Krishnamurthi on ‘Listening’

J. Krishnamurthi
J. Krishnamurthi

Listening itself is a complete act; the very act of listening brings its own freedom. But are you really concerned with listening, or with altering the turmoil within? If you would listen, sir, in the sense of being aware of your conflicts and contradictions without forcing them into any particular pattern of thought, perhaps they might altogether cease. You see, we are constantly trying to be this or that, to achieve a particular state, to capture one kind of experience and avoid another, so the mind is everlastingly occupied with something; it is never still to listen to the noise of its own struggles and pains. Be simple … and don’t try to become something or to capture some experience.

From ‘Listening brings Freedom,’ at J.

What is the role of the artist? To ‘exchange and understand’

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

Discovering and designing a new zine: ‘S P A C E | Rīga, ‘Lūdzu’

WHOLE LOT OF STUFF inspired this issue of our Latvia series of zines in S P A C E.

This one is called ‘S P A C E | Rīga, ‘Lūdzu’.

I think it’s the best one.

I always say that about the most-recently published.

A good sign, no?

The issues are in our online store. In real life, there will be a launch party in Rīga on 29 May. All the new works will be available to read.

Launch party in Rīga

RSVP for 29 May by ordering a ticket. Order here >

29 MAY | S P A C E | Rīga. This Wednesday, DK will be sharing the printed copies of this issue (and the three that precede it, all made while here in Latvia. in the last six weeks).  We have been getting to know the scene by wandering around in the city, looking at buildings, picking some spots that have a feeling about them that resonates with us, staying a while, revising, meeting people, meeting them again, getting deeper into the conversations, selecting themes, writing poetry, writing plays, writing and photographing, co-creating with people we have met, discovering the feeling that the place gives us, and wrapping them up in this set of issues. But, as we always do before we close out a stay in a new city, we will gather those whom we have built some kind of genuine connexion with. In a party setting. Just once. For the journeys to be described too much would be to offend them: the unexpected is what we are expecting, at this gathering. Those who inspired the stories. This who shared. Those who welcomed DK. Those who gave time, and cared, and shared with us. Are invited.  I’m excited about this, and will look forward to seeing M, I, S, and T, at least, and a handful of others who might decide to RSVP with us. Very limited seats. Advance bookings only. For those who want to experience this, I invite you to RSVP by getting a ticket. Tickets are 12 euro.


How we made S P A C E in Latvia

WORKING OUT OF cafes, borrowed living rooms, and kitchen tables since April 16, 2019, DK and friends are making S P A C E stories in photo essay, illustration, collage, and creative nonfiction. There will be four issues of our international zine collection that will be set right here in Rīga.

They are in our online shop.

  • S P A C E | Rīga, ‘Sunny Side of the Street”
  • S P A C E | Rīga, ‘Drift’
  • S P A C E | Rīga, ‘The Weather Report’
  • S P A C E | Rīga, ‘Lūdzu’

For this collection, the works were created by a unique international team: Dipika Kohli, A. Spaice, Zafar Imran, Alexis Jokela, and BOSS. Special thanks for creative consultation with: Nils Don Sihvola (ig) and S P A C E contributing editor, Mike Dynamo. Big thanks also to Zina Olehnoviča for co-hosting ‘Art of Conversation’ with DK in real life at her shop Tortik Time, and to Samir Shukla for commissioning new writing from us, writing about Latvia, for our ongoing column for Saathee Magazine. Also to D, north side of town, like, way, for showing me around and telling it like it is. Don’t know if you’ll see this and know this ‘D’ is you, but wow, you really helped me get going on this project. Couldn’t have made this without your frank comments, dark humor, and other flat and honest sideways observations.





Order the zine, S P A C E | Rīga, ‘Lūdzu’…

Meantime, here is where you can order S P A C E | Rīga, ‘Lūdzu’…


Forum: Int_rn_t

Went to some places. Came back. Not sure where is ‘here’ and ‘now,’ as I am in a post-Soviet place, that doesn’t like to talk too much about too many things in concrete terms. Wandering here since middle of April, running into people, discovering this curious and yet so-very-obvious notion that nothing is for sure and everything could change any moment is, well, bizarre. And in a way, that strangeness is what has inspired me to change it up with the things in the writing, try new adventurous and even experimental things, and get out of, well, the proverbial box. Even when you profess to be someone who loves to get out of boxes, sometimes a new place can spur you into a different kind of meander… which is new. And new… New and different. Is the thing we love most, around here.

