BEHIND THE SCENES. This (pictured behind the title of this post, above) is the conversation I am having simultaneously with people whom I have already invited to ‘N’ on a poll that lets us all mutually agree on a date. Maybe you can read this post, ‘Save the date, almost’, from yesterday, where I talked about the conferring taking place online that shows which date(s) are most popular. There are a few things that a poll like this takes into account and there are many more things that it doesn’t. For example, it’s very democratic, in a way. But there are some of us who are talking who are more interested in this than other people.
Now what do I do? That is the thing that I have to share about, next.
But in the private space, for just those who are going to be invited, very soon, to register. After I send the ‘save the date’ official note. Registration. That’s when ‘yes’ becomes ‘ticket-yes,’ and this becomes more and more real. Towards the day itself, when we converge from our vectors, our uncrossed ones, to focus on a point in time and space in which there occurs an ‘N’. Designing it so that 16 people who might not have met in that kind of way, in that kind of place, in that kind of moment, are engaged and discovering one another, in a salon thing called ‘N’: NARRATIVE. What are the stories we tell to the world?, asks this ‘N.’ Which ones do we tell ourselves?
(I’m going to keep posting here, a little more in public space, but more about the process of designing and hosting this and less about the people because that is by design a mystery. It’s a 16-way blind date, in a way, but not in that kind of way that you would think. This kind of blind date is more about conversation conversation conversation, in the shape of space that is by design meant to be safe, comfrotable, inviting, welcoming, all of the things that I think… I think if you know me personally, you know I most enjoy. Not too pretentious, a little bit scruffy, the perfect kind of venue that matches this, and more. I am writing and I am also listening to Boss tell me that there is another magazine called S P A C E and that I should be worried about that, but I’m not.
There is only one particular S P A C E I am interested in, and it is the quality, (where is Quality, asks ‘N’?) invite-only, sustaining space for great conversation, the kind that moves, progresses, goes into… the big, and open-ended, and connects us in ways that might surprise us, if we let ourselves go there… SO much to say here.
OPEN & CLOSED CIRCLES. More of this kind of talk will be shared in the closed circles. Because this is a very special kind of a conversation, and I am designing ‘N’ to be a specific kind of space, and this kind of space involves, necessarily, some exclusivity, so that we can have the right kind of stage set for the day.) For ‘N’. Otherwise, well. Otherwise it’s just like any other ol’ event, isn’t it? Bo-ring. And ‘N’ designs out the boring, the mundane, the ‘regular,’ the he-said-she-said ho-hum yes, yes, yes, we all know what that is like. And so, here I go, writing and emailing and conferring and circling back and following up, asking for registrations, reconfirmations, and finally, sending the agenda, meetpoint, and programme to 16 people. Sixteen ‘N’.
Will it? Can it?
Meantime, I wanted to share, I know it’s just a screenshot of some email, but that’s my main view, from here. Today.
VERY FUN, very nice, very relaxing to talk quite openly and frankly for some giant length of time (two hours? Five?) about… nothing and everything. With JO. (Thank you!)
I like it when people say ‘yes’ to my impromptu invitations. As did our walk in the slight rain just south of the Old Quarter of Ha Noi, our conversation wandered. Which is exactly right, and it felt like S P A C E was getting made.
NOT designed. See, I always write about designing the bounded box. But this was… improvised. And not my initiative, fully. So that was cool, and fun, and really neat. Much like when I met SY, also in recent days in Hanoi.
Not because of anything that came beforehand, just… spontaneously. This was new. This was different. You can design for S P A C E that’s quality, or you can just let yourself be part of it when you see it’s emerging. See? That’s kind of fun, isn’t it? And when we used to let ourselves be spontaneous, such great things fell forth, didn’t they?
A new melody plays. A new love forms. A new shift, in the shape of space.
Is there a need for philosophy? Is there a place for salons? Is it important to connect with (and then, by design, interconnect) new and different others? For real life learning, together? I think so. I think we are losing our grip, ‘we’ as in the Western malaise and ennui drifting crowds. It’s not better in Asia. I mean, people have problems everywhere. Obviously. I’m not a sociologist, a psychologist, a commentator on Society, or anything. I am a connector. I always was. I will continue to be. And when this used to involve clients and meetings, I would bring in interns and photographers and illustrators—always invite the new and different others (and ‘others’ is an important part, for the sake of inclusion) into the circle to create and co-create. This wasn’t working well in Seattle, or Durham NC. So I left those places. I am now in Asia. Wandering about, looking for the resonance. Looking to make (or become part of, that’s the new learning from yesterday) the kind of space that feels good, feels like it’s right…
Where you can be who you are…
Where you can let your guard down…
Where you don’t have to fear being judged…
Where you can just… be.
That. That, to me, is high-quality space.
S P A C E.
Ask me anything. Connect at ‘A little S P A C E.’ Through the link under our ‘contact’ page. See it there, at the top. That’s where to go.
THIS WEEK IN S P A C E, some sharing.
Of how we got to ‘N’…
- 1997. ‘Let’s start a design studio. I’ll set up a hotmail.’
- 1999. ‘You what? You want to hire us? Oh… Sure, yeah. I’ll do that. I have Freehand.’
- 2000. ‘Let’s move. You can work at __.’
- 2004. ‘Let’s move. I’ll work at __.’
- 2006. ‘Let’s do that design studio thing we talked about. Should we get an office? Official! Shall we get an $800 color laser printer? Yes!’
- 2007. ‘What the? People think design is Photoshop. Like, it’s the tools that matter, or something. Why? It’s not! Design isn’t about the pixels. It’s about the conversation. How good the conversation is will be a direct influencer in how strong the concept will be. Because it has to come from the person who wants to… It’s about… getting there… together, learning about the story of them, and listening… Isn’t that… obvious? No? Well, hm.’
- 2008. ‘Let’s host some conversation parties.’
- 2009. ‘This is. Interesting. But why is it so intense? Why is real life conversation so hard? Should we do this more? Should we make them into workshoppy things?’
- 2013. ‘Argh. I prefer just mini-conversations to workshoppy things. People have too many… expectations. Half the fun is exploring! Let’s forget workshops. Let’s forget design in general. Let’s focus on conversations. Of quality. Yes! Conversations of quality are getting really tough to make happen. Outside of my couple of standing dates with __ and __, I just don’t feel like things are progressing. So, hm. What should we do? Maybe go on the road. That’ll shake things up.’
- 2014. ‘I like this place. Phnom Penh. Can we stop here for a bit? I love this architecture.’
- 2015. ‘This is fun. I’m going to do this thing. ’16N’. On NORMALITY. You know, I think I’ll give it a whirl…’
- 2016. ‘Wow. That was fun. How about taking it on the road?’
- 2017. ‘How about making ‘N’ in Hanoi?…’
HELLO, there, Hanoi…
Shall we play 16N?