ZINES. Real life. Conversations. Making space for the stories of us, where we are, with the people whose paths we might not have otherwise crossed, right where we are. New learning, new thinking, new perspectives, and a. creative kick from the atelier that is Atelier S P A C E. Making ‘rooms’ for dialogue and perspective-making insight since 1994, more or less, but officially as a zinemaking atelier since 2017 in Battambang, Singapore, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Helsinki, Oulu, and Phnom Penh. This event is part of a series, Atelier S P A C E | India. We’ll choose the date, time, and place on a Doodle poll. To start, request details through the form below. More from there.
In search of meaning
Times, shifts, curiosity about new people and new ways of thinking, and the general crisscross of emails and vague fragments of thoughts are what we write and share about in S P A C E. Works are creative nonfiction short stories, co-created with members of Design Kompany’s team both in Phnom Penh and in the places where we are going to discover new and different voices ‘out there,’ in the field.
DK believe that the work of art is, in large part, ‘to show man who he really is*;’ Which is why we offer our cojournal this winter, ‘The Mirror 2018.’ Learn more about our spacemaking journey, so far.
Where are the new and unusual perspectives, hiterto underreported or cast aside as ‘ethnic?’ Let’s go find them. Let’s write them, share them, co-create them. In S P A C E Meet us there? Introductory offer: subscribe for just $4/week.
The ‘work’ of ‘art’
THIS WINTER, DK are making S P _ C _, the sequence, around the theme, ‘The Work of Art.’ What is ‘art?’ Who gets to decide? What are we talking about when we design, and what do we mean when we ‘create?’ Is commercial viability important? What about feeding ourselves, what about crust? In the themed issues, as outlined below, DK and others in Atelier S P A C E and in our online community together explore ideas of social mores, incidental chance encounters and the new influences those bring, love, and large-scale impresses when Nature shares her beauty. This is a series not to be missed, available exclusively here. To get S P A C E’s winter collection, subscribe for our $4/week online subscription at this page.
‘Art of the Z I N E’ popup at Kuala Lumpur // Photos by Muhd Muqhriz, 2018
S O C I A L M O R E S
S P A C E | Aarhus, ‘ Janteloven’
Social mores, the individualist, and the Danish law of ‘Jante,’ which draws the lines.
E N C O U N T E R S
S P A C E | Phnom Penh, ‘Angle of Incidence’
Living in Cambodia: then and now.
C O M P A N I O N S H I P
S P A C E | Tampere, ‘Miia’
Alexis Jokela’s follow-up story, set in Tampere, to Jokela’s July piece, ‘A Summer Love Story’
M I R T H
S P A C E | Helsinki, ‘Coat Check’
A. Spaice goes to Helsinki to discover 16 random strangers and talk to them, at a once-off conversation salon on the theme, NEUROSIS. Here’s what happened.
E N C H A N T M E N T
S P A C E | Rovaniemi, ‘Arctic Circle”
A jaunt to Lapland, unplanned and spontaneous, lands a pair of wanderers at the gateway of an unmistakably enchanted forest. Inspired by H. C. Andersen’s description in The Snow Queen of ‘Finnmark’.
S U B T L E T Y
S P A C E | Singapore, ‘The Prospect of Beauty’
What makes something beautiful? Looking with a microscope for ‘the remarkable’ in a money-obsessed island.
A zine. Printed, limited edition. Ready to share these with members of S P A C E who pre-order by 29 Sept. Don’t miss the chance to get a printed zine in the mail that tells the story ‘Julia Set’.
JOIN DK and friends at the launch of the zine, ‘S P A C E || Helsinki,’ a creative nonfiction short piece that will be distributed in very limited editions on the day. Your ticket comes with one copy of the zine, whose pages are filled with words and collages DK gathered in real life in Helsinki in June and August, 2018. The zine’s lead story is ‘Julia Set,’ based on a conversation with a mathemetician about possibilites and multiple dimensions, but there is also a more low-key dialogue in ‘Exit Vantaa.’ Find out more when you check out the related blog posts, liket ‘Exit Vantaa,’ DK’s music ‘mix’, at this page, and more is also online about DK’s zines in S P A C E.