TETHERS. Talked recently with MB in Phnom Penh, about being ‘untethered’ or ‘tethered,’ and it reminded me of an early conversation about that, back in the day. Knowing what you are tied up with, by choice or circumstance, is a big deal in many ways. I mean the knowing part. I mean… there’s a lot to talk about, here. I am learning, too, that the instagram-happy world (and I confess, I do have two accounts), is a place that doesn’t really know what this kind of ‘knowing’ is, I feel. Substance gets substituted for ‘interestingness,’ even if that is a thousand percent manufactured. So where does that leave us? On the quest to be real. Be sincere. Be… true.

‘PROFESSIONALISM.’ I gave a giant lecture, 55 minutes, roughly, so, seminar-length?, which was impromptu, yesterday afternoon at a cafe called Nice Place. Which is closing next week. Sad: I like this space. But yesterday I re-ran into someone I had been trying to meet up with for three weeks. My seminar to him was about ‘professionalism.’ This happened for lots of reasons, but, I think, mostly, because of that very moment, that instance, that sudden need to say a thing even if the words weren’t ready in their order yet (improvisation: that’s my thing, though, right?)… this feeling, this need to express the thing that had to be expressed. If someone is interested in things to make, I am interested in making with that person. But the second it becomes clear that this interestedness is not sincere, that is when I press a button in my head that is very similar, I think, to ‘delete.’ I have been told this is not a good way to go about things. I know that there are more mature ways to deal with the amorphousness of the Internet-era and things-not-certain. But yeah. Working it out. Starting to enjoy the new and different, again, and even let myself be led down that other path, of being introduced to the grotesque and uncomfortable, too. Hmmm. This is. Hard to write down, in a way that makes sense. But maybe the post postmodern style that I am waking up to here in Latvia is telling me something. Maybe it doesn’t make sense because there is no such thing as ‘sense.’ (People’s parents still remembering getting sent to Siberia, et al. Hoarding porcelain cups and saucers, and everything else, because… ‘It could happen again…’). What ‘makes sense’ in a world recovering from these memories?… In many ways, it reminds me of Phnom Penh…

These are the ideas, vague and training themselves to be okay with that, here in Riga, this week. I’ll be putting them together in more solid terms, I think?, in the coming days, and report back then. I hope it works into something cohesive and complete in itself, as an undefined and uncertain thing: is this an oxymoron? I’m curious what you would say, Leave a comment? Let’s converse…

Thanks for reading.

23 issues of S P A C E

DK are curious about the people who are curious, mostly, and that means… discovering, and being open to being discovered.

Fast update.

  • E-MAG. There are 23 issues of our mini-mag, S P A C E, now available in our online store, too. For a lazy Sunday read, if you like the idea of discovering stories from real people as reported to us in the field in real places, on the spot, then check it out. Cool.
  • CONVERSATIONS. In other news, more is on the way, but I want to share only with those who are curious. Leave a note through the form below, and ask me what’s ahead? Online & offline, invite-only and public: we’re still here, writing and designing, one conversation at a time.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA. KIT and follow the story, at our instagram.

Visit the site, check out the store, go to our links, and always feel free to contact us to ask us anything. Email through the form below…


Write to DK…

Call for interest

Just posted this call for interest and shared it around, a bit. Bangkok will be our first stop to discover new creative people. Looking for new voices to bring into our e-mag, S P A C E. Read below to learn about our philosophy and approach to discovering and building relationships with people who have a story to tell. Check out our instagram and follow the story to date. Get in touch with us through the form at our contact page if you want to reach out, and ask questions. Don’t be shy! We’re here to learn, listen, and connect. Thanks ! —A. Spaice



Let’s make space for real life.

RETURNING TO THAILAND to gather: artists, photographers, illustrators, designers, poets, writers, and conversationalists for a brief salon, ‘S P A C E | Bangkok.’

We are looking for new voices to bring into our weekly e-mag, S P A C E, in 2020. Do you have a story to tell?

