THIS MONTH in S P A C E, DK are sharing the new collection, Circumference. It’s a selection of short articles DK had first shared in our eZine S P A C E. The pieces were written from January through December, 2016, the ‘Year of the Circle.’ During that time, DK explored big questions with our members in S P A C E, together delving into ideas about what it means to become part of ’round and not square relationships.’
What came out of that is what is inside these pages. You’ll get to enjoy a Q&A with a software designer in Leipzig who gave us the rundown on ‘How to start anything,’ plus ‘Remarks on Noteworthiness,’ a miniature report from behind-the-scenes of what it was like to create the space for ‘N’ London: NOTEWORTHINESS, which asked 16 strangers to convene at the National Theatre on a cold day on November 2016 to talk about ‘What’s remarkable? Why do we think so?’ Streams of consciousness from Kismuth Books. And a note about things found, and lost, in Phnom Penh. A medley, culminating with the new kind of writings to emerge in 2018: a transmission from the fourth dimension, ‘20804d.’
Generally, the series in ‘Year of the Circle’ pursues this line of query: What are some ways that we can do our work better, together?
Download it here.
HERE IS A QUICK outline of what’s happening in April and May, in case you feel like applying to join DK in one of our new writing streams. Things have evolved since the 2014 cojournal, with the new suite of stories unfolding at Design Kompany’s active spaces just for conversations in forums to evolve, progress, and develop. Some of what’s new for just-beginning with DK is outlined below. We are especially interested in hearing new voices, so if you are new to DK this year, we are interested in hearing from you. Scholarships are available for anything for the right candidates.
Three new tracks for April & May workshops
- SELF. SELF IS AN online workshop: this time, we’re focusing on the ideas of composition and sketching out the ‘who do I want to become’ question. This track is inspired by the work of Kandinsky. Another section, focusing instead on ‘how am I feeling now?’ questions, is inspired by Nin. Both are just underway so you can join us this week to be included in the new cohort for the 12-week programme. I’ll send you the orientation pack. The first prompt goes out Monday. SELF is USD $160. The artist’s way, the creative process, exploring the composition: that’s what we’ll be doing this time in both tracks. It’s for people who are in transition, who are curious about a new way of taking a good look at personal values and clarifying next steps. Built from a past career as brand designers, at Design Kompany, and working on, uh, a bunch of memoirs, hey! We are going to share more about that with anyone who decides to apply this week; learn more about SELF and how to apply at this page.
- MIRROR SECTION Z is also happening, starting 23 April, by application. If you missed it in January, this is your chance to get ‘in’ on some of what people have been calling ‘astonishing,’ and ‘an opportunity.’. THE MIRROR Z is USD $160-200. Find out more here
- COJOURNAL18. Next Cojournal is also coming into play, from 7 May. It’s 8 weeks or 12 weeks of writing to prompts designed to get us creatively engaged, and accountable, with and to one another. Limited seats. Application required. USD $120-$160. More here.
New ways of connecting, in S P A C E
Making the best use of the interactive form that is the blog, we are now:
- Conversing with people in the S P A C E community through weekly prompts and new forums, which have passwords and stuff to keep things intimate.
- These are the current active spaces.
- New subscribers to S P A C E will get the first dibs on exclusives. Subscribe here.
- View all upcomings
Check it out! ✨
ADVICE to young artists, this time from photographer Chuck Close. (A detail of one of his giant, floor-to-ceiling self-portraits is clipped above.) Very cool technically, if you have a chance to see these sometime, I recommend it. Also, Close is all about process, One particular quote about getting down to work popped to mind after the interview above. Here’s what Close said:
‘The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you.
‘If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction.
‘Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.’—Chuck Close [Hat tip SS]
This originally appeared in the ‘Last Word’ section of our eZine S P A C E.
Two dates. April 25, and May 25. Follow the instructions on this page to find out what is going on, the agenda, and meet point for this twice-off event in Kuala Lumpur. (Friends of Design Kompany will have a pretty good idea of it if you’ve heard us talk about ‘N’.)
