Design for connection

Click to see where ‘N’ has been so far >

TOMORROW IS ‘N’.

‘N’ Hanoi: NARRATIVE. What are the stories we tell to the world? Which ones do we tell ourselves? Framing the space.

But… really?

Tomorrow?

Tomorrow.

Yes.

Hm.

Let me let that sit for a moment.

It took one year to invite 16 people, people who committed with a ‘ticket-yes’,  for ‘N’ London: NOTEWORTHINESS last fall. A year.

This time, I just showed up in Hanoi and started walking around looking for people. That was different. Harder, too. Internet is easy, sometimes. Hiding behind a secret identity, and stuff. Who does that, anyway?

An update on where things are, later on sometime today.

 

#whynot #sayyes


Save the date, almost

SOME OF THE PEOPLE reading this page today will recognize what this means. The poll. Where the people who say ‘yes’ to an ‘N’ event work together to mutually agree on a date.

At the time of this writing, we have 6 people ‘in’ for the same date for ‘N’ Hanoi.

WHICH SIX, and which date, however, are yet TBD. But I am working to confirm things, to gather the ‘yes I’ll really be there’ assurances that will let me know which date, and which people, and how many invitations are left to make, and how much more walking about Hanoi I will calculate is needed such that we can arrive at the magic number of 16. Has to be 16. I am sort of obsessed about this number, if only because i like small groups, four groups of four, for one of the things we do at each ‘N’. Meantime, I’m optimistic that the right gathering will come into shape organically, intuitively, without being… forced. We are starting to converge on some things, some options, some details. It’s going to be very clear, very soon, who is coming, for real, and we will share the location details with only those who register. That’s how it works. That’s how we play 16N. To the journeys! To the new, the near, the now and the next. ‘Don’t push the river,’ a friend, CH, says on the bottom of her emails, ‘it flows by itself.’

ARE YOU CURIOUS? And in Hanoi? Request an invite >

The narrative of ‘N’ Hanoi, Part 4

At the time of this writing, we have 4 people ‘in’ for ‘N’ Hanoi.

IN THE MIDDLE, that’s where we’ll begin.

At the time of this writing, we have 4 people ‘in’ for ‘N’ Hanoi.

  • __, from the bus.
  • __, from the… um. The internet.
  • __, from a public event.
  • __, from upstairs. Who was first to join ‘N’ Hanoi. A spot that I am always eternally grateful to someone for saying ‘yes’ to. More on the ‘why’ of this, below.

SOMETIME IN THE COMING DAYS I will circle back to Parts I-III. About how it has been going all this time, since I first started to share out in the open about the journey of ‘N’ Hanoi.

From the time we started with having discovered the venue, to when the decision came in a sort of weird inward insight to commit to the doing, to starting the ‘N’ journey in this blog for the first time really talking about all the uncertainty as it’s going on, et cetera. And how I think I found 2 or 3 of us (but, in the end, was wrong about. Hm. Happens.)

Ups. Downs. Movements in between. Still at it, though. Still working towards gathering 16 total strangers for a conversation installation in Hanoi in June on the theme, NARRATIVE. ‘What are the stories we tell the world? What are the ones we tell our selves?’ A low-key conversation, in which no prior experience or expertise is necessary. It’s about the who, more than the where or when, so I am starting with invitations to people I don’t know. Asking them to add their preferred dates to a secret poll online. Asking us to confirm whether we can do this, whether 16 of us can ‘say yes’ and ‘show up.’ The two most important things you need to have happen before the magic moment of ‘N’ can even begin to come within gravitational reach. More about ‘N’ is at the ’16N’ link, in our menu bar at the top of this page. Check it out.

Those things happened, and between then and now Parts I-III of the narrative of ‘N’ Hanoi did, too, and I shared a little with the S P A C E community, which is what? Which is something you can find out about when you click the box here, and so on. There’s so many layers to this, isn’t there?

After the first ticket moved in Bangkok, I got this coffee.

 

***

 

When someone joins ‘N’ for the first spot, I know that the ball is in motion. The onus is now on me to gather the rest of us, somehow. It feels hard, sometimes, like trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat. But other times it’s very natural, very casual, very normal. Like today, when I met ___. I hope you will read this, __, I hope you will discover that this is part of an interactive story, not just me writing and blogging and ‘documenting.’ I used to have comments open on everything here, but they are always taken over by people in car sales or something like that, and it gets ugly going through all  the spam, so I don’t do that now. But my comment box is always open here, in case you are reading, or someone else whom I shared about ‘N’ with today (or in recent weeks). I guess I only just started talking about it out loud because I got the feeling, after the first ‘yes’, that there was scope for this, here. Hanoi is on for ‘N’, I think. People are game, I think. People say yes and people sometimes even show up, and once in a while people co-host things with me, too. That is beautiful, when it happens. That is conversation at its upper limit best. Co-creation. Conversation. Making things up, together, as we go.

