Experiments in Expression · Miscellany · Relational Aesthetics

New Cuizines

Check out ‘Zines & Cuisines’ at this link.

There are 40 views already on this page about our next project, Zines & Cuisines.

Van Tran cooked this food. And also, made these A6 one-of-a-kind notebooks, these are the last two in the limited edition of four. ‘‘Food tastes better when you make it from your heart,’ he says. ‘When we eat, we feel love.’ Book for Zines & Cuisines to try his cooking. Details at this link.

Make that 41. I just checked it again.

Forty-one is more views on that page than for any other portfolio page I’ve ever posted on that platform. And I mean I’ve been kind of ambiently on there since 2017, not really seriously, though, not like now. I guess I just want to show people the context of S P A C E instead of just pointing them to my store. Ha, oh, I just pointed you to my store. Well, it’s a nice little collection, I feel:)…

But back to our story. About connexion, conversation, spacemaking, and now, food.

It’s exciting to me that it’s kind of interactive, too. It’s not just a ‘look at what I did’ thing but a co-created, on the spot, in real time, synched conversation space, too. With those who browse and read all the way through to the ends of paragraphs with links, then click the links, something happens. A conversation. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the entire raison d’être of S P A C E. To connect. To converse. To make that exchange… It’s starting to happen more and more, digitally, now, because… well, you know why. But yeah. Let me reflect now for a moment. On perhaps why the other projects for Atelier S P A C E were less interesting to view.

Maybe the earlier stuff I had posted, for example, stuff like this..

Browse all our seasonal collections from Sept.2020-June 2021 at our real life ‘Zines & Cuisines’ event.

… was too…. er. Abstract? Hm.

[moment of insight slooowwwwlly dawns on DK, as the penny drops]

Wow. Quite possibly, eh.

I can see it now.

I guess I was caught up in the thing itself and forgetting to communicate about it, clearly, but that is natural when a thing is starting and it doesn’t know what it is yet. It rolls along and gathers momentum, rounds up, becomes more wheel-y and not as clunky as a square wheel. Ooh. More abstractness. Sorry, lads.

Let me try to articulate it simply. I guess, I just wanted to do it. Atelier S P A C E popups around the world, to co-create. I did this for a few years. You know, I really did. For 2017-2020 I was very interested in gathering people in remarkable moments for connexion. But I don’t think I knew exactly how to communicate what that looked like, in actual fact. Somehow people meeting and talking together over a meal is easier to digest. Haha, see what I did there, digest.

So let me change gears.

Instead of zines. Something else. Something new.

New cuizines..


‘Và có lẽ ta nên dành ít thời giờ ở trường đại học làm đầy đầu óc của học sinh với các nội dung qua các bài giảng, và nhiều thời gian hơn thắp lên sự sáng tạo của họ, sư tưởng tượng và khả năng giải quyết vấn đề của họ bằng cách thật sự nói chuyện với họ.’


‘And maybe we should spend less time at universities filling our students’ minds with content by lecturing at them, and more time igniting their creativity, their imagination and their problem-solving skills by actually talking with them.’

Let’s make S P A C E for just such conversations. Check out ‘Zines & Cuisines,’ a project of Atelier S P A C E, in Vietnam. Here’s a link. https://www.behance.net/gallery/120909493/Zines-Cuisines.

Classroom · Stories

A paradigm shift?

Of revolutions

A book that popped to mind while I was perusing uncanny numbers of news sites, from January through May 2021, was Thomas Kunh‘s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,  How do we know we’re on the brink of something major shifting? Maybe you remember; maybe it impacted you, too, quite heavily… 2008… I and others of my cohort saw that year’s financial crises and [some of us] thought maybe capitalism was gonna get gone. [deleted]. Then, no.

Bailouts came, some of us left the United States, and I don’t know what happened next. Who really knows. Well. I guess not knowing is part of it. The whole thing about the book that I wanted to tell you about. I’ll put some of that here now, in a second. But yeah. This pandemic is showing us more, though, about [deleted]. It’s pretty basic. It’s about… Fairness. Or? Tell me what I don’t know and I’ll read more about it and teach myself things. What now? I’m curious.

On ‘progress’

From Wikipedia: ‘The first edition of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions ended with a chapter titled “Progress through Revolutions”, in which Kuhn spelled out his views on the nature of scientific progress.

