Author reading from S P A C E || Kärsämäki, ‘Slow Moment’

DESIGN KOMPANY is celebrating International Zine Day in Finland with new friends. On the 21st of July, join us for a series of activities throughout the day at a mini-popup zine festival. This is made in collaboration with local retailers and an artist-run co-op. We are also launching a new zine in our international series, S P A C E. You an find out more about the photozine, S P A C E || Kärsämäki, here.

Author Dipika Kohli, co-host of Atelier S P A C E and a founder of Design Kompany, will read ‘Slow Moment’ to a small group. Dipika’s writings have appeared as columns in the Seattle paper Northwest Asian Weekly and in Charlotte NC’s Saathee Magazine. She was an editor for an alternative newsweekly in southwest Ireland and an environment editor for a Seattle daily before turning to publishing her own memoirs, in the series, Kismuth. She was  invited to speak about her first book, The Elopement, live on air at NPR. Listen here. Today, Dipika hosts conversation salons in real life and online, working with others to develop dialogues that have centers, and not sides. She edited an anthology, The Mirror (DK // 2014)  with others in the online circles that she convened, gathering each story that resonated into a compact collection. For photography, she won two Japan Foundation grants to document architecture in Kyoto and Tokyo.

‘Slow Moment’ is her first photozine.

This is an invite-only event for *just* those who pre-order the zine. It is USD $100. Make an online payment at this page.

S P A C E || Zines

NEW. Zines. Creative nonfiction pieces. Are now for sale here at Design Kompany’s site, exclusively. These were created at Atelier S P A C E, a popup, roving, zinemaking atelier that seeks to interconnect people in hyperlocal narratives. We write them, on the spot. With the people who take part. It’s pretty fun, light, conversational, and really all about seeing what emerges when we frame a space to ‘get lost, together.’ Improvisation, poetry, philosophy, breaking out of boxes: and yet, doing all this, within the confines of a specific time-bound and space-bound frame: that’s it. That’s the whole thing. That’s Atelier S P A C E. See the journey so far in pics at our instagram, or follow the posts here.

Currently available for immediate download and pre-order:

The collection, shown below, is set to be completed by December, 2018. The entire work will interweave narratives of people, place, and story. The first story is set in 1996, in Kyoto. The last store is set in 2018, in Phnom Penh.Each zine will be released to members of our S P A C E community. Join here.

 

S P A C E || Zines

Research. Reporting. Creative nonfiction. Digital publishing. Limited edition photocopied zine-making. Popup atelier hosting. Welcome to the S P A C E collection made at Atelier S P A C E. Started in Sept. 2017, and is moving to new places to discover people there, get us all talking together, and publish the stories of here, and now, in new editions of the zine, S P A C E.

‘The world is a beautiful book, but of little use to those who cannot read it.’
–Anon

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.

Making more and better S P A C E

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.

S P A C E || Breakfasting

‘THAT WAS GREAT.’

‘It was.’

‘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.’

‘Yeah.’

‘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.’

‘No.’

‘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.’

‘No.’

‘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.

8 January | Discover The Mirror

OUR NEXT ONLINE programme, The Mirror, begins on 8 January. Details are here.

What’s next for you?

If taking time to consider that very question thoughtfully sounds interesting to you (yes, we know it’s hard, of course it is, but is it interesting?…) then I invite you to apply for The Mirror. It is my favorite of our online workshops. I guess I like it because I’ve see transformations. So far, more than 50 people have taken part in our online programmes since we first opened spaces three years ago, all these would be online, for the kind of salon-style dialogue that: progresses; is carefully moderated; and is kept to a very self-selecting, small set of people. Real breakthroughs happen. I see it every year. You don’t have to be a pro at writing. Mistakes, drafts are welcome. It’s a journal, not a report. 😉 Since early 2014, DK has hosted The Mirror, this interactive and small-scale  experiment in journaling with others online. The framing question for its design was:

What if we could discover something together with those we didn’t know, but who were also exploring the same themes?

Great conversations emerged, resulting in a short eBook anthology, The Mirror. In recent days new conversations have inspired a fresh sequence of prompts, those that will, we hope, encourage people to break free of rigid thinking that ultimately confines us. For this I have CC to thank, in large part. (Glad I got to tell you.) If you are returning, there is more to share, on email, about the new things and a special group for alums.

The Mirror 2018 will circle in the new guests we are meeting in real life at our Atelier S P A C E programmes with our existing online community.

It’s fun, light.

And conversational.