How I start an ‘N’

16N‘ if you are hearing about this for the first time, is a conversation salon. A very specific kind, in which 16 people whose paths have never crossed will connect once, but briefly. In a city that has an ‘N’ in it. To discover together more in hosted conversation space about a topic that starts with an ‘N’.

Now, if that is weird, then that’s fine.

Because we are not trying to be conventional here. None of our events are about the usual things. We are not creating networking opportunities for you to bring your business cards to. Nor is this about meeting someone with a hope that you might develop some kind of romantic interest, because these kinds of things are, as far as we are concerned, ‘regular.’ Regular kinds of events, quite honestly, are becoming enormously dull to me. I’m not looking for work or a relationships, so that makes most regular events hard to go to. For a long while, I simply stopped socializing. I just stayed home. As a general rule, I avoid going out anywhere after 5PM on a Friday or Saturday. Those are the days when I write, here in my little abode, wherever I happen to be in some part of Asia at the time. Not that I travel that much. (When I do travel, it’s for ‘N’.)

THERE ARE THREE CITIES in which ‘N’ has been completed. These are: Phnom Penh, Bangkok, and London. Currently I am in Hanoi. I am, really. I didn’t think I would be. I had given up hope that in the next four weeks I could find and gather 16 total strangers in an ‘N’ moment. I am going to blog about this journey, this time, because for the last few I have been a little… Um. Opaque? Yeah. I didn’t share about the feelings as they were being felt, about the trepidation that comes with ‘showing up!’, when in fact you have no idea if anyone else will. This is a clear, honest and wide-open fact.

At the time of this writing, there are 0 tickets moved for ‘N’ Hanoi.

But that’s probably because I haven’t shared the registration page with anyone, yet. I have been, to be really honest, sort of… Worried. After a couple of small events here around town in recent weeks, I kind of felt like maybe this wasn’t the city for ‘N’, after all. Like, people say they’re interested but they don’t really show up. Then again, that’s true anywhere. ANYWHERE. And I don’t think, correct me if I’m wrong?, in 2017, it simply is not… Normal to actually go to a thing just because you said you would. For a while, I was adamant that ‘N’ ought to be about ‘pushing back on the Culture of Maybe.’ Now I know ‘N’ is something else. It’s own thing. Designed on the spot, like an improvised theater piece… As much as I like to talk about the theory of it, each ‘N’ is its own kind of jam. (Maybe that’s what it’s like to have several children? Each one is so different, but you give them equal love.)

Lately in this world of many things happening and options galore, I noticed in order to really go to something special like ‘N’ or something, you have to commit with something more than your word, now. A ticket. An obligation. A something else. I am going with tickets, for ‘N.’ What I did was this. I just extended my visa, so that buys me 4 weeks.

FOUR WEEKS.

Will I find 16N in that time?

Let us see.

Let me just blog it as I go, shall I?

That way you will see the nervous fray that sometimes happens, here. I am terribly excited to be back in Hanoi after 4 years. It’s a good city. A great city, really. Exquisite details, so much to note. Our theme for this one is NARRATIVE. I find, on a personal note, that I’m much different, too, having come to this side of the world as a very different person compared to who I have become, today. Asia. Living here. Getting to know the methods, how to read the air, between the lines, how you kind of understand another language without knowing the words, after practicing that, too, in Phnom Penh. I had imagined that I had to live in a  city where English was the first language, because, here I am, writing in native language English and isn’t that what matters for communication? Answer: NO. What matters is the ‘getting.’ Of being ‘gotten.’ I see you, I hear you. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, as long as this connection is genuine.

Of being there. And showing up. SHOWING UP, so important to me.

NOW, IF YOU ARE just discovering this ‘N’ thing and you are in Hanoi, I would like to make your acquaintance. Do connect. Here is the page with a form, [updated, now it’s working!]… just fill it out… to let me know you’re curious about ‘N’ Hanoi: NARRATIVE. Happening… Sometime in the next… Four weeks. I think. More to follow. On this, and other things. Designing as we go. Making it up as we go. Improvising, looking, listening, sharing this time. WILL IT HAPPEN? As with each ‘N’ preceding Hanoi, the answer is the same: We shall see. –AS

 

Origin Ho Chi Minh City

Description

ORIGIN: ‘What is fromness?’ is inspired by ‘Ask me where I’m local’ by Taiye Selasi: ‘When someone asks you where you’re from … do you sometimes not know how to answer?’ (Watch the talk here.) Selasi speaks for “multi-local” people. In other words, people who feel at home in the town where they grew up, the city they live now and maybe another place or two. How can I come from a country?, she asks. How can a human being come from a concept?’

