‘You’re supposed to be a starving artist’

‘… AND THEN WHEN that was done, I came back…’

‘To start something new.’

‘I suppose.’

‘Well, you could do that, here.’

‘I know! It’s wonderful. I have space and time to write anything. Anything at all. And it feels good, getting better.’

‘With practice.’

‘Yes. Also, without the pressure of having to produce something for the market.’

‘The market drives things.’

‘It does.’

‘But the market doesn’t know what a good thing is. It just knows what a thing that people want is.’

‘Yes.’

‘And a thing that people want is made up by the stories and illusions that marketers make so that people talk themselves into wanting those things. Look at sillybands!, is that what that craze was called? Look at diamond rings! Did you see that spoof of the diamond thing, on YouTube? That was so hilarious.’

‘I saw that! Ohmygod. That was so funny.’

‘What about though, the fact that we’re just so damn distarcted now. We can’t even deal with something that’s more than 200 characters long to read. It makes us tired. Overwhelmed. What about that?’

‘You want people to pay attention. To think.’

‘Yeah.’

‘Well, that’s hard.’

‘Yeah!’

‘You want people to notice each other. And to be able to pay attention to the beauty in the space around, and within. Right? That’s what you said? Something about gems and beauty and aura?’

‘That’s what I said, all right.’

‘And you’re in a sort of despair. Because of that stupid novel.’

‘That stupid novel! I couldn’t believe it! I opened it to study about how to you know, look at characters, set up dialogues, setting, stuff like that, see how other people do it, the bestsellers, and my gosh, it’s just pure shite. I’m gonna stick to classics, now. But you know, I was really disappointed because… It was an Irish author, so I had better expectations from the things that I got, but what I saw was a piece of crap. Made for the market. Made for people who simply want to escape from the monotony of their day to day lives.’

‘Isn’t that what novels are for? Aren’t you being overly critical of someone else’s art?’

‘No! Novels and books, short stories, poems, music of all kinds… the kind that I love is the kind that shakes it up. Makes you think about things in a new way. And you know what? It wasn’t art. It really, really wasn’t. Not according to my definition: which is where, you know, it’s more about the universal truths and relating to that which is all of ours, not just some casual throwaway cheap thrillers about suburban love trysts. Fucking boring.’

‘You want stuff that changes people’s thinking, a little. I think that’s what you’re saying. You want stuff that makes… well… Says… “look at that.”’

‘Yes! And I keep running into people who challenge me to do that, too. To look at things in new ways, around and around, from varying perspectives. This is the fun of it, the discovering and the journey.’

Click to pre-order ‘Briefly’

‘You’re talking a lot about moving around and seeing things and shaking it up. But what about practically? How do you pay for all this?’

‘That’s a good f’ing question, mate.’

‘But how do you?’

‘Secret.’

‘No, seriously. I need to know.’

‘Pay attention to the things I am saying, and I’ll start paying attention to your questions. Until you become part of my circle, I don’t know you. The invitations are there. All the time. But if you just can’t be bothered participating, what am I supposed to do? Follow up on everything? Hope that you’ll come on board? I finally shortlisted my list of contacts. I found myself realizing I simply don’t care about most of the old ones. Just don’t. Just can’t. Too many people! I can’t keep up. Do I want to keep up? No. I can’t do that, without compromising. And I don’t want to compromise. That’s why I’m not writing porn for the masses, or sci fi for the geeks, or ‘be like me’ crap for the life coach-y. I hate that stuff. I want to make art, mate. Art! Not art for the sake of art, for me, or whatever, and by the way, did you see the film Posthumous?, that, and yeah, not art for self-expression in a ditch of a hut off to the side of the woods forever or anything like that, but art because… the conversation is the art. The noticing of one another. The being-here-now. I am learning all the time, of course, but it’s time to start practicing, sharing, making S P A C E for more than just me. I can’t do this thing alone. Someone told me yesterday…’

‘You told me. That “artists are supposed to be starving.”’

‘I told you? Yeah. What a load of bollix.’

‘But didn’t you meet that marketing person who said he wanted to be a publicist for you?’