‘Since [Kuhn] considered problem solving to be a central element of science, Kuhn saw that a new candidate paradigm “must seem to resolve some outstanding and generally recognized problem that can be met in no other way.

There’s more. ‘Second, the new paradigm must promise to preserve a relatively large part of the concrete problem solving ability that has accrued to science through its predecessors.[27] While the new paradigm is rarely as expansive as the old paradigm in its initial stages, it must nevertheless have significant promise for future problem-solving. As a result, though new paradigms seldom or never possess all the capabilities of their predecessors, they usually preserve a great deal of the most concrete parts of past achievement and they always permit additional concrete problem-solutions besides.[28]

In other words, you don’t know all the ways of fixing it. You probably don’t even know the ‘it’ center of ‘it.’  [deleted] … and that I sound like a Stoic. [deleted]. That’s why I do it. Make S P A C E.)

The way we work isn’t working, so let’s try something new

According to WHO, this group of people will look at how human activity affects the environment and wildlife habitats. For example, how is food going to be produced and distributed? What about urbanization, and infrastructure?International travel and trade, too. All of these are activities that lead to biodiversity loss and climate change, plus putting more pressure on the natural resource base. Guess what this does? Sets the table for the emergence of zoonotic diseases. And who the hell knows whatever else. [Update: A lab in Wuhan was making covid and it leaked? [deleted] and we don’t know anymore what to believe. HT MT, good conversation the other day, re epistemology et al.] Well, I’m sure someone knows. Someone who studies this stuff.

[Aside: Here is where I normally would go and reach out to one such person. But I think they might be kinda busy right now, and this is more or less a vanity blog, and no one is asking me to do anything like find out, so. I just. Won’t. Instead I’ll put another pretty picture here…]

“Human health does not exist in a vacuum,” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said. “Nor can our efforts to protect and promote it. The close links between human, animal and environmental health demand close collaboration, communication and coordination between the relevant sectors.’ [Emphasis mine]


Continue reading “A paradigm shift?”

'S' is for Sincerity

‘Be flexible receptors of what comes to us..’

Two years ago in an email that was the precursor to the e-mag, S P A C E, I had shared this by H. Murakami.

‘Today, when the world is growing ever smaller through the spectacular development of the Internet and the increasingly rapid flow of economic interchange, we find ourselves in a pressing situation whereby, like it or not, our very survival depends on our ability to exchange cultural methodologies on an equivalent basis.

‘To turn toward a stance of national exclusivity, regionalism, or fundamentalism, in which nations become isolated politically, economically, culturally, or religiously could bring about unimaginable dangers on a worldwide scale.

‘If only in that sense, we novelists and other creative individuals must simultaneously broadcast our cultural messages outward and be flexible receptors of what comes to us from abroad. Even as we unwaveringly preserve our own identity, we must exchange that which can be exchanged and understand that which can be mutually understood. Our role is perfectly clear.’ —Haruki Murakami, 2006, in an introduction to the collected stories Rashomon and others, by Ryunosuke Akutagawa

After that I had posted an invitation to co-create with me in the Cojournal Project, which led to things, that led to other things, and now, here we are. S P A C E is changing. That’s its nature. But the next things are next, and they involve… food. See Zines & Cuisines? The gallery is at this link: https://www.behance.net/gallery/120909493/Zines-Cuisines

'S' is for Sincerity · 100 Conversations · Interviews · Stories

The Type with Pizazz

Here is an excerpt from a 2020 issue of S P A C E, in which Jas Plac interviews typography designer Pilar Cano, whose beautiful work on Thai typefaces caught our eye. 

Pilar Cano: Mastery of type design ‘is a really long process, months and years… you really need to like it. You look at cognitive processes…  how we read, how our brain processes, and the eyes, how you… want the eyes to see things. There are so many layers, and you learn many things.’ 

Detail from the zine, S P A C E | Bangkok, ‘The Type with Pizazz.’

JP: A lot of people I know would love to be a type designer. But lack discipline. How did you make it?

PC: Well, for me to make it as type designer meant being able to make a living from designing typefaces only. Now there are more foundries, but [when I started] there were just a few places that hired type designers: a few big companies and a couple of small ones, so I tried to take my freelance career in that direction, but that wasn’t possible. Then I saw an ad from Dalton Maag in London, which back then was much smaller than today, and applied, and got hired.

