The Mirror Section B

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.

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.

S P A C E || Artist in Words

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:

Wanderlust || Cameron Highlands

THE CALL OF THE ROAD. The urge to change something. But… What? Maybe it’s not the urge to change something, but just to take action. Any action. To just… go. In this freestyle conversation salon, hosted in the zany way that belongs only to DK, you’ll be able to enjoy new people, new thinking, and new kinds of conversations that have a center, and not sides. Expect the unexpected! Seasoned travelers and new voyagers are welcome. Tell us where you’ve been, how it’s been, where you’re going. Experience 4 short activities that we will do together, activities taken from Design Kompany’s handbook, ‘SELF,’ in which you will be able to also explore the inward journey. A short, sweet and once-off salon that doubles as a workshop, ‘Wanderlust’ is perfect for the seeking, curious, introspective, and (occasionally) extroverted traveler.

‘Wanderlust’ is a guided, prompt-led conversation and workshop in which you have the rare opportunity to process the very many feelings that crop up when we go, as and how, and where, when we wander. Up in the hills. Away from everything. Let’s gather in real life. Let’s converse. Let’s play? More at the registration page. Register here.

Interstitial space

ONCE UPON A TIME, a very smart person wrote a thing about my art. I guess that was the thing that threw me off. ‘Art.’ It was weird, because I thought I was an engineer-architect-journalist-designer. But I was making things that someone with a real eye, experience, and like I said, brains, didn’t say wasn’t art. LW. (Thanks, if you see this.) What happened was this. AM suggested it. ‘There’s this person. She’s looking at people’s art. She’s gonna write it all up, a review. You should do it.’

‘Says it’s for “artists”. Or whatever.’

‘You’re an artist. How many times… Just. Go.’

Unconvinced and commitment-averse, I sat on that idea. No, it’s not for me. I’m a designer. I’m working. I’m not… Painting canvases. I’m…

But I did go.

Unannounced, with all the best ‘art,’ or whatever, that I had made, ‘best’, in my opinion, up until that point. Stuff from Kyoto, New York, Seattle. Stuff from way before. Stuff I just hit ‘print’ on. Word stuff, drawing stuff, comic stuff, sharpie stuff. A lot of stuff. I couldn’t know then which stuff to keep, and which to get rid of, because I didn’t know the ‘what this is’ thing, not clearly, not yet. Maybe she could look at it.

Blind luck: there was a cancellation. Or a no-show. What a missed opportunity for that guy. ‘Dipika… Kohli?’ ‘Hi.’ Let’s see what you got. Were we mutually asking? I think so. I still remember the moment that felt, within that scene, which was also pivotal, to be the one that switched us on to one another. A certain piece. A certain exchange of looks. A certain ‘getting’ of one another, right there. When a piece makes a person feel a thing, a thing that the person already has an inkling about in nonverbal ways somewhere within, floating around, but just hasn’t… Tuned into… Then the piece is relating to them. That relating is the art.

Oh.

But that awareness would not come until 2017. Maybe a twinge came when I met MT? A glimmer… A hint. Yes, certainly there was an echo there. I think I even said ‘interstitial space.’ I think my plastic name tag was poking at a skewed angle. Talking geometry. Talking about space. But it was well received, and added to. That was why it was so exciting.

 

!*

THAT’S KIND OF how it (it?) started. It? Everything, really. Work became project-making. Maybe it was art? I read about things that kids in art schools in foreign countries told me to google. I looked up words I didn’t know and found, through deeper and deeper investigations in that shallower and shallower place that is the Net, little gems.

But the review thing. Some people want to get their work in museums, have shows, travel and be seen. I don’t care about being seen, really. I care about about the art itself. And yeah. The relating, to me, is art. A thing doesn’t mean anything if no one is there to receive it. Et cetera. So yup. Everything from that moment changed everything I do now. It wouldn’t have even happened had it not been for curator BMC. Also important. The people who shake things up, right? You see them when you look back, on the long path. In the West it’s all about ‘me me me’ and glorification of a person and equating ‘success’ with material wealth. Not always, but often, I feel, in the East when it’s really good, that’s because it’s a collaboration, the beautiful things… There’s less of the ‘look at me! Look what I did!’ vibe. Now I have to talk about George Webber. No, no. I’ll save that for the S P A C E crowd. Anyway. Changing from West to East (2014-present, I’m Asia-based) has meant appreciating the people who helped me make the things we’ve made, since arriving in Cambodia, to reset all the buttons.