‘Oh, him. I can’t even tell you what a bunch of irritating movements I had to suppress during that short, awkward talk. I wanted to run. I didn’t want to talk about making myself into a spectacle for the internet to feel like they could relate to. My gosh. If there’s anything that I care about, it’s making spaces for real life and real conversations that are real. That means awkward, too, that means just… showing up, to see what happens, because you don’t know. And that’s okay. The point is not to be perfect! I don’t even care! You can just try, that’s what it’s about, right? Staying home and watching Netflix. That’s the biggest competition I have when it comes to S P A C E-making, that is to say, events and hosting them, for sheer learning and practice, but it’s… okay. If people want to stay home, fine! I don’t need to be cool or persuasive. I just want to find the people who are interested in being found, invited, and brought to the spaces where we can really talk. About stuff. Real stuff. I keep saying this! Why is it so hard, now? Why is real life so intense? Why is it hard to make an appointment? Why does it take six months to meet again? Why does it have to be that calling someone requires 52 emails? Why do people cancel? Why does this happen? I can’t deal. I just shut down, really. But I also know that this is a way of avoiding everything; the same exact issue I’m trying to attack. We can’t get so bored and distracted, so lonely and unhappy that we forget about the very miracle of being here. Simply just being! Think about it. All that… stuff of 50 billion years of evolution? Did you read what Einstein said about that? I could quote it here. I could! I could make something like a ‘80 ways Einstein gave us Pause to Reflect’ post and try to get clicks and stuff, but whatever. I don’t care. I don’t think clicks matter. I think people matter. People. Matter. Why is this so hard to get across, now?’

‘Hm. You’re bringing up some hard questions, now. Why do you think people don’t like you making your art?’

‘I dont care about them~!’

‘But… Don’t you think that the system wants you to starve?’

‘I think some people in the system, the ones who are joining me in S P A C E, for example, well, they recognize that if artists starve, then we all suffer, ‘cause we lose the light.’

‘You’re a poet.’

‘F yeah.’

‘So what are you working on now?’

‘Editing Briefly in Sheffield for my good friend, Karin Malhotra.’

‘Who?’

‘I know. Not famous. Writes from the heart. Not popular.’

Discover ‘Briefly’

‘How’s it all going? Isn’t editing hard??’

‘Yeah, but for goodness’ sake. I’ve been editing since the eighties. So yeah. Practice. And it’s going super. I’m really excited about keeping things short, and sweet, and a zine is a way to do that. There are three sections to it. Three… acts, kind of. So you get to discover the 1998 story in England, plus the more recent, 2016 update. It’s pretty neat, I think.’

‘Is publishing fun?’

‘Yes! Skipping over all the mainstream market and starting this S P A C E the Z I N E series has been really good, so far. Some people are truly supportive and I’m getting great feedback from S P A C E || Battambang’s story, Here Comes the Dance. Which is about the Age of Anxiety. Good to talk about. In fact, brilliant.’

‘Tell me more.’

‘Well, I’ve got some really great people helping me with getting the dialect right, for Yorkshire, and understanding the landscape of the city of Sheffield, which some of us went to visit and suss out in person in 2016, just so this would be more… real. More honest. You can’t write about something if you don’t go and see it. This is why I can’t get excited about most travel stories, they’re just concocted from bits and pieces gleaned from internet research. And we all now the internet is not the place to trust stuff. It used to be cool and fun, to connect with others, far away, about things you care about. Now it’s just… hard. But you asked about the new zine? ‘Briefly?’ I did a Q&A with Karin, it’s here.’

Welcome to Connection, welcome to S P A C E

REPORTING TODAY from a secret location in Malaysia. For a bit of space, to reflect and connect, with some whose paths I’ve crossed very recently, and with those who are still engaged with DK through our mailings in [S P A C E 2018].

Allora.

‘New starts’, part LXII

I love starting over. I really do. It’s like when you open a new sketchbook and you’re just like, ‘Wow. Here we go. Where, though? Let’s go find out.’ I told some people in recent days I was in art school for like 10 minutes. It was way too early to be there, or really, it was way too wrong, for me, even then, even then I had a gut feeling about it… that style of making is just like production-oriented other schooling (commercial arts), and while I’ve no problem whatsoever with artmaking for a client (heck, that’s how I’ve lived these last 10+ years), I don’t think we should mess around with the ‘art of art.’ I will love to talk more about that in S P A C E when I get to interview someone whom I am sure you will adore meeting. I certainly have.

