25 May | KL ‘Kaunter Tiket’ zine launch party

*Happening.* Free with registration.

Register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/arts-letters-society-tickets-44788701211

Open invite, +1s welcome. *Secret location* to be shared with registered guests only.

Breakfast in Cambodia

Breakfast in Cambodia (Kismuth Books // 2016) is the story of finding orderliness and a firm sense of self in the midst of a whirl of mixed identities.

Breakfast in Cambodia (Kismuth Books // 2016) is the story of finding orderliness and a firm sense of self in the midst of a whirl of mixed identities.

Author Dipika Kohli (NPR, TEDx) explores, with a meander and a style that doesn’t fit into a specific traditional genre, what it’s like to get lost… like, really lost, and discover through the journey a sense of who you really are.

Breakfast in Cambodia

‘Finding ritual, daily, in a routine to take myself out for breakfast every Saturday morning for 10 years, that was how I found my way to calmness, clarity, and a stronger sense of self,’ says Dipika. ‘Being in Phnom Penh or wherever the year on the road would take us, prior to settling in here, meant finding a ritual and a sense of calmness in the day to day disruption of uprooting, wherever it was, whenever it was, was always temporary. Even in Phnom Penh, so much changes, so fast, that it’s hard to get a root and feel at ease. But this helped, and I wrote it down, and talked about how I had to go sit far from everyone, on a boat in Sweden, for six weeks in Scandinavia to figure out what I already knew, deep down. The truth of how to slow and calm oneself in a sea of chaos, that’s the secret that we each have to arrive at individually, but in Breakfast, I have put it down, the things I felt, saw, and heard, and how I got to know that it’s this ritual that makes it work.’

Get Breakfast in Cambodia here.

Welcome Mirror Section Z. This is Chuck Close on practice, doing

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

Arts & Letters Society | Kuala Lumpur

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’.)

1 April | Launch of S P A C E Vol. III 2017 collection, ‘Circumference’

ON APRIL 1, a new collection, ‘Circumference,, will launch here at DK. It is a set of writing, imagery drawn and photographs made throughout 2017 in S P A C E. Our ‘Year of the Circle’ conversations in virtual and offline spaces led to dialogues that moved and shifted. In the end, we could see the gist of the thread: what makes for softness in our approaches to life, and work? Roundness, not squareness, that invites listening, seeing, empathy, and compassion. Which we need more of in this world, right? (Else we shall see more of the same: mansplaining, for example, and related irritations.) So DK examined those questions.

A new collection, highlights from Vol. III S P A C E 2016, ‘Year of the Circle’

We read from Inward Revolution (J. Krishnamurthi), and Lady Chatterly’s Lover (D. H. Lawrence), the latter of which was originally titled ‘Tenderness.’ Marketing can so spoil a thing can it not? The original intention for the title, though, is… Important. When the author wrote this book, he had already figured out what we are just waking up to: toxic masculinity, the pursuit of power, the conflation of money for prestige, and the lack of care (and respect) towards women is a giant problem, for all of us. The inattentiveness to what tenderness can bring us, and I mean tenderness, for real, is as Holden Canfield would call it a big black eye. The sheer obliviousness is crippling society from feeling well. Belonging, wholesomeness. Morality, culture. So much sharing on this topic informed the writings born here. (The back and forth nature of ‘call and response’ is how DK design and host space. So the meander, softness, intrigue, discovery and comfort that come with a rolling circle, bumping into walls and falling into holes (HT Shel Silverstein), makes this collection whole.)

We studied Non-Violent Communication, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and Authentically Relating for this work of researching and corresponding with those members of S P A C E who opted to participate. This is how we grew, together, towards a new understanding. This is a co-created work, edited by A. Spaice.The S P A C E || Vol. III 2017 ‘Circumference’ collection includes the zine-stories S P A C E || Battambang (‘Here comes the Dance‘), S P A C E || Singapore (‘Dunlop & Perak’), and S P A C E || Ipoh (‘Highlands‘). Plus essays, Q&A pieces, features, and photo collections from Phnom Penh, Ubud, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, and Penang.

We are sharing it for free with our members, on 1 April.

In S P A C E.

Join here.

Designing the next

Update: April 12. Very warm thank-you to those who helped me think carefully about the writing for the letter to ask for funds for the Finland programme. I am going to circle back to you individually, so hang on there for a bit, and I will give you the personal report on what’s going to happen next. Meantime, check out the updates on this project at this page.