‘Well, you know I can’t really judge. I’ve been doing the same thing all day.’
‘I mean, if it was ten years ago, and MA and I were hanging out having our meetups on Tuesdays like we used to, all those many lovely weeks, I think… we would have turned it into something similar. Co-worky and everything. I’m sure of it, actually, now that I think about it. But we didn’t because we didn’t have that technology. Instead we talked. A lot, really. And those were memories I treasure from those days.’
‘You guys did that regularly. Every..’
‘Tuesday at ten. At Vicky T’s. I really got to know her over those chats. Something about showing up, regularly, over time. All those weeks, those doodling sessions, conversations, just letting things come up as they wanted to. Not forcing it.. .making the time for one another. Just us, that was nice. It’s actually the only thing I miss about Seattle. And JB, of course. JB, for sure.”
‘And yeah, now that I think about it… it IS weird. Co-worky office-y over dinner with laptops, phones, and wine, and food, and phones, and phones and laptops and texts…’
‘Sometimes I’m just glad I was born when I was. But then again, like I said, I did do the whole computing thing all day. So I can’t judge.’
‘And yeah. I’m about to go do that, now.’
‘You could just stay here, and do it.’
‘I could. Stay here. Yeah. I will do that.’
‘See you, then. After everything.’
*emails* ‘That was fun, hanging out!’
*emails* ‘See you in a few hours!’
This is 6/100 in the series 100 conversations.
HERE ARE SOME of the programmes where we are seeking collaborators, applicants, and partners.
MAKING OUR WAY TO N. EUROPE in the coming weeks to host Atelier S P A C E around and about in Finland. This means starting the process of following up on all the general notes we had shared towards that part of the world in 2017. DK are seeking:
- assistant staff
- layout artists
- design studio partners
- art book publishing partners
- zine afficinados
- jazz club owners
- cafe owners
- library coordinators
- self-initiating others to do _____
for a popup, traveling zinemaking atelier series, Atelier S P A C E.
CURIOUS? This page outlines how we are making proposals for partnering with people for an installation in Phnom Penh. Open to your suggestions on how to:
- discover and engage with new people in creative, and other fields
- so that we can design
- occasions, experiences, ateliers and salons that
- get us all out of our boxes and usual routines
- to discover the world, to listen to each other, and to play
- in truly remarkable ways
- one conversation at a time.
Yes? Ask me for the PDF that outlines our offer, and the ethos and method of Atelier S P A C E, in detail. Use this form to reach me:
STARTING THIS WEEK, we are sharing the updates to the journey of Atelier S P A C E. through a new mailing list. I wanted to just acknowledge all the very many people I have met who have been a part of this, so far. Thank you, you know who you are.
It’s about us connecting in person, for a chat, a conversation, and a chance to write or photograph or draw. Together, on the spot. Part of the time I realize I was overthinking this. Overdesigning, too. It got out of hand, I fully admit that. What’s important to is to persist, and insist, as I do, that short form works are great for starting what is hard: starting. All if the creative process that comes out of the starting is going to be what it is, sure. But… Did we make a start at a thing? Atelier S P A C E asks you to take a chance, do a little jam, play a little tune, but instead of with music, with words.
We are still at it, still making zines. Next stop: Finland.
Not that we are ‘zinesters,’ but, it’s been fun to play with the photocopier and make these. A few from Sept.. 2017-March 2018. Sharing through tomorrow at our popup installation, Zinery & Finery, at DK World HQ in Phnom Penh.
This originally appeared on our blog in 2016, and more recently, in S P A C E as a conversation-starting prompt. Amazing things came from that thread, so I wanted to share it here. Mostly for EC.