Anyway! This kind of quick-and-dirty art-for-the-sake-of-fame is just… not what I feel like real art is about. Real art is about experience, to me. About life, and about connexion-making. Not just you know, the usual kinds (love, work, blah blah), but about unusual and remarkable connexion. People whose paths might not have crossed, intersecting in fascinating new ways.

You know what most people say when I talk about this? ‘But, why, DK? Whatever is the point?’ These are the people who will never believe that I haven’t held a day job since 2005. The beginning half of the conversation with this set of people tires me. I stopped. I only talk now in S P A C E and with people I think would get into S P A C E aesthetically. It’s really weird. But anyway. Really, I should answer.

Why? Because quality. A pursuit of beauty that means we are noticing each other, for real. Not just superficially, gosh. Really? Come on, like how many of your ‘friends’ are going to show up for you when you ask them to come around to your show, or meet for a beer because someone just died, or something? Come on, be real about it. Ask yourself. Is all that stuff where you want to be spending your time? Not me.

Someone asked me for my facebook yesterday. I said I don’t have one. I don’t think he believed me. Then he asked for my number. I don’t have one of those, either.

‘How do people get in touch with you, then, DK?’

Mailing list!

Just being honest about it… about how I really… don’t collect people. I share, and interconnect, I hope, when it’s working that’s what happens, when we are all showing up for that kind of thing. It’s not arbitrary and it’s certainly not for everyone. The reason you have to get tickets for stuff we are hosting is because I want to filter out the people who are just bored and looking for something to fill their time. I want people to show up who want to show up for this kind of jam. New. New and different. New and different others, seeking meaning in a distracted world. Shall I add, an indifferent world? Because certainly this work we are up to at S P A C E and DK in general is morphing away, and very quickly, from simply being bored with boring (which is how it started, as a design studio), and catapulting headlong towards being intentional about noticing people who are not like you. Does this make it political? Possibly. I don’t know how this happens; wherever I go, I get involved somehow in things related to ideologies that move towards human connexion that builds, together, something interesting. Self-governance or maybe just art.

I’m not sure. Is it the same? Does one necessarily fertilize the other? What precludes these things? Is where we are going as a global society something to talk about, more? I wonder. (I’m just riffing here. Let’s talk, if you want to: there’s a form at this page.)

Day in KL

(Side story: ‘I studied the philosophy of art. A guy named __.’ ‘Oh yeah! What did he say??’ ‘It was a long time ago. I can’t remember.’ ‘…’ ‘…’ ‘…’ ‘Are you bored?’ ‘YES.’ <—- This is why I don’t go out, often, to the ‘normal’ places where it’s socially encouraged to mingle. And the exact reason I made S P A C E.)

I’m bored, of course, (of course? Is it a given, really?) with the status quo. Always have been. Always will be. The status quo is where stuff gets sucked into the pockets of mediocirty, the whole ‘We’ve already run that kind of a story,’ thinking or, ‘This is just how it has always been, DK, can we just go back to the way we’ve always done it?’ Me: Please, no. Please, let’s try something new. Can we? No? You don’t want to? Well, okay. Goodbye. How many times have I been stuck? 61. I counted. And now, let’s move forwards. Let’s go to Malaysia. Let’s go see who’s around, and what we can experience, together. Ready, set.

And… hello.

‘Kaunter Tiket’ the zine launches on 1 May. Hosting a few events with friends to kick things off. // Photos by DK and, immediately above, photo by: Araujojoan96

 

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30 April | STAMMTISCH in Kuala Lumpur

WHEN I WORKED a day job, in architecture, I found out about ‘The Great Good Place,’ a book and idea of Ray Oldenburg‘s, who called one’s “first place” the home and the “second place” the workplace. Wikipedia says his ‘third places,’ ‘are “anchors” of community life and facilitate and foster broader, more creative interaction.’

(‘Does this have anything to do with me,’ you ask? Well, if you are feeling like there ought to be more to life than home and work, then yeah. It does.) A third place, the article goes on to spell out, welcomes you, is comfy, and is highly accessible.