Be sure to add your name to the mailing list there to be more closely connected, in the months to come. 

 

S P A C E || The best is yet to come

GETTING SET here in Bangkok for our 6-10 March zine design atelier. Atelier S P A C E || Bangkok.

I’ll welcome just a very small handful of people to cocreate an eighth-page zine.

Read more under Upcomings and find out how to get involved in the international conversation that interweaves people and place, in S P A C E.

(What? Yeah…)

Hello Kuala Lumpur

IT IS INCREDIBLE. The road. How it teaches. You just have no idea where you are going to go, and then, there you are. Writing today from a small unexpectedly well-connected wifi place. Fast. Lucky. Reflecting lately on the journeys, typing and sharing the gems in S P A C E. Enjoying offline random conversations. So many! A few intriguing people; no, no, that’s understating. More than a few. A dozen? Atelier S P A C E has brought me to them. A Programme that is by design about bumping into chance encounters, during specific windows of time in selected spaces. Going and finding these ‘boxes’, be they cafes or lounges, bars or museums, whatever and however it works it works, but the important part is that there has to be a good feeling about them. Chemistry is big. What is the quality of the space that we are shaping? Something like ‘the third place,’ is the closest I’ve found. But with a spark: a little twinge of !*, an ‘I didn’t see that coming!’ And ‘Huh!’ I like to think of it as the magic moment. You have to design for it. And you can. It’s pretty neat.

There was more here, before, but I deleted it. I guess it just felt pretty personal, and it was hard to get so full-on intimate outside of the boxes that we make, in our ateliers, and in our online ‘rooms’ for conversation. Something has changed, I guess, for me. More interested in small scales, human scale dialogues. With new, and different others. So many of the people I *just met*, for example, are exceedingly interesting—for a time. in the shape of space that moves and shifts, these encounters linger and press a kind of memory. But the new news is this. Memories of memories change, in fact, too. What do we think about, how we feel, where we were, what’s next… All questions to think about, if you are the thinking-about-questions sort. If you are, let me know. We have more things ahead, in S P A C E.

Blink, and 2017 ended.

 

 

Atelier S P A C E || Cameron Highlands

LIVING IN or traveling through Malaysia? Join Design Kompany for a weekend getaway in Cameron Highlands. You’ll be part of an international traveling atelier to make zines in different cities and locations around the world. We will be in Cameron Highlands to make S P A C E || Cameron in late December, 2017. What’s involved, who will come, and how it will play out will be determined based on the people who show up. Google ‘open space technologies’ to see how open space unconferencing works. Learn more and ask us anything when you apply through the form, below. A short-course zinemaking popup. Max: 8.

Apply through this form:

 

S P A C E || The Creative Process

In a set of conversations these last two weeks in Penang, DK has learned something cool. We found that there are many here who want to talk, in some depth, about the creative process itself. This is exciting.

MAKE

I am reminded of MAKE, a conversation salon we had held in the US, where I had invited eight guest panelists to convene and make a short comment to kick off what then became a meandering, unforgettable session. Some friends still quote from it, when we talk together about our newest or latest, because we are also aware that we are constantly developing a voice, and can’t see it in full until we play a bit, well, let’s be honest, a lot, and see what patterns emerge. What does our output creatively tell us about ourselves? Our conversations will shake out some of that, guaranteed.

Serious makers and creatives truly enjoy occasions to share on this informal, real time, and in real life way with others also struggling with questions of purpose, form, technique and gumption to keep making, when we aren’t sure where we are even going, when we do.

An Asian upbringing, for me, puts me in the same category that many I have met in Malaysia are, too: we ask ourselves (at the start, anyway) questions like: what about practicality, of following the Programme not only society seems to be setting, but your Parents are, too. No one wants to be a disappointment. But can you make really good work if that concern for what others expect or think of you will box you in, will limit you? I struggled with this question myself for a decade, then made a choice that I never looked back on or regretted. I will share that story at this event.

Here’s what will happen. Drawing from a past career in architecture, design, branding, and journalism, DK will bring forward a series of conversation-starting questions that might help some of those who are curious about Creative Process find ways to add troops to their own repertoire of how to make.

RM 50pp.

RSVP for location details, and to confirm your attendance. To RSVP, contact us through the form at this page.