Curious? Apply by 2 January. Apply here >

Being here now

I STAYED UP far too late last night reading a short story about loneliness. Some part of me was totally depressed reading how the main character was so lonely he paid someone to watch him on the video stream on his laptop. But then, going around this gleaming city each day, watching people with their own portable screens and streaming on the go, I got less sad. This is the reality we are in. We can’t talk to each other, face to face; that’s too weird. It has to be vetted, now, first. There has to be a real reason to know you have something to say to me, personally and I can’t do that if you are approaching me, in 3D, out of nowhere, and now ‘nowhere’ is the real world. Then, it happened. I met someone. Late, late, late. In the lobby of the hotel. Shared space. Common rooms. Where I found the book. The *oddest* things took place, things I can’t talk about on this blog because this blog is public space in the modern, new, updated, revised way, it’s public like ‘I can see what you write and think and feel,’ and not public like ‘I’m in this room with you, right now.’ A younger version of myself would have wanted to construct a blog post today that would outline for you the weirdness, in discrete segments of particularities, (because we all know it’s the details that make a story good), of what happened next, after our awkward greeting. (But I am saving that for next Tuesday’s S P A C E. Subscribe? http://gum.co/space). The shape of space of the evening was total alienation; bizarre and disjointed. It was, however, a theatrical rendition of the modern mindscape. We are bedazzled by spectacles, but we can’t see the presence of the thing that is the true miracle, which is this moment of a shared here and now.

ART. What is there to do but to continue to make S P A C E, for real life, the framing of the magic of chance connections, and the ongoing awakening that can happen, if we let it, when people who notice the detail of now and the slowing of a full moment in which no other pictures or sounds or other people’s annotated commentaries on That Which They Deem Interesting can eclipse this here… Who cares about what a friend, colleague, boss, or lover thinks or shares at a distance, far from me? I care about here. Now. If you walk into this stage, for even a second, there it will begin, the play.

In her own voice

CLEAR WRITING. Is important. Direct, to the point. You don’t have to get ornamental with it. These are the things I am saying to the person I used to be, not even two years ago. I guess sometimes you have to revisit the spots where you were, and look at what you said and wrote and did, and maybe shake your head a bit. ‘Really? I wrote that?’ And suffer a bit of embarrassment, but mostly to yourself. Because at the end of the day, it’s really about personal growth, isn’t it? When it comes to making something that you think is ‘art,’ and that’s a giant debate, in and of itself, but for me, art is conversation: when sender and receiver are locked in a timeless, wordless dialogue whose content only they can know. Maybe that’s because of intuition, or the zeitgeist, or the collective unconscious (all things I read about incessantly, and used to blog here, but don’t now, because… editing.)

But there is good motion ahead. The Book of Songs is returning. I’m reworking it completely. It’s so very good to see where the old threads left off (January 2015) and tie them up with some of the new ones (2016, 2017). So it’s going to be part of the next bundle of writings, which you can discover more about here.

Much ahead. Let’s take it one blog at a time.

 

16N in a pic

AT LAST, the picture of our guests at ‘N’ Hanoi: NARRATIVE. What stories do we tell to the world? Which ones do we tell ourselves? In this brief encounter, 16 people whose paths might not have otherwise crossed conversed and wrote, read and listened, in a space of just 2.5 hours. A magic moment. *!

’16N’ Hanoi happened on 27 June 2017.

Choosing colors from a 256-box grid

DID I TELL YOU that when you join ‘N’, you get to choose a color from the 256-box color grid that is the RGB palette for web-safe colors? Yes.

GRID. THIS MAY SOUND like garblety-gook to some, but to others, it’s entirely clear. Of course one would enjoy with relish the opportunity: take 16N, which gathers 16 people in 16 cities, and let each guest choose a color, a unique ‘box’ that identifies her or him or no-pronoun, in a way that makes, you know, just enjoy the personalities that come through when we choose a color. So simple and light, right? It helps, I think, it helps us not look at each other as compilations of stereotypes. Stereotypes about people we see, and make calls about, stereotypes that are implicit and unconscious and culturally programmed. Ones that we’re not even aware that we have.

Does it make sense, kind of?

I feel we get caught up in this kind of thing, this kind of thinking, like: ‘Yeah, yeah. I can relate to you, because you’re like ___.’ A ___ that I have some experience with. So I can put you in a box.

Well.

Let’s just do that to ourselves, shall we? Shall we put ourselves in the box of our choice? Let’s be colorful.

Owing to that fact that I am in complete administrative overhaul here at DK World HQ, because of some new people joining me and helping me figure out how to be more efficient and smart and life-hack-y, I have gone through and painstakingly organized everything I have archived ever. (Well, at least since showing up in Asia, in 2013, that is.)