Pre-order S P A C E || Helsinki here.
VISAS. RULES. WIFI CAPACITY. Coffee, cafes, open-mindedness.
Looking for the kinds of places where you can go in the world and just hang out, write, or work, from the comfort of your desk-that-goes-where-you-do?
DESIGN KOMPANY is offering a short course that’s completely online from [update] 7 October called ‘The Cojournal Project: A Nomadic Existence.’ In this, we will be communicating once a week with you about the kinds of topics that are popping up as people who are moving away from traditional 9-5 lifestyles and finding themselves in cafes all over Southeast Asia, where we are, are starting to talk about the way of life that, for a lot of us, is weird and curious but also… freeing.
This programme is hosted by DK’s own Dipika Kohli, who was a staff editor at daily in Seattle and a bi-weekly in southwest Ireland (2002-2005) before turning to interactive magazines and spacemaking for conversations that get us out of boxes. In 2014, she won a Ted Howard Scripps fellowship for environmental journalism, flying to Colorado to get to know more about the field of writing for the sake of not just infotainment but actually depth and substance. She got talking with fellow editors around the United States then, and afterwards through continued correspondence, about how to make better space for conversations that actually move. That, for example, develop, progress, and teach us something interesting.
WRITING TO LEARN SOMETHING. Instead of talking about writing for the sake of publishing, what if we talked about writing for the sake of getting to know what we were even thinking. Like, writing towards a kind of clarity on who it is you really are, and what it is you really care about. A lot of people seem to go traveling to ‘get lost and find center,’ at least, that’s what I noticed from half o the people I’ve met on my travels in the 1990s (Ireland, India, Japan, USA), and more recently, in Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Viet Nam, Nepal). Getting out of your space and seeing what else is in the world is a way of finding out a) what you want, and b) what you don’t want. But often we don’t have a chance to process what we are discovering because we are talking to the people we already know, instead of the people who are also on the same kinds of journeys.
A nomadic existence is a choice; it’s not for everyone, but it works for some of us. Knowing why and how, and being able to pinpoint those things for each of us, is a matter of simply delving into the questions and letting the answers come as they might. You know, you don’t have to have it all figured out at the start. You don’t even have to have it figured out in the middle, or at the end; the point is to know that you are searching and seeking with an intention that involves really caring about the journey. You have to care if you want it to become anything interesting.
What work you do, where you choose to ‘settle,’ if you choose to settle at all, whom you decide to partner with, if that’s something you want to do, and all the big questions of our lives that are related to these things that those of us finding ourselves in certain positions of privilege and capacity to move around the world and talk to people on the internet and somehow make some cash through that work is, well, a kind of curious set of things. If you are interested in writing towards some sense of self-awareness, and doing that with a small circle of others who are also ‘on’ for this kind of a challenge, consider applying for the Cojournal Project 2018.
We started this out in 2014, quietly, and it led to a short eBook anthology, The Mirror. In January of this year we opened The Mirror up as a separate workshop—100% online—that became a conversation space with forums, passwords and weekly prompts. I think that the interconnectivity of it is what made it truly great. Engaging with others who are very different from yourself: at least on the surface—is a way to start to get a perspective that is hard to find in everyday life.
‘Rereading Edward de Bono‘s book Teaching Your Children How To Think in recent days, I was reminded of the importance of sharing the variation of perspectives with young people,’ writes Dipika Kohli. ‘Of making it a priority to show them that there isomer than one way to look at a thing. That ‘rightness’ is a problem. That the argumentative stance that people like to take in Western societies, in which you get to feel good by putting someone else down, or by more eloquently arguing your way towards a position (even if it’s completely garbage, like showing through math that 2+2 = 5 (HT F), well, you see where I’m going wit this, right?)’
Make a space and find the muse
TAKE THE TIME to write with others. Journal your way towards clarity. Find the muse when you make the space. Not a lot, don’t worry. Each week’s prompt is designed to take just 20 minutes to complete. People say they like this because it holds them accountable to themselves, knowing that there will be a new prompt dropping into the inbox on Monday. Every week, 7AM USEST.