 

The why of S P A C E

WHAT IS S P A C E about? Starting in Battambang in Cambodia in Sept. 2017, we are moving in Asia to discover people who are curious, creative, and ready for something new. Our cocreated Battambang issue was on the topic, Ennui. In Singapore (10-12 Nov) our zine was on the theme The Third Place. In Penang (6-11 Dec) we took a different focus, Growth. The launch party for S P A C E {}| Penang is on Monday, 11 December, at the Bricklin Cafe at Hin Bus Depot. DK are looking forward to sharing the journeys from 2014-2017 around to different cities of the world to discover people and hyperlocal narratives, and pack them into short zines.

How did we find these themes?

Each is based on what conversations emerge when we meet new people in real life in those places, and simply take time to talk. Then we work on a piece that is cohesive, and is hyperlocal to the place and the contemporary narratives. These pop up from real life when we converse offline with new and different others. It brings storyfinding back to person to person contact, while ‘journalism’ becomes increasingly less human-centered. Who will we tell our real selves to? Each other, in real life, offline, away from package-making for others and towards more listening for common threads and similar experiences. In so doing, we feel more connected, DK have found, and inspired to improve, too.

What is Atelier S P A C E trying to do?

Consider possibilities. Try new things. Stay open. In a nutshell, it’s about helping people find ways to get out of their box. Comfort zones can be places where it seems cozy, but actually, lulls us into a creatively deadening complacency.

Our atelier is about designing a custom framework in each place that will set the stage for really interesting thinking and human connexion to actually *happen*, and DK select very carefully the venues, times of day, and themes so that guests of Atelier S P A C E can experience a relaxed, intellectually stimulating, space for dialogue. Dialogue of the kind with a center, and not sides.

It isn’t for everyone, this style of looking for the new and making zines in-situ, on the spot, with those we are inviting to play in S P A C E, but it works for people seeking a personal challenge to try new things and grow. Especially useful for people who have done a lot, careerwise, and seen firsthand that there are massive limits to what anyone can do on her own, yet few ways to invite truly engaging collaboration.

So we created Atelier S P A C E for this set of us. It is best for those who are interested in developing a creative voice, and making what is artful. DK has been practicing this since 2008 in Seattle, Durham NC, and Phnom Penh in workshops for a wide mix of people, and is sharing now through these popup ateliers tools, tips, and anecdotes that equip guests to become more confident creatively. Atelier S P A C E is a self-funded project.

Read about what’s coming up in 2018 at our calendar, here.

Being offline more

WIFI. Is scarce, here, in Penang. So, more offline time.

Eye contact.

As I talk in real life about the why of Atelier S P A C E, it’s doing something, it’s making it clearer.

As in, why.

As in, for whom, and where.

I seek cozy spaces that might not be ‘regular’ for philosophical and nonlinear meanders into the abstract. But… That’s what it is. Think about it. Space is invisible. But space connects us al. That particular S P A C E. Is what we are designing, in Atelier S P A C E. Really.

Don’t believe me?

Check out our gallery, and learn about our process to invite new people to join us in these kinds of things, as we blogged it all for ‘N’ Hanoi.

NEW & DIFFERENT. Wherever you look going to be a wallop of awakening; that’s because you’re in the newness, you’re in a spot that you haven’t been, and though it might be ho-hum routine for those who are living and working there usually, for you it is New. I didn’t tell you about S., did I? This weirdo installation… Involving… Well, wait. it’s too personal to put on this blog.

In the last 20 years of trying to find ways to engage people (so that I can get more engaged with the design work I think is better as a result, to be really honest), I have learned that the high-quality space that I want to create more of in this world resides in the real life bounded box of time, and location, which is set. Which is intentional. And good because we are *there*.

So yeah. If we meet, in one of the cities where I’ll be traveling, in 2018, I can share there.

(More for members of our online community, S P A C E, in exquisite and intricate details. Curious? Subscribe here.)

 

Lifehack

LEARN DESIGN KOMPANY’s top 4 tools to uncover the answer to a very important question:

What will be your legacy?

SUMMARY. Here’s what it is. Get four top tools from our toolkit, which DK’s creative directors developed in-house over more than 10 years while working with different kinds of people and engaging with their unique learning styles. Here is what you will get. A workbook from DK with our best-of collection of 4 modules, which each give you the spreadsheets, tools, and instructions we will work through together. You’ll be able to apply what you learn right away to manage and direct your career, make better-informed decisions, and look forward to the next steps with confidence. This is our agenda:

Module 1.Self (as seen in Bangkok)
Module 2. Choices (as seen in Siem Reap)
Module 3. Flow (as seen in Malmoe)

This will be in English. It is aimed at mid-career professionals. It’s for people who are interested in doing work they really care about, work that matters, work that will leave a true legacy. ‘We’ve been working with people in Europe, N. America and Asia for 12 years, and we are ready to share the highlights of what we know works,’ says DK’s creative director, Dipika Kohli (TEDx ‘There’s Not That Much Time Left’). ‘This is a unique workshop where you can explore with others also interested in taking time to look at what work is personally important to each of us, and why.’ You’ll walk away with a 5-word ‘self-concept,’ and a professionally-worded summary statement. Useful for resumes, especially when looking to work abroad.