AUSTRIAN-BORN architect Christopher Alexander says in Notes on Synthesis and Form, that achieving a “frictionless coexistence” between a thing you’re making and what’s around it is the goal for every problem. The premise of this book is that “good fit” between a form and its context is key to good design. (This “frictionless coexistence” stuff reminds me of a story someone tried to explain to me in Japan when I was a high school exchange student in the boonies of Tochigi prefecture. “In Japan,” he tried to tell me gently though neither of us spoke too many words of the other’s language, “people have to get along, right? Because there are a lot of us in a small amount of space? So, it’s like this… you have all these people all next to each other, like this, and you want everyone to go smoothly around each other. Like this. Round and not square, see? And the idea? The idea is that no one disturbs anyone else, because we’re all moving easily without smashing anything up.”)
Open the first page of Notes. It says:
Every design problem begins with an effort to achieve fitness betweeen two entities: the form in question and its context. The form is the simple solution to the problem, the context defines the problem. In other words, when we speak of design, the real objective of discussion is not the form alone, but the ensemble comprising the form and its context.–Christopher Alexander, Notes on Synthesis and Form
I have this nagging suspicion that most designers don’t really do a lot of thinking about the context. A problem that’s not new, it seems:
Today (1968) functional problems are becoming less simple all the time. But designers rarely confess their inability to solve them. Instead, when a designer does not understand a problem clearly enough to find the order it really calls for, he falls back on some arbitrarily chosen formal order. The problem, because of its complexity, remains unsolved. —Ibid
Here it is… ‘Some arbitrarily chosen formal order.’ This is what the book I’m reading right now (perhaps you’ll want to join another conversation, a discussion), Lila (by Robert Pirsig) argues, too. People just fall back on what’s already been done, according to… What the herd does. Status quo. ‘The problem, because of its complexity, remains unsolved.’
I wonder what you think? Why is this so, if it is, I am curious. What questions does this provoke, for you? Open format, today. No formal order… 😉
On Saturday I’ll be here hosting the #8 edition of ‘Rooftop Philosophy in Phnom Penh.’ Where time has literally stopped. Expect the unexpected, and come see. More info at our website, see ‘Upcomings’. This time I’ll kick things off with what the bright physicist HL told me, about holography, time and space being one thing, and the three levels of intelligence in civilizations. Wish she could join us but good thing I took notes. ✨🗒
It has been four years since we began publishing our eZine, S P A C E. Which runs the gamut of topics relating to creating new, and better space, mostly the kinds that foster interpersonal dialogues that progress in a meaningful way. That doesn’t have to mean lifetime friendship, or anything. Just… It has to be real. Space for new thinking. New perspectives. New journeys, collaborations and friendships. New, though. New matters. New is where we push the edge, try new things, and grow. Meet me in S P A C E? Let’s play.
‘’YOU SHOULD GO.’
’I should! But I don’t like to do things just because of shoulda. You know that.’
’I do. But I also know you like short films.’
’I do! I remember getting on a train from Chiba just to go into the city to watch the Tokyo International Film Festival. The short films, those were really… weird and interesting! Sometimes art school films are really bad, though. I know that. It’s a risk. You can’t have it all. But those kids cartoons the other day, those were fantastic. I really loved ‘Cube’ and ‘Tokri,’ those were… really good. I really cried and everything on some of these things. I did. It’s fine to get emotional watching film. Film can move us. I guess all art can, if it resonates. Now who am I talking to, here. I wonder about that, sometimes. But art making: its purpose, its definition, its boundaries… these are questions that go out the window when you just experience something… something that makes you feel something. Something noteworthy, you could say. But of course it’s subjective, based on the experiences we each have. And now I sound like a sound byte, or someone’s really bad Medium tirade, that they want to sound philosophical and beautiful and poignant, but which reads like, you know, bad copy. Bad art, and bad copy… those are there. But you can’t let the prospect of bad art get in the way of going and trying to find your way towards the unexpected. Right? I mean, right?’
’But it’s so hot out. And I’m so tired of the noises, and I just want to be alone, you know?’
’Being in the theatre, that’s how you used to be alone. Remember?’
’Wait. how do you know? Who are you, anyway?’