What’s different about this programme from the other online journaling projects we’ve seen online is that it happens in S P A C E, that is, it’s interactive. What you write influences what prompts follow.
This is not an algorithm or AI, this is a real person, Design Kompany’s creative director Dipika Kohli, for this project, will be customizing the next week’s prompts based on what you are writing in, as a small group. listening, sharing, empathizing: it’s all int here, but it takes showing up to get the best out of it. Take the 20 minutes of your week available to connect and to re-connect, first with yourself, then with others.
Design Kompany’s work is to make space for people to notice one another, and themselves. To pay attention. To notice the moment. That will dissolve before we know it. Ephemera, relational aesthetics, conversation space design… these are our beats. Ask us anything. Talk to us. Connect through the form at our ‘About’ page, and if this all sounds curious, try it out. We’re doing this for 12 weeks, [update] starting 7 October.
Application required. Open invitation. Apply here.
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.
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.
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.
Forget what ‘they’ say.
THE MIRROR is for helping you discover and listen to you. You don’t need anyone else to spell it out, but here it is: no one is going to regret it more if you don’t do the work than you. Did you read that article that went viral, a while ago? ‘Top 5 Regrets of the Dying’? >
DK’s online workshop for 2018 is THE MIRROR. The unique reflection workshop THE MIRROR will give you a chance to discover your way to fresh, revealing insights. On you: the inner motivations that are moving you towards your goals, your dreams, and your heart’s desires. We are accepting new guests on a rolling admissions basis through the end of March.
WHO SHOULD APPLY. If you are questioning the goals and methods that you have or are using, then THE MIRROR is ideal for you to re-evaluate and confirm your personal values are aligned with what you are doing and making at work.
- If you are in a period of limbo,
- if you are in transition,
- if you have just come out of something or are about to head into a new phase, THE MIRROR is a good programme.
- if you have been through some difficulty or a change,
- or something has pushed you to question your own goals, vision, mission and values, then THE MIRROR is an excellent tool.
SCHEDULE. Posts will be sent weekly. Each week’s is designed to be complete-able within 20 minutes. These are sequenced to help you discover with clarity the pop that makes you very much you, and only you. You will be invited to share also in selected pages of our concurrent conversations going on in very small circles in Design Kompany’s protected-page forums.
A few testimonials from guests of DK’s online programmes…
- ‘Thank you for the opportunity.’ —Anonymous
- ‘It’s a unique project and it’s pretty special. If you’ve been looking for some structure or accountability in your writing—and supportive community in very small groups, this could be for you… a compassionate leader… offers some accessible assignments that are helping to shift my writing lens. I love it.’ —MH
- ‘Warmly recommend it.’ –SG
- ‘[This] motivated me more to do what I wanna really do and kick some a**… Thank you, DK!’ —JH
JOIN THE MIRROR. You’ll need to apply, then to register: Apply. Choose an 8-week or 12-week option. Late registration fee is USD $160-200. Selected applicants will be invited to register.
‘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.
A POPUP CONVERSATION salon, with snippets from our 2014-2017 highlights from the ezine, S P A C E. We will be hosting this in real life at a venue in Bangkok to be shared with registered guests only. Free with RSVP. To RSVP, contact DK through the form here.
A CONVERSATION. This is a chance to talk about the work you create, in words. ‘You need to be able to talk intelligently about your work,’ said one of our photographer friends in New York. It almost seems like if you google ‘artist statement’ you will get a bunch more advice about the how of that. In this very small and light conversation, we’ll work together to adjust and define, refine and connect with one another on the most basic level: in person, in real life. When you meet in person, you can say so very much. How about making a small space to just talk with others about your art? It’ll be light, easy, prompt-led, small scale, and probably insight-making. Challenge yourself. Perhaps you’ll find out something you didn’t know. THB 500. Ages 16+. Max 8. RSVP requested. All materials included. RSVP through the form:
DISCOVER YOUR SELF. Sounds crazy, right? You know yourself. Well, do you? In this era where layer after layer of facades keep us from truly relating to others, maybe it gets confusing. It’s a good time to take stock and reflect on who it is you are, under all of that. No cameras, no phones to distract, no documenting… That’s how we will host this very small-scale, intimate salon at the cozy Chong Nonsi venue pictured here. No need to bring anything. All materials will be provided. Hosted by Dipika Kohli. Which means you’ll get activities to facilitate insight-making moments through reflective writing. And a conversation party with other people taking part. No more than 8 seats for this.