JP: Can you talk about the Thai and Khmer typeface design experience? Continue reading “The Type with Pizazz”

Found in the Field · Relational Aesthetics


Mono no aware (物の哀れ, もののあはれ[1]), literally “the pathos of things”, and also translated as “an empathy toward things”, or “a sensitivity to ephemera“, is a Japanese term for the awareness of impermanence (無常, mujō), or transience of things, and both a transient gentle sadness (or wistfulness) at their passing as well as a longer, deeper gentle sadness about this state being the reality of life.[2] [wikipedia]

Been talking. Been quieting. Been sharing, but only very selectively. Rekindling with a handful, and learning that sometimes the best thing to do is… start again.

Ergo, I’ve been mulling.

The next things are next.

Above is a piece of work by Matt Shlian. I found ‘Swire’ while perusing this article. In which Shlian shares personal thoughts about what makes a piece of art great: ‘A piece of art needs to connect. It needs to have some element of truth to it that resonates with the viewer and leaves them something after they’ve left the piece.

‘A good piece asks questions,’ he says, ‘and teaches you something you didn’t know or shows you something you didn’t know you knew. It articulates something we’ve felt, and we connect to that thing in a way where words aren’t necessary. It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe but makes us feel less alone in a way—that someone else understands us and gives a voice to this thing inside us. ‘A piece of art extends beyond its frame and becomes part of us…’

Source: https://mymodernmet.com/what-is-great-art/

And you? What are you making lately? What about just-for-today?


Discover and connect with us, if you’re curious about how it all works, to get conversations going in a way that illuminates… us… to each other, and ourselves. Our reflection-oriented conversions happen through Kismuth, with the 2014-2020 program called The Cojournal Project, and more design- and philosophy and other thinky thinky goes on while we co-create in S P A C E. Together.


100 Conversations

Another kind of conversation

After 15 months in Vietnam, DK’s Dipika Kohli is making a small circle for English Conversation (yes, finally).

DK’s expertise is in communication: design, visual communication, journalism, and storytelling. Helping people better isolate, refine, and articulate genuine and true stories of ‘who I am’ and ‘what I do’ is our special gift. And doing it is what we love, most. But right now… we’re in a different place, and time. And people who want to communicate–deeply, not superficially–need something besides that heavy-hitting toolkit, just now. They need space. To practice. Informally. Speaking. English… with a native English speaker. (Not an English as a Second Language teacher at some overpriced, stuffy language center. Not that.) Let me try to design something, then. For those people who truly are interested in communicating, not just getting ‘certified.’ (For what? Who cares.)

Here’s what’s up.

On 14 June, DK hosts [virtually] a small English Conversation class for Business Owners. It’s not for everyone: it’s for Business Owners. I don’t have time to correct the pronunciation of children, and I don’t want to spend time with adults who are too distracted in a giant classroom. I don’t like those kinds of environments for learning. I like… small, intimate conversation circles. So. let’s try it. Let’s make a space for those who want to to get to do it. To practice English Conversation skills. That alone can build confidence. And that can do a lot for improving communication.

Simply just talking.


14 June | ‘English Conversation for Business Owners’ [Virtual]

Improve the way you communicate.

“I don’t understand what you are saying…”

Do you hear this from time to time ?

Is it because of English ?

Want to do something about how others respond to you when you try to speak informally in casual conversations in English?

This is for business owners who are interested in getting practice talking to native speakers of English. In this class, you can practice informal communcation with English native speakers and learn how to answer everyday questions like:’

  • ‘How are you doing?’
  • ‘What did you do last weekend?’
  • ‘How is your family?’
  • ‘Talk about your company a little.’

Design Kompany’s area of expertise is communication. Design Kompany is currently based in Saigon and Phnom Penh.

Registration required.

Here’s a link.



Photo: Michael Dziedzic



DK is always going to be the DK that started in the 1990s, and that means, Tokyo. And that means, karaoke. And that means, nostalgia right now. I’m digging through the Soundcloud covers of stuff I remember; and new things that are popping into the frame. That’s how we roll, here, in S P A C E. Mixing it up as we go, holding on to some things, falling into the wild and dreamy new spaces of new and still yet curious others. It’s a trip, for sure. Nostalgia.



A Philosophy of the Moment · Classroom

Jigsaw Spaces

“The jigsaw classroom was first used in 1971 in Austin, Texas,” says psychologist and University of California in Santa Cruz Professor Elliot Aronson. He is the author of Nobody Left to Hate: Teaching Compassion After Columbine.