Origin: What is ‘fromness?’

Join Design Kompany in an informal setting for a conversation salon, ‘Origin.’ We’ll be talking about questions that help us all reflect on self-identity, whereness, and the notion of ‘where I am from.’ Come to meet people from a wide mix of backgrounds. People whose paths you might not have crossed. Who are interested in taking a good, honest look at questions like: Who am I? Where am I ‘from?’ Who is my family? Where is my home? Questions that, we learned in 2014, truly open the heart. And help us learn more about one another, as well as ourselves.

  • ‘I never imagined I’d meet so many different people.’
  • ‘I wish we’d had more time! Thank you.’
  • ‘Weird and interesting!’
  • ‘Refreshingly honest.’

Maximum 6. Advance bookings only. Ticket sales end on June 4.

Order tickets here >

A story in Ha Noi begins: ’16N’

IT IS TIME to go to Viet Nam again.

A lot of conversations in virtual space, lately.

About Ha Noi, and ‘N’, and what that is. And why we’re doing it.

‘You know, if you want people to be interested in what you’re doing, you should show that you are doing it because you get something out of it. That was the number one question I’d gotten, from N in Phnom Penh and Bangkok and in person when I was in London and Copenhagen, too. I wanted to get sixteen people together for a conversation salon, about a topic that would start with an N, and in cities that have N’s in them. That was the criteria. I thought it was a fun game. But you know what people wanted to know?’

‘What?’

‘What’s in it for you, DK?’

‘…’

‘What the heck is the point of it all? Some were more vocal and opinionated than otehrs. But I think the point of it all is very obvious, to me, anyway. And then I find little bits and pieces that other, smarter people have written and posted about how as human beings what we really do well is connect in person, eye-to-eye, and when that happens we can normalize our own ideas about things and we can feel more lively, alive, you know?’

‘…’

‘So I know to some it seemed like a social experiment. I got some really strong hate mail from the Phnom Penh person who professed to be a creative person but was totally irritated with me for trying to ask him to come to something and pay a whopping sixteen bucks… that was the first one, and you know, how in Phnom Penh everyone’s so ketchi, yeah?, Yeah. At first these notes used to make me really cringe inside, like I was doing it wrong. But then… then I found out from the OTHER people, the ‘whynotsayyes’ types, that it was a GOOD thing to be of an opinion. That it MATTERED to take a stand, take a side, and ‘push back on the culture of maybe.’ Oh, I want so much to go into the details here… how it got planned, designed, why I am going to be doing it in Ha Noi, and then back to Europe… Bologna…’

‘But what’s in it for you, DK?’

‘Yeah! I know, right? This is the stuff of living, if you ask me. Being around other people who are interested in big questions, but aren’t getting space to ask them because it’s uncool to talk about metaphysics and cool to talk about [DELETED], which has NO bearing on the quality of my life and has no way of adding to it in any way but seems to be the topic of interest not because it’s interesting but because it’s socially acceptable! MORES, and what’s ‘socially acceptable’ IS NOT WHAT IS GOOD FOR US, most of the time, because what’s SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE is drudgery and ennui and living in a box of computing and digital messes and head games and disintegration of integrity and flakiness and banality and the Society of the Spectacle and media outlets that are buying up all the spaces so that the good stuff is getting drowned in the sea of irrelevance that Huxley talked about but OH, I can’t get all… I can’t do that… I can’t get all ENNUI and WOE IS US about HUMANITY, did you konw HUMANITY is ending? This month? That next month the theme for S. P. A. C. E. is swithing to KAIROS? It’ll be good for me to get out of this doomy gloomy spot where I think a lot of artists, writers, and scientists were back when they came up with the A-bomb, back when there was all that sadness around the fact that humanity had this thing to it, this streak, the sorrow… Krishnamurti’s eloquent take on it… the sorrow within us, and then that Dao stuff… I did a lot of research for this sequnce, you konw. I might need to put a little paper together summing it up, a PDF. I’ll do that. I’ll make it available to people who join me at N for Ha Noi, how about that. And maybe for the new subscribers to S. P. A. C. E., too. There is good stouff on the tables, for it… I’m looking forward to it… wow. I’m looking forward to the KAIROS. And N! N is about MAKING IT HAPPEN. Kairos. Framing the moment, designing rooms for great dialogue and connection. Celebrating the urgency of NOW.’

‘Dude. That sounds really esoteric and inaccessible.’

‘Well. That’s who I am. And this is the kind of stuff I make. And I am looking for 16 people who want to talk about a topic starting with N in Ha Noi when I get there. We’ll make it up, together. We’ll do this one differently from the other topic-setting ones. I will ask the people who are asking me, WTF is N, DK?’ And we will design it, together.

ARE YOU IN HA NOI? Want to be part of it?

Get ‘N’…


Get N