Last seen at Neilson Hays Library in 2014, one guest had this to say about SELF…
‘Overcome my fear of writing’
I AM WRITING because I wanted to thank you all for sharing ideas and memoirs, I am very much impressed and really enjoyed the workshop [SELF]. I’ve been working on my writing, and finished one short story which I feel so happy after I finished writing it (it’s in Thai.) I’m working on its English version pretty soon and will send to you all for the feedback. Bottom line is I’m happy to let you know that I’ve somehow overcome my fear of writing, though there’re times when I got stuck with the stories, get distracted, or feel like it’s not good enough – if it was before, I was just going to give up. Now, I feel it challenged me and I find writing more enjoyable. Most importantly, I feel like my writing is getting better too. —J. Lee, Bangkok, 2014
In sum, SELF is a workshop that, intriguingly, also doubles as a conversation party. Meet people interested in exploring, through writing. Find your theme. Peel back the layers. Put your phone away, in a box. (Yes, really). And show up for yourself, for the others, and for a conversation in just under 3 hours that very well could change the course of your year. Are you on for the challenge? Register here.
Disclaimer: If giant life-changing steps follow this workshop, we are not responsible for the people in your life who get mad at us! This has happened.
PEOPLE WHO ARE ALREADY IN MOTION know that the hardest part about starting a thing is, well, starting.
In classic high school Newtonian physics, the coefficient of static friction is greater than the coefficient of kinetic friction. Which means that if you had a mass on a flat surface, for example, you would need less force to push it and keep it moving at a certain velocity if it was already in motion (kinetic) than if, say, it was just sitting there, not moving at all (static). Friction exists. Sure it does. It’s a fact of life. It’s just… Coping with it. If you only have a limited amount of effort you can make, might as well do it where you know that it’s going to have more impact. This is a topic that we are discussing in our current online programme, The Mirror. It’s been quite a few weeks of learning and discovering how to talk more, how to talk more clearly, and how to shape a space in our online forums that, I hope, will continue to seed new inspirations and angles on things, for those of us writing and interconnecting. What would be the map for that kind of quality exchange? How would its arteries be shaped, where would be the high flow channels? (Forgive me, I’m a civil engineer by training… I tend to enjoy things like fluid dynamics and city planning, and building infrastructure for social [ex]change.)
INITIATIVE. Naturally, because of the friction thing, you discover when you are trying out stuff that something new is harder to get going when it’s standing still, or ‘to get it off the ground,’ or to initiate. So much gets in the way. Cloudy headed from your own self-doubt, that’s one, that’s the first hurdle, then there are more and more layers that impede you from moving towards, well, just the starting line. Let’s be honest about it, shall we? Today, I wanted to share a little bit about some people who have inspired me. Specifically, I want to tell you about their work to take an initiative, not just talk, but actually do, to get past blocks, and actually make a thing happen. Two are in Cameron, one is in Melaka. Malaysia. Asia.
So much more to say here about how hard it is to go against the grain of what’s socially acceptable, and what your parents say, and what your peer group is doing, and the general rules about what you’re ‘supposed’ to be doing which are so, so hard to get around. None of them knew, at the start, if their venture ‘would work.’ The Cameron story is just a few months old, and the Melaka one a little longer, but the bonus points that I want to give here for the people who are making and doing are there because they are making and doing in Asia. (I can relate. I come from Asian roots. Even in those United States, growing up with the steadfast rules that Asia extends even when its natives go away, far away, breaking out of the boxes is never a cake walk.)