Here’s why DK got curious about him, and the jigsaw method. As Jiddu Krishnamurthi said, insight comes from seeing without prejudice. Freedom is seeing this kind of insight. And this method is a way to get there. He also said not to quote him, so I’m using indirect quotes, hey. Cool.

Aronson“My graduate students and I had invented the jigsaw strategy that year [1971], as a matter of absolute necessity to help defuse an explosive situation.” Why should we pay attention to his research and ideas?

Two reasons.

First, I personally experienced the jigsaw method of learning when I was 10. Thank you Mrs. C. And my teammates, whom I wrote letters to after moving from the north to the south of those United States. We had really bonded, after all. Kids. Kids who work together. In nurturing spaces. It was the best part of my education, up until I got to calculus class and the stars fell out of the sky. Okay. I love math. More about that in a bit


I loved the jigsaw method (which I didn’t even know that’s what we were doing) so much it is half of the base for everything I make with my group projects, salons and workshops. The other half are ideas that I learned from Bar Camp in Seattle about letting people choose to go where they are interested; an idea that was outlined in a textbook MC had left at Kinyei, in Battambang, and I happened to go there, and happened to find it. What are the rules of Open Space? The people who come are the right people, the things that happen are the only things that could’ve, it starts when it starts, it’s over when it’s over and you can leave anytime if you aren’t learning anything. Now you know why I left the US in 2013.

But yeah.

This style of self-directed learning (Open Space) as well as collaborative learning (jigsaw) together form the structure of the stages I make in S P A C E’s ateliers, that is, Atelier S P A C E. Here’s what it looks like. A quick collection of five randomly selected images from my archives (I searched “workshop”, “jazz” and “16N“).

But let’s get back to our psychologist’s story, shall we?

Now, then.

Let me share what the method’s aim is.

The Jigsaw Classroom — a cooperative learning technique — is an efficient way to teach material that also encourages “listening, engagement, and empathy by giving each member of the group an essential part to play in the academic activity.”

At this website which is all about the Jigsaw Method and how it works, Aronson says:

“The city’s schools had recently been desegregated, and because Austin had always been racially segregated, white youngsters, African-American youngsters, and Hispanic youngsters found themselves in the same classrooms for the first time. Within a few weeks, long-standing suspicion, fear, and distrust between groups produced an atmosphere of turmoil and hostility. Fist-fights erupted in corridors and schoolyards across the city. The school superintendent called me in to see if we could do anything to help students get along with one another. After observing what was going on in classrooms for a few days, my students and I concluded that inter-group hostility was being fueled by the competitive environment of the classroom.”

What do we need to do to better connect, better engage, and better collaborate?

An architecture of social engagements that happen at work as well as independent of work, outside of focus group, as well as within them. Design. Let me get back to actually engineering things.

Engineering, is what it takes.

Engineering the sweeter moment.

Gonna start over, at my new site, dipikakohli.com.

Or check out the Jigsaw Method. If you’ve read to the end, I know you know how to find things out, on your own. Because the people who read to the end are those kind of people, independent, and stuff, and also, I like that I don’t have to tell you where everything is. I mean, heck. I don’t even know. How can one person scour the entire internet? Anyway. I loved the jigsaw method and true collaboration is at the heart of everything Design Kompany cares about. Collaboration, co-creation, jazzy mix-it-uppy improvisation. With the results that are modern, and speak for themselves.

Comments are open so if you find cool stuff, just say. Ta.

Image: Shunya Koide / ‘I’m a developer / designer. Also, love taking pictures. Based in Tokyo.’ shunyakoide.com

'S' is for Sincerity

A dream deferred

How do you become successful? Pay attention to your dreams. That’s DK’s advice. Here’s why.

Knowing what your dreams are is really important. You can be talked out of them easily or asked to sideline your own idea in order to take on someone else’s ‘dream’ and be asked to finish what they couldn’t, for them.

That happens. A lot. And it’s not okay, for someone who wants to actually do something that helps that person feel.., fulfilled. A tricky subject, this. But I’ll tell you what I’ve learned, from others, and maybe it’ll resonate with some who are reading here. Mostly, the feelings are, in the aggregate, to not give up on your dreams. It’s been said. Often. But who really knows what their dreams even are? Making time to investigate those kinds of interior questions isn’t ‘done’, and if it is, then you know, people you used to think were your allies start to… get mad at you for doing what you want and ‘I wish I could do what you’re doing’-you and it’s just annoying and dull. So yeah.