’Are you telling me that I should just go ahead and make myself walk over to Sorya Mall, and go see this thing?’
’Do what you want. But don’t make excuses, like it’s too hot. Hotness is part of life in Asia.’
’Yeah, that’s true.’
’How was it!’
’OMG. I’ve never seen… Well, let me just find it for you. On YouTube. Oh, here it is… Watch this.’
FIVE OF US. Wrote a poem together.
And I’m going to send it to just the five of us, and that’s it.
It’s called A Song for Jean Rhys.
Jean Rhys inspired the work, in a big way, of hosting The Mirror.
Writing needn’t be about mass producing, or selling, or convincing, or debunking. Sometimes, writing can just be about sharing. Making a quiet space, and letting that be enough. Enough. Letting things slow and experiencing this here, this now, is enough… What if that could be a philosophy?
Asia for five years now. You let go a little bit of the old programmes. I know I’ve written that somewhere before, but it isn’t a bad thing to underscore it. Letting go of the programmes. To see, finally, when we can make space, to be together for a time, to listen and to share, that’s neat. That’s being here, being here now. Some people who have mentored me have shown me the ways to try to include the quiet spaces in my everyday, and indeed, to let them take the center stage. Stillness. Quieting. I’m living next to temples. I’m learning to stay the journeys now, without abruptly quitting a person, time, or place. But… Selectively. The small poem is ‘A Song for Jean Rhys.’ It isn’t for sharing here, but there, in our closed circle, where things have gone from small and simple maybe things to wow, this is good, this is right things. Is this intimacy?… is this beauty? Is this the whole thing of Art?
SOME DISTANT DAY. Big questions, but we don’t have to resolve anything. Rilke said, to the young poet, don’t ask so many questions, but let yourself live your way toward the answers… Of course he said it better, but it’s past midnight and the scrap of paper I had written it on is, oh, no, wait! I typed it! In Cameron Highlands! Here… Indexed, searched… found:
Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves… Do not… seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.’ —Rilke’s letters to a young poet
‘THAT WAS GREAT.’
‘It’s good that we can still talk. A good conversation!’
‘It is. It was.’
‘About so many kinds of things! It keeps it new. I like that.’
‘I do, too.’
‘I think… I think that what’s really interesting is when you can have the old things and the new things, together.’
‘I was talking about this the other day, when I was telling you I had such a great conversation jam? That was really fun, and you know, there are more things to talk about, all the time, as we go, because the talking towards some kind of discovery, even with the limitation of language as that is there, you know Niels Bohr said—‘
‘Who you love to quote.’
‘Who I love to quote! Who I love!, and yeah, he said, “We are suspended in words.”‘
‘I think that S P A C E and writing like this is about suspension.’
‘Everybody thinks they want stuff to be grounded, you know. Clear. Crazy clear and understandable, the bullet-point list. The one-pager. But… We also like to curiously float off sometimes, too. No one admits this out loud! I mean you can’t. It’s crazy talk.’
‘But what you said, earlier, and last night, and everything. That was good. That was helpful. Informative.’
‘That was! Thanks.’
‘So we’re not fighting now.’
‘I like that we could skip over all the stuff we used to do, like sit around and process all the line-by-line stuff. I think I was just tired. And sick. I’ve been so sick. And all these papers, everywhere. And yeah. I’ve got to make a whole batch of zines, S P A C E || Malaysia has Ipoh, Cameron, Melaka, Penang, and Kuala Lumpur… And I’m only two-fifths done… And…’
‘Productivity isn’t the point.’
‘The journey is.’
‘Yes. But that is so… Philosophical and everything. But it is. The journey.’
‘So, where’s next?’
Join us in S P A C E for more conversations. This month, we are giving away to new subscribers a PDF copy of Dipika Kohli’s book, Breakfast in Cambodia (Kismuth Books // 2016). It’s also available here.
‘So, like, what was on it.’
‘My files, huh. All of my files. Oh, man. The templates. For the zines. And the posters. For the zines… Oooh.’