ASIA. Yeah. Here, it’s extra hard, for the handful of reasons I just mentioned, but also because there aren’t a lot of examples of really interesting creative risk taking. On account of maybe government censorship stuff, too, but also, hey, there’re just not a lot (that I can find easily) of the creative class scene (which is difficult to define, but you have a feeling of it when you see it, right?). Understandably. It’s so hard to get a thing that is new and different to be valued: much simpler to follow the lines that have already been painted for you, go through the motions, live within the boundaries instead of breaking out of the margins. Starting a business and doing it for yourself is hard, everywhere. But it’s multiply difficult to do it, in my opinion, if you are young and taking the chance, and going against what’s accepted in these parts of the world, where enterprise isn’t seen as cool and edgy, but a risk that might embarrass not just you, but those who are near to you. And saving face is such a big part of everything, here, that the whole ‘fail early, fail fast’ rah-rah stuff that the US West Coasters like to run around in cities of Asia touting as the way forward just simply doesn’t blend in with the native program. Does it make sense? With that background, what I’m sharing next, to me, seems extra impressive. Here are the two businesses I wanted to talk about today…
Map Travelodge, Cameron Highlands
UP IN CAMERON HIGHLANDS, known locally as just ‘Cameron,’ I met a pair of cousins who started their own venture, and what struck me about it, was that, through dialogue and casual conversation over the course of four days, then ten, then, at the time of this writing, an embarrassingly lengthy perhaps 20, because once I find a place I like I tend to stick around, well, in the chats and learning I got to see that there are still people who are trying things, even when they don’t know what’s going to happen. Doing it on their own, doing it with their own gumption, and doing what they know a teensy bit about how is what Aaron Goh 吴秉洛 and Peter Goh 吴秉腾 are up to, in Cameron, their native town in the hills here in Malaysia, where I’m writing from at this moment. I wanted to come to the higher country and put down some thoughts about space, about geometry, about systems and emergence, but all of that is sitting in a pile of notes while I write today’s thing, which is about deciding to want to change.
You know, they could have continued doing their jobs: Aaron was working in a big hotel in Penang for six years. He’s now 26. His cousin, Peter, loves traveling and has tons and tons of beautiful photographs (and if you know me, you know I don’t just offer compliments easily, especially on photography). Based on his own travels, Peter told me he wanted to create a ‘backpacker’s home.’ He wanted it to have all the things you would want, if you were living out of a bag and being on the road somewhere. Cafe. Warm reception. Laundry. Food. Privacy in your own space, that sort of thing, And it does, this place, that the two of them co-founded. It’s called Map Travelodge, there’s a humongous wall map that you just can’t not look at for a long time, and I guess seeing that, straightaway, along with the rack of postcards that I found out only later were all taken by Peter himself (no Instagram, no big sign saying ‘look at my beautiful pictures,’ so rare and refreshing in the era of narcissistic exhibitionism. Taken together, to me these things add up to authenticity and being good. Speaking of which, I asked Peter what makes a photograph ‘good.’ He said it is about timing. Then he went and got a postcard with some lions. Their eyes really popped out, so deep and penetrating, and so did the azure of the background sky. Timing, he said, makes the difference. (The same could be said about relationships, how they develop. You watch you learn, you wait. It takes time to grow towards a thing, to feel yourself connecting with it. Right?）
Gastro Coffee Bar, Melaka
IN THE MIDST OF MY STAY IN CAMERON, I took a break to go down to Melaka, to see what my favorite cousin calls ‘hoopla.’ Touristy stuff. There, I discovered despite all the attractions and heritage stuff and people around taking pictures, that I only wanted to take one shot. It’s weird, doing this ‘just one shot’ in a place thing. In the past I was a freelance photographer full time. So that seems odd, but it’s what it is. These days, I only share them with people in DK’s online community, S P A C E. The cheapening of people and places through over documentation, the lack of attention to detail and relating to the people who are experiencing the detail, subverting qualify for something superficial and ‘sexy’, like food porn (?), or insta friendship… These are the sorts of things I got talking about with the owner and proprietor of Gastro Coffee Bar. It’s in a quieter street, not like you’d run into it if you stuck to the main one-day tour route. It took me a few days to warm up to talking about real things, but we did, and in depth, and I wanted to mention her here in this little note on the web about cool people, smart and talented, doing their best to make something out of scratch, despite the odds. (And frowns, from Society, and general I articulated but highly present, palpable dismissiveness, from The West.) Tough subjects!… But why avoid them? I got to meet the incredible Nisa Aziz, owner and proprietor, and the resident cat in her space, and to tell them that I don’t publish the most intimate pieces I write. Why? Relating. Takes time to work up to. A getting to know you. (Japanese-speaking friends might appreciate it put this way: a kaiwa that hazumu-s.) Well, yeah. Of course you want to relate. You want to feel your way towards knowing, a little, and being known is nice, if and when it happens, too. So you wait. Is there going to be a connection? That only time can tell. Or the lions, in the case of Peter Goh’s timing and photography. Letting themselves be seen, at last. Fully, fully naked, but only to the eye that has built the trust with them, a rapport. Relating. And now, let me return to Cameron, and complete the story there.