WORDS. I watched. The review. Being written. ‘Hey, that’s kinda cool.’ Next few years, I read it over and over, until the penny dropped (that’s an Irishism for ‘it sank in’). This: she had called it, like tarot cards. This thing. That I like to do. Show the process. Include new voices. Close-ups. Relationships, aesthetics… that are there when people connect, convene in new ways… She looked through my zines, papers, (I always have papers), my oversized black portfolio I got because you needed that, right? To be legit? (No. You needed a concept to be legit. That would take time. Practice. Faltering. Bracing. Returning to the next place, sticking the foot out, going again, letting go of the people who said, ‘What are you doing? Get a job!’, and trusting the process.) What design taught me was to not get too complacent with the first or 17th idea. Push to the edge. Then, go past. Out there is the interstitial. Out there is S P A C E. A very specific kind of space. (Writing about it. A checklist. Sharing in small circles.)

WORK. I think she saw me trying, in my immature-yet way, to poke a hole in that materialistic veneer that is so supersaturated… So not-critiqued, so upheld as ‘that’s just how it is’ mumbo-jumbo status-quo. I was doing things to provoke some response, maybe. Drawing kooky Sharpie comics. Blogging a lot. Too much, really. I didn’t want to stop, it was like a habit, but then the blog got deleted kind of accidentally and it’s a long story, but it was so amazing because the feeling wasn’t one of sadness or loss, but of… Relief. Now we can finally start something new. Ten years of a blog is a long time. Ten years of trying to keep saying the same stuff in interesting ways is boring. I don’t even know what we were doing there. Yup. I am saying that. I am. Saying it all. Honestly. Nope. I’m not a super-duper-well-put together kind of a person. My friend IK said, ‘Twitter is for the smart people. Instagram is for the beautiful people.’ That was… Insightful. Spot on. What if you don’t hang out in those ways? You just want to, like, chill? I learned when switching from East Coast to West Coast in those United States of (North) America, one thing: you don’t have to wear a suit. Or nice shoes. Forget New York Black and ‘a Manhattan minute.’ You can go around in a hoodie and some old jeans. You could be dressed like that, slumped in the corner of Joe Bar Cafe, and you could be a millionaire, or a scruffy writer, same thing over there. Seattle. Which is where DK started up as an official thing. That would be 2004. Does history matter? Why am I telling you this? Och. Another Irishism.

SHAPE OF SPACE. BECAUSE IF THERE IS ONE THING I learned from the last couple of years that I took away and kept in my most intimate drawers for revisiting, it’s the idea of ‘provenance.’ How have you held a thing, where has it been, who used it, where did it get shared. This is a hard thing to measure. Impossible, really. That same hoodie scenario… I still have this hoodie. I wear it all over the place because the buses are cold and the trains are colder. Oh. I’m on the road. (This is part of the reason I am blogging so many paragraphs.) There are no obligations other than to host The Mirror, certain ateliers here and there, and to dream up the next thing. Whatever it is going to be, it has to have meaning. And I find meaning in a couple of things, things that  knows, but few others, because I shared those ideas when they were just starting to become visible… A sea of abstract ideas… And then, some emergence. I’m here, though, to listen, to field queries, and to show up for whatever comes to be. I am learning how, a little bit, once more. The road teaches you things. That’s what I’ve discovered, anyway. It’s important to share, sometimes, too, the little lessons. Blogging is  kind of ambient way of sharing. I was getting bored of it because I didn’t know… How to… Share better. I guess, though, I got a lot of practice. You write, and you write, and you write some more, and you get a wireless keyboard and then you type some books into your little devices and press ‘publish, make this a PDF, go!’, and say, ‘Do you want to read this?’ And wait and see if relating happens. Sometimes, when you’re lucky, it does.

NEXT. ATELIER S P A C E || MELAKA. Zinemaking. With new and different others, in real life. It’s happening, and I’m jazzed. Popping up at the weekend. This one is gonna be low-key. By invitation-only, no buzz, no noise. Very fitting, this style, for Melaka. I’ve been here more than a week, gorgeous architecture, world heritage site. Yet I’ve just been walking around, getting my bearings, trying to connect with the place before photographing it. So I’ve only taken one picture. That’s this one. I hope you like it. —DK