There are numerous splotches of paper, blotters, things in diaries, notecards, index cards, post-its, spiral-bound notebooks, looseleaf books, folded-over articles made into new kinds of zines and books to showcase, one day, in a light installation that will be invitation-only here where I am, presently. (Phnom Penh). And so on. But yeah, I also had to go through and put all the numbers for all the hex codes of colors that have already been chosen into a file. One place. Everything goes in a box!, and then, now, I can look at them all, and I’ll make a grid for all the 4 N events so far. That would be… 16 x 4… We are 25% done with ’16N!,’ wow, then what will I do. Hmmmm. Anyway, this is okay, because I want to make sure to show the journey, with you, as we go. Not just talk about it and stuff, but really show. SHOW, don’t tell, right? But I’m telling you that I want to show. What does that mean? Does that mean this is an oxymoron? Wait, what?

 

First ‘N’ selfie…

SELFIE. ON FRIDAY I WILL POST, at this very blog, the selfie. I’ve not shared any photos from any of the ‘N’ events so far (3 previous to this one), because of… lots of things. But I will, on Friday. At this blog. The selfie! That we took, together, at ‘N’ in Hanoi. That was such a moment of random and spontaneous fun. Let’s take a picture, said one of our guests, a portrait photographer who simply just ‘got’ this idea, and came, it was totally a blind date, like many, many other guests who showed up, not knowing, and it was a 16-way blind date, mostly, well, kind of, for many of us, at least there were bunches of permutations and combinations with new and different others that made it what it was. On the night. ‘Twas grand, like, and I slip into my southwest Ireland accent. Grand stuff altogether, mighty fierce craic. But it… was. That’s why I can say it like that. (You know, if I could just sit down and talk to you in real life instead of blogging here, then we could have the whole intonation and rhythm and eye contact that makes communication so nice, so human, so warm.) In fact, it is so important to me, and to our team here, to move towards those kinds of conversations that I am not blogging as much, I am not emailing that much, and I am only talking with people who are in our online circles in S P A C E. Why? So we can meet. Each other. Together. In real life. Did I say together? It’s so great, when we do. Be sure to join me, if you are in Phnom Penh or in some city somewhere that might have a good critical mass of people who, you know, are interested in things. (Or have an ‘N’ in them.) To the journey! And the selfie! Next!

A Poetic Narrative, by ‘N’ Hanoi

ON 27 JUNE 2017 in Hanoi, a mix of exactly 16 people got together for ’16N’, a traveling conversation salon on a theme that starts with an ‘N’. This time, our topic was NARRATIVE. ‘What are the stories we tell to the world? Which ones do we tell ourselves?’ and other questions popped to place as we took three floors of Nhọ Nồi, small cafe in Ba Đình, quite by surprise. An installation like no other ‘N’, this one resulted in a flurry of poetry-writing, on the spot.

This spot:

‘N’ happened here, Nhọ Nồi. (And on two other floors, too.)

***

 

FEW INSTRUCTIONS ISSUED FORTH, and that, I believe, is why this ‘N’ unfolded as prettily as it did. Days before ‘N’ at our first meeting, guest TN had said, poignantly, ‘Sometimes you have to let a thing happen instead of make it happen.’ Inspired by the notion that nothing needs to be forced (including the number 16), on the day itself, we let it flow. Looser, lighter than any other ‘N’ programme so far, this one gave way fully to the playfulness of our guests, I thought.

[Right, ‘N’ Hanoi? We did that. Didn’t we? We wrote impromptu, we eased into it, found a groove and a rhythm, and wound up having a poetry slam. More soon, in a protected-page post to follow with a certain picture, but for the moment, these are the three poems you all left behind… I thought you might like to read them again. To co-discovery! To meetings of chance! And to… real life. Enjoy, enjoy. More soon. <3]

 

***

I.
‘How do I fix this?’

I have always wanted to be blonde
Does everyone experience Fomo?
Fomo can be a motivation for someone?
I’ve recently started using the word “fomo” as an action verb.
Sadly, nobody understands what I say.
Sadly, sometime, people hate my pictures.
I think you’ll always find people that disagree with you.
I guess it depends only on their intentionsKeep taking photos!

Thankfully
you will be cured
during
the journey.
What can you break with the world’s smallest hammer?
Just forget it,
Use your
feet.

 

***

II.
‘Nameless’

I’m really terrible at remembering names.
LET’S HAVE BREAKFAST
She always loved him making her smoothies in the morning.
Then he popped a mint in his mouth;
I love these flowers
A terrifying hue of violet
‘Can terrifying be a positive description of something?’
‘Yes, if you overcome your fear…’
‘Terrible love cannot be overcome…’
‘Anything can be
overcome by
true love.’