For us, the process to discover those whose stories are under-represented in mainstream media begins 6 months before publishing new writers. This is because it takes time to build rapport, trust, and gather the momentum to put together something of a quality that meets our standards.

After taking a break from design to focus on consulting projects 2014-2019, DK are returning to the studio style of gathering people and developing themes, to unearth fresh concepts. To do this, we have opened a new wing of DK, a publishing arm, which we call Atelier S P A C E.

In the past, we would work with people who were in the process of discovering their own concept of self, and working with us for a brief time (as clients, DK interns, part-time staff at DK, and occasionally, creative collaborators). Together, we would make short, packed, once-off pieces. You can find many of them in Seattle. Looking ahead, in 2020, we’ll make new and different things. Perhaps short anthologies, or, if things continue with our weekly e-mag, then we’ll carry on with those. Let’s see. See our crowdfunding page to learn more about S P A C E.

S P A C E | Bangkok is free for members of S P A C E.

Min 4, max 8.

Participation fee is USD 16.

Register before 1 June to confirm your spot.

Register here.

DK’s picks for ‘Rīga Photomonth’

Update: In the fall of 2019, DK and a new team of friends and co-creators will be posting and sharing about ‘cross cultural design’. The ways we communicate when we are in places where we do not yet know how to articulate ourselves eloquently, for example. A summer 2019 stop in Latvia was, for example, one of these ‘lab’ explorations. We want to update this post to reflect a little bit about how it felt to be there, grasping for meaning, in a world so very different from DK’s own (‘post-Soviet’, et al).


YESTERDAY I HAD the pleasure of meeting a smattering of very creative, industrious people at a publisher’s ‘conference’ organized by some people who have ‘conversations’ in their name. Now, if conversations are in their name that means something. So of course, us being conversational types, DK had to go and show up. The first presentation was so dull that DK had to go outside, and pretend to be getting a smoke, in order to pass so many people so obviously, but the slight rain and fresh air helped a lot to take the edge off of what was an ostensible advertisement.

Having the impatience to not go through advertising things in captivity, DK went outside for that phantom smoke. And met… M. (Hi!). And M’s girlfriend, soon thereafter. Both were very kind and looked over our zines from Riga and I hope they will read ‘Janteloven’ from Aarhus because it is pretty good. I gave them the e-link and stuff to get it, and it should be downloadable as a gift, with that, if I got it right.

Lately more gift-giving. More about why, below. After this next section, about Photomonth.


Discovering Rīga Photomonth

While bored with the first presentation, I did what Dan Savage used to do when the Seattle International Film Festival rolled around in Sea-town. I did a ‘DK’s picks’ kind of a thing. Borrowed some scissors and rudely cut loudly while the conversation was dead and lecturing at us, and made a shortlist of things I want to go and check out with the wonderful set of options for Riga Photomonth, next week.

The opening week is scheduled for 13-18 May, but the official opening will take place on 15 May at the Museum of Occupation of Latvia.

Here are DK’s picks:

S P A C E investigates, with our field notebook, these events, and so I will show up, I think, personally, to see what I can see. Needed to put them into this calendar, so I have a way of knowing where I should be when, because these programs can be overwhelming to use, and sometimes, when the information design isn’t quite… well, isn’t easy to get a hold of because I think some major things are omitted, here and there, which I only learned because I went t the website to see what things were there and then, yeah, I had to make my little shortlist because who has time to do everything? And I want to see this selfie thing, ‘Lurid Self’ by Honeymoon High, the most. I so do. But also the opening party. That’s gonna be where I start, I think. But yeah. You can find the events in our ‘events’ section that DK picked, or you can just go to the website for Rīga Photomonth, and browse the many, many options and pick something for yourself. But we all know how hard it is to make decisions, so I did the above shortlisting for those who like the aesthetics of DK and will probably like what we had a first-glimpse impression of and said, ‘Yeah, that.’

More about the event. Here is what the organizers say:

Rīga Photomonth is an international photography festival that takes place in the capital of Latvia since 2014. Rīga Photomonth explores and shows photography from Northern and Eastern Europe. The festival’s public programme includes exhibitions, artist talks, workshops, lectures and film screenings. In addition Rīga Photomonth hosts portfolio reviews and workshops for professionals.