Old and new people are there. There’s no agenda (social, legal political, etc), and you can come and go as you like. ‘Third places put no importance on an individual’s status in a society. Someone’s economic or social status do not matter in a third place, allowing for a sense of commonality.’ No prerequisites, no obligations. And my favorite part is this: ‘Conversation is main activity. Happy conversation is the main focus of activity in third places… The tone of conversation is usually light… and humorous; wit and good natured playfulness are valued… Regulars to third places attract newcomers, and are there to help someone new to the space feel welcome and accommodated.’ Guess what?

DK started hosting STAMMTISCH, a German concept of Third Place, in real life on six Mondays while in Phnom Penh. Let’s try it here, in KL. Let’s start a Third Place. It brings us together. To talk. Can you dig it? Let’s converse. ‘Occupants of third places often have the same feelings of warmth, possession, and belonging as they would in their own homes. They feel a piece of themselves is rooted in the space, and gain spiritual regeneration by spending time there.’ Yes?

More info here.

‘Kaunter Tiket’

S P A C E || Kuala Lumpur

AVAILABLE in both print and soft copy, this issue of S P A C E is a 2-volume, limited edition zine. It was released on June 1, 2018.

It’s set in Kuala Lumpur in December, 2017, when DK and others were gathered there for Atelier S P A C E to look for the hyperlocal story and make a zine. It relates the honest dialogue between two women (‘both middle-aged, single, and tough with men’). In the story, two main characters, both brassy in very different ways, open their innermost vaults of secrets to one another, swapping candid stories about ‘the way it is,’ in their respective opinions, when it comes to love, admiration, power, and sexuality.

Sweet dreams are made of this/ Travel the world and the seven seas/ Everybody’s looking for something… —Eurythmics

These are the print version. Get one by postal mail, just click that option at the order page.

THE HEROINE of this piece is a woman whose real-life story left DK so speechless, that we completely overhauled the story originally published last winter. Since then, the team collaborating on the zine continued shaping the story, to refine the so that it is much more a portrait of one particular strain of a life, a style, and a philosophy.

In this work of creative nonfiction, ‘Kaunter Tiket,’ corporate exec Ritu Raj meets a remarkable and unexpected chance encounter, and sees in an insightful instant it will reframe her perceptions of material, and personal, success.

Worlds apart, but joined in their experience of a series of life experiences with common denominators, two women enter an all-night dialogue that will touch on all angles they can manage to delve into on the subject of love relationships.

Look forward in this short, packed zine to discovering an unexpected intrigue, witnessing closehand a superior poise, cutting up mainstream media’s images of female beauty, and being allowed to witness a bright, passionate resilience.

Set in the smoky billow of neither heartbreak nor apathy, but reality, the story starts somewhere behind Jalan Sultan Ismail.

New recountings of age-old narratives invite you to rethink painted facades and false illusion, to re-examine your own storages of untested so-called certainties that may just disintegrate when challenged arduously, (as was the real life experience that inspired this story), by someone who simply knows a thing, by living it, a thing very basic and primal, and yet, a thing that many of us will never be able to access. DK insist that true connexion starts with showing up, that means paying attention, noticing and being there when someone begins to let the floodgates open. In this case, an honest beginning of just such a kind of personal connexion led DK and the team at Atelier S P A C E to revise theories about ‘status’ and ‘motive,’ and to note with alacrity thanks to one woman’s wisdom, how nothing and no one are as they may at first seem.

How to order a copy of ‘Kaunter Tiket’…

Order here.

 

‘Briefly in Sheffield’

S P A C E || Sheffield

Order here.

Set in England, November 1998 and May 2016. Creative nonfiction based on real life encounters, S P A C E tells stories in third-person narrative. ‘Briefly in Sheffield’ is part of the larger series, S P A C E, a set of interwoven stories spanning the past, present and near future.

‘Briefly’ is one of DK’s first zine releases, and to help us all understand more about it, I recently interviewed the author, Karin Malhotra.

AS: You’ve been working on this a while, right?

KM: Twenty years. Jeez. That is a long time.

AS: And you’re finished? Why now?

