, the new angle will be much more personal. I guess it’s always been more ‘us’ that way, really. The parties in the nineties in Raleigh, for example. Or after that, in West Cork, then Seattle, then Durham NC. The salons in Phnom Penh, Bangkok, and a smidge of stuff to begin, perhaps, in Kuala Lumpur. And of course smatterings of things in Scandinavia–where I find myself returning (Sweden, Denmark, now Finland. Norway is next, isn’t it.)

Personal connection, though. Is what we’re into. And we used to do that more. Calling. Writing letters, even. Remember? All of that stuff we used to do before it got social media-y and less ‘call me and I’ll be there’-ish.

Now, returning to the past.

Style.

Of reaching out to just a handful of people, one person at a time, and inviting them to just exactly the kinds of things that DK’s Akira Morita and Dipika Kohli together feel would make sense. For them. In very small circles we can get more deep and more conversational, more quickly. I prefer small scales, really. Small is lovely. You have a good time. You’re making something, together, on the spot, and you’re getting to participate more when there are fewer people. As a host, I like it this way. Super opt-in. Relaxed. Low-key.

Taking the concepts, learning, gatherings, and growth and creating more moments for others to connect in remarkable ways. The shape of which we call S P A C E. Installations like today remind us not to quit. Not yet.

Because there is still learning.

And the learning is good.

Special thanks to Cafe Onni and guests today at Hei Kesä.