Register here.

Atelier S P A C E || Singapore

Click for programme

PHYSICIST and Nobel Prizewinner Richard Feynman said, ‘I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here.’

Design Kompany is hosting Atelier S P A C E to make a space for you to explore the pactice of ‘not knowing.’ It’s a unique conversation-cum-experiential learning workshop built from the organizers’ 20 years’ combined experience in design, writing, editing, and digital publishing.

‘We feel that in today’s hyperconnected world, people are having a hard time really listening to one another,’ says DK’s A. Spaice.

‘Eye contact gets lost. But eye contact and noticing one another, and hearing real laughter, and observing without the need to talk too much the beauty in the silent spaces between us, is important. This is where so much richness in communication is transferred. It’s a big part of our ‘why,’ this quest to making a particular quality of interactive space.’

Read the full programme here.

Very limited seats. Advance bookings only. 7-day refund policy.

Tickets from SGD 180.

Book here.

Tonight in Singapore! A 3-day zinemaking popup atelier begins

LAST CALL to register for Atelier S P A C E in Singapore.

Tickets for the 3-day atelier are SGD $180. Register here.

We are ready, and we are set. Look forward to meeting our registered guests tonight at the *secret meetpoint* at the National Gallery.

S P A C E. Meantime, if you are not in Singapore, but are wondering about how all this will play, do consider subscribing to our online magazine, S P A C E. It’s a weekly. Going since 2014. See what we will be writing, sharing, and co-creating. Find out more at this page.

Printed Matters || Atelier S P A C E pre-event

PRINTED MATTERS is a conversation. About printed matters. And about matters of printing. Playfulness is a prerequisite but this is for word-nerds, print-nerds, design-and-arts-and-crafts-nerds.

Atelier S P A C E is a zine-makery on-the-move, a global conversation about local voices, local stories. People getting together, sharing things, and creating something special, to them, for them, and by them. In a curated open circle.

Intrigued? Come join this pre-event, where we explore printed media and other high-octane cultural mumbo-jumbo in A Spaice’s hallmark playful, casual space-setting.

Register here.

A designers’ guide to 25 of Singapore’s day-work cafes, art stores, and ‘third places’

 

 

AFTER MUCH SEARCHING ONLINE, and even more not-finding, I have given myself a writing commission. Go to Singapore. Walk around. Look at stuff. See who’s doing something interesting. Discover them, drifting towards whomever or wherever intrigues, without too much noise, or fanfare. Talk to people. And see where the cool stuff is going on. The good stuff. Not just what people say is interesting, or pay to promote, or whatever. No advertorials here. No sponsored posts. That is just not what we are into, here. No thank you. We are interested in real, genuine, and authentic conversations, with people who actually mean it when they say things, and who show up, and who are, like us, intrigued by the possible, the new, the near, the now and the next. When I go around town with my marked-up map, checking out some of the cafes to see if they really are the kind of places I would go to and work out of if I were, say, a designer or a writer with a laptop looking for somewhere to lay low and focus, or a place to walk into and get inspired, or a place that just has the kind of vibe you really want to have if you are looking for ‘your people,’ in a city that feels, from what I remember, on my brief past visits, to be… let’s say… distancing? Maybe the world is just like that now, it’s hard to find space for real life. True conversation, connection, connexion. Why do I care about this so much? Relational aesthetics, et al. So many reasons. Sure I can write and write and blog and blog and who cares? If I don’t meet you, in real life and eye to eye, then whatever is the point of it? Really. I’m serious. So I’m going to outline for a few people the 25 places that I will discover. I’m gonna shortlist stuff, and post about things, but not here, not in public space. In forums,like ‘Strange Geometries.’ New mini-guide to Singapore, writ for the discerning and authenticity-seeking who are coming from out of town. No maps or pocket guidebook stuff. Just, a list, and essays, and pics. First release will be to members of our eZine, S P A C E. Join us there if you want to read it. S P A C E posts weekly, it’s USD $7/week.