‘Did you make a backup?’
*sheepishly* ‘Of my profile. Yeah.’
‘I know I should have made some backups. But wow. All of that stuff? Gone?’
‘I guess I’ll have to use my cracked iPad and keyboard without the little bit in it to keep the batteries in because I lost it on T’s boat, he was there, it was funny, I had to suddenly go to the airport and stuff because I got the day wrong, one day earlier, was the real day, and you told me that, and we were talking remember and there was a lot of food I forgot to clean up really and then time was short and you know how hard it is trying to find a little round metal thingy on a boat? It’s hard.’
‘You can get a new keyboard.’
‘No, I kind of like this. Foil works. And K. cleaned it off rather nicely, with that damp cloth that you got annoyed about.’
‘Do you want to buy some more stuff? Like a computer or laptop or something?’
‘No, no. Too expensive and heavy. Maybe I’ll just get a job at some design studio. And use their InDesign to lay out my zines, when I’m not working or something. Or maybe there’s an Internet cafe with the software, fast wifi, fast processor, air conditioning. Then again, those Internet cafes in Malaysia were kind of hit and miss. I didn’t enjoy the gambling and porn. And kids. So many kids.’
‘So you can buy a computer?’
‘You can raise funds. You know that.’
‘How? Ask people to pay for my computer so I can lay out zines that are made with other people I don’t know in small circles, at cities I haven’t been to before, or yet, and discovered stories on the ground, about, and co-created mini-zines in 8-page folded A4?’
‘That sounds pretty good, actually.’
‘Yeah! Do it.’
‘Guess I could try. It’s a lot further along than when we left the United States, isn’t it? When it was like, We wanna go around the world making dialogue round tables!’
‘Even though that’s exactly what we did.’
6/100. Join us in S P A C E. So we can send you a weekly zine about who we’ve met and what we’ve learned, together. And in 500 weeks or something we can buy some serious equipment to replace the stuff that will, no doubt, also somehow ‘go missing.’ To the journeys, and sunk costs. ✨
‘NO, BUT I COULDN’T do that. it would intrude on the intimacy of the space.’
‘But if you recorded it! Then there would be… A sonic element. Which is so easy to do, now.’
‘SO WHAT’S UP with this Section thing?’
‘Section B, you said. For the thing that is coming up next.’
‘Mirror Section B. Yes. This mirror I found, metaphorically—‘
‘Nothing like just… Bear with me kay?’ I found this metaphorical kind of conceptual not-there but there-there, aura-seque, is that a word?’
‘…through writing and reflecting, I was doing the assignments too you know, as we went along, and well, you know, it is so easy to sit around and think when there are a circle of people there is something you have to do about it, make something happen, but the whole thing about S P A C E is that it’s really self-selecting, a kind of… New way. For curious people who want to try new things, together. not very different, when I think about it, from everything that has been truly fun, engaging, and exciting about the things I was part of helping make in the past. Like a newspaper, in southwest Ireland… With M! My, gosh. That was a great party! And it, I think… I think it still is? Going, I mean? Fair play to M, like.’
‘Ireland?? Huh?… But anyway… But what about this section thing?’
‘Oh! We had a great response to this, see, in January. I had no idea. Honestly. What would happen. I never got such a volume of applications before, and so, well, sometimes things are just about timing, as __, who doesn’t like to be called out publicly, I know, I remember, but yeah, who pointed out, and it’s not about you or them or whatever, but just… Timing….. And so there is a new section, see, get it, the mirror I found, for me, that one, for me, I mean, is kind of oval. And so, you know. Elliptical. A conic section. See? Section?’
‘What? You don’t like that?’
‘KE would. In fact, KE would really dig this graphic I’m gonna pair it up with, this conversation… Let me go get that now…’
5/100. This is part of a series, 100 conversations.Hosted and created in real life and with real people, and just because. Just for fun. Writing it down, or I guess, writing it up. Up! See? Up. In S P A C E. Join us.