Being who you are
DOING THEIR OWN THING really impresses me, watching Gastro. And Map, and its day-to-day, and meeting the new staff who’ve come on since my return. Dealing with people, the front desk reception, isn’t easy work, especially when you have girls in the dorm who start obsessing arbitrarily about bed bugs, which I watched unfold one evening at about 1AM in a conference that, really, wow, to watch it… There weren’t any, bugs that is, there were just paranoid people who were taking pictures of flies or whatever and screaming away as they cross-referenced them with the Internet.
People are a little zany, at times. One girl talked for like 4 hours about it. There was an expert, a 22-year old who’d been talking with me quite calmly moments before about Love and Art, but subjects those are, too, and she came in to share everything she knew from having just experienced this, like how to cope with these things, yeah. She came in from another room, and started to give a mini lecture. This was what happened. Big-eyed people were shooting questions at her, and she happily replied in detail. ‘They look like this… you seem let me describe this, or wait, see, how this would be, the shape is this. Their feet look like this… They grow like this… The light changes it, they aren’t going to come out if there’s light… This is how to cope, and then… Make sure you… warm water… Don’t forget that these things are also good to know… And when that happens, this is what you can expect next…’ While all this went on, a dozen heads poked out, you had to open your curtain to hear, and we all leaned out, watching her. She lit up on that stage, expanding in long form about how bed bugs move around, reproduce, grow, and are eradicated. People jumped in with their burning questions. ‘Can they walk across the floor? Is my bag okay there? Have you seen one here?! Can they go through zippers? Can they eat clothing? Can they reproduce inside your sheets? Can they stay alive for days?’ I couldn’t help it. I just went, ‘Can they apparate?’…
All kinds of ways to try a thing
A BUNCH OF PEOPLE would be gone the next day, as happens in a place like this that rotates clientele regularly. They’d go and more would come, and you’d hear the same exact stories every time. ‘We just got here. We’re going to figure out what trail or tour we’re going to do tomorrow, then we’re going to go for dinner.’ There are card games, or chess, in the common room, which is nice to see. Wifi is spotty so you just have to wing it, and it’s kind of refreshing to see people talking talking instead of just zoning out doing what I’m doing right now (typing into a device).
These things make me happy. People who are making things, sharing things. Doing things. Not because they have to, but because they want to. They’re not in this because they want to make a ton of money, that much is clear. They’re making a space. Just like us, here at DK. To host people. To give you a place to stop in, for a while. Make sure you’re comfortable, that the space you’re in is safe, and clean. How much more could you ask, when you’re on the road for a while, far from home? Yeah, it would be neat to share this coliving experience with friends or family, one day, but my friends and family aren’t about to hop on a plane to Asia and stop in to a hostel with me for a while!… Ludicrous!