KM: Timing. Chance. Discovering the thread in a moment that felt just right, and that tied up the loose ends into a work that is cohesive, to me, aesthetically. Also it was finished over Khmer New Year, and I was in Phnom Penh, pretty much not able to do anything else but write, since not a lot was open, people were away, and the atmosphere was quiet enough to focus and work. Not on the thing I imagined I would write (an assignment) with the time I had, but this just sort of flowed. I am glad about it. It has been meaning to be written, but I just… couldn’t… figure out the form… and other stories got made in the meantime, based on recency, interviewing people, wrapping quickly.

AS: Any examples?

KM: Sure. We collaborated to make S P A C E || Penang, which leads with ‘4/4 Measure,’ or S P A C E || Cameron, ‘Highlands.’ Fast is Design Kompany’s usual style; one of our team was at a daily, in 2004-5, so the tempo is real fast. Got used to quick wraps, now with the early zine prototyping at DK in 2016, practicing for this series. Ironic that ‘Briefly’ took two decades.

AS: Did you not just participate in Atelier S P A C E in Phnom Penh?

KM: Well…  yes. But we couldn’t get inspired, not yet, to make a zine for Phnom Penh. I guess it is too soon. We did get the cover shot, though. A window, a wall.

AS: So we will see it in 2038?

KM: *laughs* Um.

Sheffield. ‘Everyone always asks… Why?’
Peak District side tour

AS: So what about Sheffield?

KM: I went there in 2016.

AS: Because of Z.

KM: Inspired by. Not because of. Different. I remember writing a version of the first scene of this in like, 1999. But it was too soon. Plus I knew I really needed to get there, to Sheffield, I mean, if I wanted to get the story right. With proper details. I’ve always really wanted to write about my favorite people and places… Z. is based on someone I had met very briefly, but who challenged me to articulate ideas I couldn’t find words for, not yet, not then. It took ages years to get there, both the city and the necklace of the storyline, but when I did, I could finally respond to some of the big questions we had tussled with.

AS: Such as?

KM: Usual ones, for kids like us.

About life, work, and duty.

About culture, family, and social responsibility.

AS: ‘Kids like us?’ What do you mean?

KM: Oh. Being second-generation. Non-white, in countries like America and England.

Mugen Tea House, Sheffield
City Centre

AS: I know that this is an important subject for you, and I would like to hear more about it. Can you elaborate?

KM: Honestly, I’d rather not intellectualize this. If you want to really understand the feelings, the feelings are written into the story. I think art’s job is to get us to see things for ourselves, right? Too many times, I feel, authors and publicity people want to put words into nice, tight paragraphs that sound good, and goad you into buying stuff. That’s just not what matters to me. What matters to me is telling the story, telling it well, and showing the personality of Z., whom this is about, really. The earnest, soft, kind youth of a world apart from mine; our parents lineages’ clash, you see, India, Pakistan… that about sums it, right? But yeah. Second-generation. He was so different from me, and yet… awake and curious to learning the how and why of a new angle on life, and philosophy, even at that young age that we both were, at the time. Long story but I’ve put it down in a short form… Zines are handy, that way.

AS: A zine. What is that?

KM: A zine is a short, DIY-published piece, usually photocopied in limited edition and distributed by hand. But in this case, it’s a soft copy. An eZine.

AS: Okay. Let me understand this. It took you 20 years to write this. And it’s a work of creative nonfiction. The story, ‘Briefly in Sheffield,’ is set in England in 1998 and 2016. Why publish it now? Why Sheffield? 

KM: Fair questions. Okay, so, the zine, S P A C E || Sheffield, is part of a larger collection, S P A C E, that interweaves people and place, and hits square on underasked questions about: origin, cultural identity, and self. Isn’t now a good time to bring up these topics, given the world situation? I thought so. That’s why.

AS: Where can I get it?

KM: Scroll down.

AS: But okay. Twenty years??

KM: Working out the ideas and getting to a stance on things… that took a while! But I’m glad I waited. I’m glad I let things percolate, so that when I wrote the last chapter of this, it would mean something. It would have come from a place of substantial rumination, of query and argument, discussion, revisiting, reboots and regenerations. So much is packed in this.

AS: What happened when you finally got to Sheffield?