The way it’s going

I JUST HAD ONE OF THOSE moments, where you go, ‘Waitaminute. This is way, way out of scope.’ It’s like the time I was in Kyoto, this would be study abroad, and I was trying to study Japanese. Made a whole two semesters of college pretty much just about looking at old architecture in Kyoto and studying the language. The characters really got me excited, back then. I didn’t know how very different (simplified) they are from Chinese characters, of course, back then it was all (to me, that’s the important bit to qualify) to me, they were teensy picture-word things, that told you a bunch more info in the same kind of space than these kinds, words in English, they take up so much room. I like how Japanese is different. There’s so much space in the not-spoken… That’s where all the real conversation happens. At least, that’s what I think I understand. No definitive statements allowed, and that’s a good thing. I’ve gotten so tired of having to defend my way of doing things: leaving tons of room, space, for uncertainty and the chance encounter. To just… Happen into this path. And see. Today, I gave something to someone that really, I honestly, about four months ago, would never have given away. She was a girl in college on a trip with her bunches and bunches of friends. (M., if you are reading, this post is for you…) She had a nice quality about her, I can’t quite name it, you know, if I was still in the non-Asia version of myself, I would start to outline this, and put bullet points together, for a Post, so that it would make a Statement, something that you would Read and Be Interested or Informed by. But that is all nonsense. We all know now that there are no such things as Truly Objective Comments. All of us have the biases, the lenses, that of our whole past upbringing (and the things we cling to as truths). Until we can let the awareness sink in that maybe, just maybe, one way isn’t the only right way, then yeah. We can start a cool other thing. One of my favorite people to read about is NEILS Bohr (autocapitalized, just now. That’s interesting. I wonder why?). Who said, ‘How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress.’ And: ‘No, no, no. You’re not thinking. You’re just being logical.’ And: ‘The opposite of a profound truth may be another profound truth.’ All of this I learned on this weird, random and improvised trip to Copenhagen in late 2015. I have no idea why I wanted so much to be far and cold, but it was autumn. They say ‘autumn’ there not ‘fall,’ like in the United States. The extra syllable made me happy, in a way. Like in the East, it was as if to tell me, ‘You don’t have to make it all sound perfect over here. Just go ahead and be. Just, yeah. Be.’ And that was it. The opening. (Of course I know that if I’d grown up in Asia or N. Europe I’d have a completely different attitude about these places, but the juxtapositions are nice.)

I’m gonna talk about ‘The Moment,’ but not out loud, not here in public. I’ll share quietly, in the behind-the-scenes conversations, where one step at a time, we’re developing. The Mirror. It’s happening. One group is all returning. One is all newcomers. I’m grateful and amazed, and humbled, and the way it’s going is pointing to a different door from the ones I’d been examining. That’s what ‘The Moment’ just showed me. I can’t tell you, not out loud, not publicly here, because… I’m writing more and more about things that count behind the scenes, with trusted circles, only.

The Mirror

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 next online workshop 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.

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…

  • 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. Selected applicants will be invited to register.

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 >

Atelier S P A C E || Cameron Highlands

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

Apply through this form:

 

Letter from the Editor

WELCOME. S P A C E is where you are.

S P A C E is an eZine, a print zine, and a series of real life ateliers.

It looks like this. We are making these ateliers.

WHY MAKE SPACE. We are doing this because we love new people, new places, and sharing from our 20 years of experience in calling out some of the best of conversation through carefully designed and well-facilitated space for real dialogue.

VALUES. Authenticity and sincerity over coolness and broadcasting, for us. No posers. No fakes. No phonies. (And no phones, please. When you join one of our ateliers, we will ask you to put yours in a box, stow it away, and attend to it when we are finished).

Who’s interested? It’s not for everyone, real life. But it’s where we like hanging out it.

S P A C E is invisible. But S P A C E connects us all.

Subscribe here | View upcoming ateliers

 

S P A C E: The Art of Not Knowing

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:

S P A C E || Games afternoon

JOIN THIS FREE games afternoon, hosted by DK’s in-house chess enthusiast. Discover new people and the games at Narrow Marrow, in Penang, on Carnavon Street. We’ll be there from 2:30PM to 5PM, no need to register. Free.

Scouting venues and making friends

PART OF THE PROJECT OF ATELIER S P A C E is, when I forget to be concerned about Programme design and making sure all the pieces are in the right order is letting things just happen.

It has been not quite two weeks since DK shifted from Singapore to scope the scene here in Penang. But already I feel like it’s been, in many ways, like meeting someone you’ve always known in a way but haven’t fully seen.

Like a pen pal. Or a distant cousin.

There are overlays that you can’t deny, a cultural identity that’s shared in a very tangential way, for me, here by the side streets of a warm and seaside town. I love this village feeling, it reminds me of Skibbereen, and very shortly I think I will feel ready to start sharing out loud and not just blogging into the obscure about Atelier S P A C E || Penang. That’s here.

Meantime it is just now posted, details and tickets and everything, to Eventbrite.

S P A C E || Games & Coffee

LET’S CONNECT. In real life. Meet Design Kompany for games over coffee.

Bring your favorite game.

Free with RSVP*. (*Exclusive of food and drinks).

To RSVP, send us an email through this form, and we’ll confirm your registration. If at least 4 say ‘yes’, we’ll make it *happen*:

 

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.