I guess there’s just a stigma around pushing out of your zone, challenging your static friction coefficient, in a way, and going and doing whatever you bloody well feel like doing. It’s a luxury and privilege, I recognize, to be able to do this moving forth and generally meandering thing, but now that I look back on the last five years, I realize it’s more than that. It’s wanting it. Change starts there. With wanting it. You can go and stay where you are and wish and hope and talk about things, but you don’t really go and do them not because you can’t, but because, deep down, you don’t really want to. Me? I’m not interested in turning this blog into a ‘how we did it’ thing. That’s just dumb. I’m interested in sharing tools and tips and resources with people like Nisa, Peter, and Aaron, who are young and on their way. They’re already experiencing the ups and downs that will continue to befall them, there’s no going around it, you just have to go through. But you teach yourself so much when you do… Go through.
Like business, like travel, like starting new chapters, change is the thing that has to come from within, from wanting it. Not for everyone. And to return to that question of what makes a thing good, I’ll love to tell you more about that, if you become part of S P A C E in March or April, where the theme is Quality. (Sharing, for me, has to start with relating, and I just can’t do that on the public Internet, these days. Not for everyone.)
LUXURY OF TIME. The space to create. These are things that a lot of people I’m reconnecting with, so far, this year have said they really wish they could have, and seem to think that I have, and therefore there is a sense of… How can I say to them, it’s not about having it. It’s about designing for it. What you want. That’s just not a popular viewpoint. But, so? It’s mine. And apparently, with the new people I’ve met and written about above… it’s theirs, too.
Proceed with caution. But don’t stop.
This story was underwritten by members of S P A C E. Join us.
A POPUP CONVERSATION salon, with snippets from our 2014-2017 highlights from the ezine, S P A C E. We will be hosting this in real life at a venue in Penang to be shared with registered guests only. Free with RSVP. To RSVP, contact DK through the form here.
MEET DK in Kuala Lumpur to talk about things related to creativity, learning, play, travel, journaling, and the journeys. It’s an open-space format conversation salon. If you’re curious about new and different others, and are interested in a chance to connect I ways that don’t involve hand phones, Google, CVs, or bars, this could be a good fit, for you. Ideas. Personalities. Really talking, and about things in depth, not trivially: that’s S P A C E. This is part of the Atelier S P A C E || Kuala Lumpur (17-30 January) programme. Location details to be shared with those who indicate interest in attending. Let us know you’re interested thorugh this form? Agenda, meetpoint to follow from there.
I THINK we have it. A theme. For our next zinemaking popup, Atelier S P A C E || Kuala Kumpur. Travel. Transit hub that it is, it makes a great setting for the kinds of meandering that wanderers love. Let’s talk travel, new places, showing up, taking chances, favorite music, best of’s, and more. And let’s do it in real life, with our phones turned off, in a box. Yes? Hit us up for details. Or check out this page.
Converse. Connect. Discover. New people, new thinking, and new perspectives. Sharing in real life with people you have no idea just how much you might have in common with. It’s a new year, coming up, and this is a chance to take stock on where you’ve been so far, and chart a course for where you’re going. How do you do this when you don’t have everything ‘figured out?’ A prompt-led dialogue that will feature breakout sessions, small group work, and introspective reflection, all in one short afternoon, could very well be just the nudge you need to motivate yourself to follow your heart, and dream big. As seen in Hanoi (May-June 2017), ‘The Art of Not Knowing’ is a light and fun conversation salon that will make time and room for you to explore these exciting and deeply personal questions, but not in an intrusive way, and with a lot of lightheartedness along the way. See for yourself. See what making space can reveal to you about… you. Hashtag? #dada #surrealist #exploration #selfconcept
Just 6 spots. RSVP to confirm your attendance. RSVP through this form:
ATELIER S P A C E is just underway here in George Town Penang.
In a planning session, ‘Creative Process’ came up. Questions about the approach towards creating new things. Most important, one guest said, is that there is a chance to reflect on one’s own self and self-learning–that this is more important, perhaps, than sharing. There were some counterpoints, too. If it’s not something a person can grasp, then why should there be interest, for ex. A thought: how much of the creative process is important to make space for public sharing, and how much is for personal discovery? Where can we explore how to make a thing both intriguing (to us) and relatable (to others)? Or is that even important? (If it’s Art, maybe not. If it’s Design, maybe so. Or?)
Our theme for S P A C E || Penang is Growth.
Check out all that’s ahead in Penang at this page.
Next stop, KL.