KM: You’ll have to read the story!… Many thanks to Golden Harvest and Mugen Tea House in Sheffield for the excellent conversations. And ZM, for whom this zine is written. *Chuffed*

 

How to order ‘Briefly in Sheffield’…

Order here.

 

 

16 April | STAMMTISCH in Phnom Penh

STAMMTISCH is MONDAY. Guest artist Mike Dynamo will talk with us about music and writing. More below. Ticket registration page is here.

 

Salons: What are they?

Design Kompany hosts conversation salons. This is what it looks like. Pictured, from left: ‘The State of Publishing’ in Durham NC with Mercury Studio, MAKE at Fishmongers Durham NC, ‘Modern Sikkim’ in Gangtok India, ‘Breakfast in Cambodia’ at TINI in Phnom Penh, flyer for Designers Korner standing date at Stumbling Monk, which looked like the last image. Good fun. These happened 2011 through today, in (most of the time) very small circles.

Meet new people. Discover S P A C E. At Monday’s meetup in Phnom Penh, STAMMTISCH. What is it? A place that’s not home, that’s not work. For conversations with a center, and not sides. No agenda, not religious, just let’s meet and talk. But briefly. Let’s play?

When we first talked to Steve Zelle, or @idApostle, about creativity and the process, we realized the thinking would become more than just one short email conversation. It grew into a blog post, then a guest post, then a conversation salon, then a series. MAKE: ‘What is the creative process, who uses it, and what changes as a result?’ has happened three times and gathered more than 200 people. DK host MAKE in Phnom Penh as a low-key, small circle, at the standing date on Mondays called STAMMTISCH. (‘The creative process never looks like this’ graphic by Steve Zelle, first featured at his guest post, ‘A Sprinkle of Magic Dust’.)

 

Monday, 16 April’s programme: ‘Welcome to the Creative Process’

Phnom Penh-based musician and writer Mike Dynamo will be joining us at STAMMTISCH.

His blog post, ‘Has the Artist Been Killed and Replaced by the Entrepreneur?’, inspires this week’s session.

Meetpoint: Java 2F 4-6:30. At one of the outside tables.

Here’s a light agenda…

  • 4PM Podcasting
  • 5PM Artrepreneurship II
  • 5:30PM Short Salon: ‘MAKE: What is the creative process?’

 

About Mike Dynamo

Mike Dynamo is a Phnom Penh-based musician, writer, and thinker. He knows a little bit about a wide mashup of topics—culture, film, video games—and can converse at length about anything with remarkable energy. Substantially, not trivially. (Though he does host a weekly trivia night at Lucky Gecko). His piece, ‘Has the Artist been replaced by the Artrepreneur?’ starts like this:

There was an interesting piece in the Atlantic from two years ago that was about the relationship between art and commerce throughout the ages – what it means and where it is heading. The writer, William Deresiewicz, delved into the paradigm shift between the “hard-working artisan, solitary genius, credentialed professional,” and the birth of the creative entrepreneur. I could barely wrap my head around it because it’s so difficult to understand what exactly I’m trying to create while still clinging to the old ideas that art isn’t meant to be a pursuit of massive attention as much as a divine gift from beyond to be used for its own sake. Read the full story >

 

About Dipika Kohli

Dipika Kohli is an author, artist, and designer. Her studio, Design Kompany, was founded in 2006 in Seattle WA USA, and has been exclusively freelance since. While in the US, she orgnanized a salon, MAKE: ‘What is the creative process, who uses it, and what changes as a result?’. This gathered more than 70 creatives and scientists around Research Triangle Park (aka ‘The Triangle) in NC to talk about these questions, together. Out-takes are at this writeup on Processed Identity. Ahead of the event MAKE, DK had asked the Ottawa-based graphic designer who runs it, Steve Zelle, to share a guest post with DK. That post, ‘A sprinkle of magic dust,’ is really great. And it’s here.

 

FAQs

 

Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?

Ages 16+

 

Can I come for just a portion of it?

Sure. But as we have very limited seats, be sure to register to confirm your attendance.

 

Can I pay on the day?

You can, but we do have limited seating. If you’d rather show up on the day, bring exact change to help us out. The tickets are: $15 + 1000 riel, so as to cover handling fees.

 

Where can I learn more?