How do you push past all that?

Focus, for one, but also, editing.

May 2021


Editing? Sure. You kinda have to. Editing out the things that are subtle moves designed (consciously or not consciously, doesn’t matter, if you’re on the receiving end it’s the same end result) to keep you from pursuing your own personal growth. I mean sometimes even our own parents try to get us to do what they want, instead of encouraging us to do what we don’t even know what we personally want. Or care about. Yet.


Maturing starts with giving yourself time to explore, I feel. Kind of like a little plant needs to break ground, then get sun, then water, then nurturing in a loving way that helps it generate itself. Instead of being, well, pruned to fit someone else’s picture of what ‘a plant ought to be.’ First step in success, I feel, is getting rid of people who try to tell you who you ought to be. Editing, in other words. You have to do it. No, I mean, you really do, though. You have to.

You have to bat away a lot of naysayers. It’s kind of half the job, really. Swatting away what Guy Kawasaki called ‘the bozos’ when he said, in a talk that I’m sure is online somewhere, ‘Don’t let the bozos get you down.’

Can’t. Won’t. So I’m still gonna try. To make it: S P A C E. Big thanks to those who support our work with your donations to our crowdfunding page for #spacethezine. Could never have come this far without you;)

This poem I’ll share now, it’s for VH. (Thank you for introducing it to me, so many years ago. Maybe you do not recall it, but I do. I hope you know it helped me a lot, back then. And I continue to enjoy it.)

Dreaming big.

Where I am.

Cause why not.

‘Harlem’ by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Langston Hughes, “Harlem” from The Collected Works of Langston Hughes. Copyright © 2002 by Langston Hughes.

Image: Alex Rodríguez Santibáñez. ‘Architecture + Urban – ⚡ Seeing beauty in the ordinary since 1987.’

Experiments in Expression · Stories


Dipika Kohli put together the essay, ‘A Life That Isn’t Yours,’ in response to the feelings at that time (February 2020, Phnom Penh)… feelings, to be more specific, like wonderment. Why are people so influenced by posts on social media, and why do those ‘other people having so much fun’ trouble them so much? Obviously everyone is faking it. Why get ruffled? Why care?

Such was the reaction, for DK, and this was the impetus for pulling together photography from copyright-free websites and writing the captions to go with them. The result, ‘A Life That Isn’t Yours,’ is below. Reposted today. Originally posted in February 2020.

Dipika Kohli: ‘I will refrain from editorializing it and let you decide how what it means… to you. The role of the artist is not to ‘inform’, but rather, I feel, to respond to the things around us in the everyday, everywhere and give it a form that reminds those of us who are still asking questions, still interested in changing towards improvement, to go, ‘Waitaminut. Let me look a little closer at the things I consider meaningful, to me, and not just told to me.’ Oops. I think I am starting to editorialize. Let me stop here. ‘Kay.’

Enjoy ALTIY…

A Life That Isn’t Yours

Photo essay by Design Kompany

Continue reading “‘Susan’”

Relational Aesthetics

‘Powers of 10’

Powers of Ten (film)

From Wikipedia:
The Powers of Ten films are two short American documentary films written and directed by Charles and Ray Eames. Both works depict the relative scale of the Universe according to an order of magnitude (or logarithmic scale) based on a factor of ten, first expanding out from the Earth until the entire universe is surveyed, then reducing inward until a single atom and its quarks are observed. The first film: A Rough Sketch for a Proposed Film Dealing with the Powers of Ten and the Relative Size of Things in the Universe[1] — was a prototype and was completed in 1968; the second film: Powers of Ten: A Film Dealing with the Relative Size of Things in the Universe and the Effect of Adding Another Zero[2] — was completed in 1977. The Powers of Ten films were adaptations of the book Cosmic View (1957) by Dutch educator Kees Boeke.[3] Both films, and a book based on the second film,[4] follow the form of the Boeke original, adding color and photography to the black and white drawings employed by Boeke in his seminal work. The 1977 film has a number of changes from the prototype, including being entirely in color, moving the starting location from Miami to Chicago, removing the relativistic (time) dimension, introducing an additional two powers of ten at each extreme, a change in narrator from Judith Bronowski to Philip Morrison, and much improved graphics.[1] ‘In 1998, Powers of Ten (1977) was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.[5][6]’