 

 

***

III.
‘Subtle vibrations’

I have a life here.
14 people in the world are richer than all the rest, self-evidently
The truest measure of their riches
Is the willingness to fold themselves open
One day you will have all the love that you’ve given
If you have not given enough love, will you not be able
To see the love that everyone
Receives?
I see what I want to see. And you?
The sound that weasels make playing in a ball pit.
A little known fact: weasels are deaf, they can only feel vibrations.
*!
I wish I was a terrifying weasel
So I could produce terrific coffee.
Such a small thing like coffee
Can change your whole day! Why?
Because of no reason at all
Except that
We are
Here.

 

 

One magic moment


***

 

 

THE KEYBOARD IS NOT connecting, somehow, so this will be short and sweet. (If you were there, the pic is coming. I’ll email you.) I had such fun meeting you all, individually and then, together. A fuller, more articulated thank-you is in draft and I’ll send, for sure, soonish. A quick thank you here, for now. Many thanks for playing 16N. Okay. Let me get myself to the next stop, the stop after that, and then home. More from there for guests, and then, for those in our online circles of S P A C E. If you were there, to be continued!

After Việt Nam

FEELING A LITTLE CONTEMPLATIVE, right now. Back at ‘my’ cafe. Probably for the last time, since tomorrow is going-home day. The slow way. Back to Cambodia, this journey. ‘Home’ is there, for now. Some years have passed there. I am looking forward to regrouping, reconnecting with 2-3 people (the people who *show up* for things) when I go back. This two-month jaunt into Việt Nam has been exquisite, eye-opening, restorative… I know what I must do next: keep making S P A C E. Like we all just did, 16 of us, at ‘N’ just last Tuesday here in Hanoi.

Trips. Can be refreshing. I like these kinds of things, these wanders and forays into the area of ‘out of my comfort zone.’ I am really happy that I came to Hanoi. I am really, really happy I got to meet some cool people. Like this cafe owner. I told you, right? She waves now, to me. She’s older, so it’s nice. Generational stuff. It feels like all of Asia is saying, ‘Hey. Welcome. Come on in, sit down. Take a load off. You’re very much welcome here.’ And as I left the United States four years ago, starting the unknown circuit right here in Hanoi, I recall the unsettling feeling that I didn’t have a home. That nowhere was ‘safe.’ Creating space that is welcoming, inviting, engaging, and inclusive of new and different others, to meet in remarkable ways is my goal. Is my work. Is because I want that. Do what moves you, right? A very incredible artist I know told me that. JS. Please yourself first, he wrote. Do what moves you.

11 JULY. Now, there is something new starting. ‘A little S P A C E.’ Discover with us (because we don’t know, and that’s the point for ‘the Art of Not Knowing,’ our journey into discovery and this thing we call ‘N+1’, very esoteric, sorry about that, working on communicating it more forthrightly) what will happen next with ‘N’, and other programmes, as things unfold from here. There are a lot of things that I could invite you to, but I just want to open with this. ‘A little S P A C E’ starts 11 July, and is free. Meet me there? Start here.

 

Keep up with our stories in S P A C E…

 

 

Continued here…

IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING, I am sharing more about the just-gone ‘N,’ but in waves. First sharing will be with our guests, then with our online community S P A C E , then at this blog, then maybe *cringe* facebook. There was a selfie. First. Time. Ever, for ‘N.’ Kinda nervous about that, but hey, it’s 2017. But. Instagram? FB? Is that where selfies go? I’m not sure. Someone more hip to social please tell me what I’m supposed to do with the picture. The comment box on this post is open, for now. Thanks! (Speaking of social, is that passé, to just say ‘social’? Anyway, maybe it is. So yeah. Help. Bit by bit, learning. I am trying to use emoji more, and stuff. Checkit. 🐬✨)

Continue reading: To keep reading more of the narration from this journey, here’s what to do. Go here. Will take it from the top when you click ‘Follow N.’ Or, just click this box…

A. Spaice

Guests. Were you there? I think, this is what I know how to do, I think I’ll do this… With the selfie… it’ll be shared first with you all, in a protected post to come on this blog soon. Cool? While we are all taking time to maybe reflect on what the heck we just did together, which, wow, that was great, by the way, I hope you will feel free to email me as you like, about suggestions, reflections, comments, links, whatever you like. I forgot to ask you to pick a color, or tell you what the tickets were about. So there is a little more to come, if you want to hear more. Shall we continue? Maybe keep up with our stories in S P A C E?