Get an idea of what will happen when you check out the range of Design Kompany’s events. To do that, go here: http://designkompany.com/ateliers. Questions welcome, send them on to Jas Plac, that’s me, at DK, through the form at this page.

7 May | What can digital nomads learn from Dead Poets

NEXT up, in our interactive magazine S P A C E, is ‘A Nomadic Existence.’ Our 12-week programme lets you drop into the ‘rooms’ where we are hosting deeper conversations on topics popping up each week. What’s been talked about, and what’s being talked about now, are in the protected-pages posts at this blog.

Learn more here.

A Nomadic Existence x Dead Poets Society

New tracks for April & May online workshops

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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! ✨

Drawing: Wikipedia Creative Commons

 


Start conversations with DK in S P A C E.

 

S P A C E || Computing

‘THEY JUST…’

‘Yeah, well.’

‘Well, you know I can’t really judge. I’ve been doing the same thing all day.’

‘Computing?’

‘Yeah.’

‘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.’

‘Ciao, ciao.’

*

*emails* ‘That was fun, hanging out!’

*emails* ‘See you in a few hours!’

This is 6/100 in the series 100 conversations.

Hoity toity jargon-happy boringness, academics and obfuscation

‘IT WOULD BE UNINTERESTING, is why.’

‘What? You always kind of start from left field, I feel, with no grounding, scene setting, stage, or the like.’

‘That’s… just clutter.’

‘No. It’s context.’

‘Oh.’

‘Not many people would be this patient, you know. Writing has to grab you, hook you in..’

‘You sound like a coach! And from the nineties, at that. I met someone just the other day who is stuck in the past, so it feels familiar. The disinterest in new forms.’

‘!’

‘Putting it into plain words is hard.’

‘Try.’

‘Well, OK. There are these really interesting people everywhere doing interesting things, like the fake grass on the tuk tuk, that is so cool, and those garden-y vibes with the plants poking up the sides, I love that! It’s so modern! I love it!’

‘And?’

‘Then, you get the researchers coming in somehow mucking about with opinions and so called objective data, I’m being influenced, okay, by the books we are reading in book club here in S P A C E, but yeah. Those people aren’t interested in intrinsic beauty, or the emergent. They can’t see it. They’re stuck with old rulers measuring things that no longer count. It’s obsolete. It’s a waste of time…. Of resources. I want to tell them… Look at it. What’s there. Really look.’

‘Is this looking and seeing and reflection stuff you are making lots and lots of posts about lately, is this related to the bad metrics?’

‘YES, it is.’

‘Go on.’

 

Misoneism

‘OLD IDEAS get in the way. The cutting edge is the not yet obvious. The inner circles want familiarity, something trustworthy, something they can say, This has been socially validated. “Therefore, it must be Good.” Trouble is, what’s Good is changing, changes all the time, based on what is there, what’s potentially there, and like I said, what’s emergent. This is systems stuff. Systems thinking. And no, I’m not co-opting a term from engineering because it’s fashionable if I wanted to do that I would expound for four paragraphs on holography, illusion, projections, mind and consciousness, wholeness and the implicate order, not-real things that sound like sci fi, and you know, well, yeah, believing in the existence of atoms. And that hoax.’

‘Huh? Hoax?’

‘Oh. I should talk about that some more. Maybe I will. Maybe in The Mirror, week 14 or something, after the last week? After Week 12’s New Geometries. I should, really. It’s so damn hilarious what those people did, what with these bollix academic writings and getting them published in a so called intellectual thing!’

‘Thing.’

‘Hoity toity journal of nothing really at all, because the words are bulky and the ideas are convoluted. Tell it clearly! Say it simply! Don’t cover it up with your pretentiousness and  cumbersome vocabulary! How do you do that? Know your subject! Know what it is about it that turns you on! If I can’t see the you in what you are saying, even if it’s fact-y fact-y, then I don’t care! A lot of thinkers and philosophers and politicians got where they did because they didn’t put up a bunch of jargon nothingness, they just said it! What it was! Why it mattered! The best artists i know aren’t afraid to answer the question, “What are you into, mate?” Cause!… Cause yeah. If you can’t explain it to a five year old, you don’t know what you are saying.’

‘Did you? Explain this to a five year old?’

‘Yes! O.’

‘What did she say?’

‘”There is no point climbing over walls when a door would do, nicely.”‘

‘Mmm. You sure you’re not just mad though?’

‘No! I just steer way clear, usually. Of the misoneists.’

Excerpted from the S P A C E edition of DK’s eBook Nostalgia Ca Phe (April 2018). This post is part of a series, 100 conversations, underwritten by members of S P A C E.

STAMMTISCH #5 || A salon about the creative process and why we bother to make, design

Update: In April 2018, DK are hosting this event for creatives in Phnom Penh and who are passing through to talk about the process of “making” and “making a living,” and how those two things relate to one another. Inspired by conversations with “digital nomads” in Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia, plus a budding interest in something *new* that will get us offline and looking at one another, made DK become interested in restarting the real-life Monday meet ups that we used to do in a past life in Seattle. The fifth ‘Stammtisch’ is going to be in Phnom Penh this coming Monday. Limited seats. Advance bookings only. It’s $15 to participate. Register here.

***

Artrepreneurship: ‘Is it right for me?’

Photo: OMNI Photostudios

SALON & MEETUP FOR DESIGNERS. This is the fifth time that we will host STAMMTISCH in Phnom Penh. We’ll make it short, sweet and a chance to mingle with creative people based in this city or just passing through. STAMMTISCH #5 in Phnom Penh on Monday is designed to be very small, and a chance to share some of the creative projects we are all working on.

DK is seeking creative people to connect and interconnect in real life. STAMMTISCH is s a traveling series. This started in an earlier form as ‘Designers Korner’ in Seattle 2006-2009 at Stumbling Monk and Vermillion Gallery in Capitol Hill. After that we circled to other places: Durham NC, Raleigh, Bangkok, and Phnom Penh. Join us for the next conversations. Details will be announced on our calendar for where, but it’s always on Monday, 4-6:30PM. (Can’t come because you have ‘work?’ Well, this is by design meant to be for people who are in charge of their own schedules. Makes for a more intriguing conversation, we’ve found, that way.)

Design Kompany events have been featured in GOOD magazine, North Carolina’s Independent Weekly, Seattle’s The Stranger, and Asia Life Cambodia.

WHO SHOULD COME TO STAMMTISCH #5. You also have a difficult time accepting ‘schools of design’ or fads. You will have earned your chops, but know when to keep your eyes and ears open. You are naturally curious and want to connect with the world in a meaningful way. You care about quality. You know that ultimately, your toughest client is yourself. You are someone who has worked in a design field for long enough to know that networking with others who’ve also got some experience is time valuably spent. That’s because we have different approaches to overlapping concerns: choosing our clientele, continuing to innovate and grow our businesses, how to best develop new products and services, and where to uncover new opportunities.

WHY THIS MATTERS. The world is changing, and the ‘how’ of making work work is something we can learn from one another in a conversation salon like this: real-time, real-life conversations with others also doing, making, sharing and growing. DK seeks others who are interested in learning about the way others think, that is, who are open to new ways of trying things. Ultimately, we make a break from the old thinking of ‘this is how it’s always been done.’ Status quo kills beauty in design. That’s what we feel. Let’s meet and connect and share what’s been interesting and new, in person, on this Monday afternoon. STAMMTISCH is one of our many kinds of  S P A C E. Making spaces for us to meet and talk, like for real, and about things that matter, and in ways that connect and engage us, is the ‘why’ of making S P A C E.

WHAT YOU’LL GET. Are you a designer? Do you work with people? Are you interested in talking more with others who do both? You’ll get a chapter of Design Kompany’s collection S P A C E || Circumference, when you register for a ticket.

LIGHT PROGRAM. Perhaps you’re interested in talking shop—about international business styles and how they vary, about lessons lessons learned from growing a business that continues to evolve, about trends and chapters in the emerging fields of digital technologies, communications, and how we relate to others through visual composition, through words, through Snaps… Let’s meet and talk more. A light program will be shared with those who confirm attendance. Meet us on 2F of Java, the one by Independence Monument.

HOW TO REGISTER

Very limited seats, and advance bookings only, please. This is where to go to register for a ticket.

Get a ticket. // Photo: Phnom Penh Post