Let’s see what happens.


Gift-giving and gift-receiving

Why give gifts? Because wow. What goes around comes around, sure. And in recent days, I got three lovely gifts, myself, here in Riga, since I landed. First, a comic book. Next, a painting. By Z. Amazing work. Then, some purple flowers on a simple stem, the very ones I was admiring earlier that day, and they were given to me without any hint of shyness whatsoever (how refreshing) by a young lad who could look DK in the eye. That was sweet. I put them in water, as he instructed, and got off at my floor. The work is coming into shape, too. The presents are making me more present, if you will. I like writing when I am drinking a lot of things: water, milk, and coffee at the moment. I am also in the throes of a new book. I haven’t been this inspired to write in flow like this since 2015 when I was at work at the French house (not really a French house, but occupied, and I do mean occupied, by five Parisians, which was a headache, for me, personally, in that they didn’t get it that one who writes stays home to write when everyone else is leaving and doesn’t have time to run errands because ‘you look like you have so much free time,’ ahem), well, yeah. Okay, rant aside this is the story about Rīga, right?

So yeah. Yesterday. Was good. I met so many people I wrote a bunch of notes and promised myself I would do a complete writeup on the outpourings of wonderful feelings that come when you show up in a place that is ready to receive you, ready to entertain your wacky suggestions of conversation salons (like that time I tweeted to P, ‘I have an idea’), and things get to happening when you get responses. (If you don’t get responses, you have to stop taking it personally, I learned, and move on to where you get them. In this entire country, jazzy as it is without knowing that, or how post postmodern it is, and teaching me what the hell that even is, by simply being it, and cool about it, so cool in that it doesn’t even know it, or profess to be anything, which I think, ‘undefined’ is the whole thing about PPM. And we did have some weird converstions int he salon, ‘Postmodern Nomads,’ but they dwindled to a natural ending and I left them there, closed that door, opened this one, and whoa.) I’m in the world of things that are new and spirited, at least to the underinformed eye. With this eye, I take the pictures, and put them into S P A C E. The third issue in the series S P A C E | Latvia is almost done. I wrote the story last night, and today, and tomorrow, and probably the whole week to come, I’ll work on it more and more until it’s ready. But then, another week, and another issue. Such is the life with a weekly e-mag. Shazam!

Photo: Rīga Photomonth

Trains… and ‘Love is boring’

TOOK THE TRAIN to a side city in Latvia, just to drift about. Landed in a tourism office and got into a bit of a prickly conversation: some people who might be reading this will remember me talking about ‘the boxes,’ yes? If yes, that story, put into a short short play, is part of the new issue of S P A C E, which I just printed and spent the afternoon folding, collating, and making into the 4-issue limited edition set of couture zines. Yes, I sewed them, so they are now officially a wrap. It feels good to see these cookies in a four-set, probably for the last time, as I am going to share the pre-ordered issues shortly and in a bit. I’m excited about this. Besides the side story mentioned above, there are new photographs from the train journey, new writing from Zafar Imran, which was inspired by a conversation some two dozen years ago (plus last week, with IB. We talked. A lot. Improvised.) Zafar Imran’s very short story, directly inspired by I, what she told me, a generously shared jazzy insight, and the dialogues between Zafar and me since and well before, is called ‘Love is Boring.’

It is the lead story of this highly visual, graphic issue.

And now… enough drifting. Let me go see if I can find some dinner. Mashed potatoes and zupa, maybe. Mmmm.

But before I log off here… I recommend this one, if you have to choose just one from S P A C E. It’s the rightest, I feel, of the lot so far, in that it does the work that S P A C E sets out to do, namely that of packing together all that was learned in recent days into a tight, fixed short set of things (MD once called it ‘a digest’) to read and enjoy. It looks good, and I’m so hungry, I kinda wish I could eat it.

How to get S P A C E | Riga, ‘Drift’

Studio Day

I’M WRITING TODAY. On the computer pictured here. It was a going-away gift a year ago, when I was about to head to Finland for a three-month artist residency to make ‘zines’ with people I didn’t know yet, but trusting my instincts and the knack for starting up conversations (who knew?), went over there to explore and discover. Making these, through that process of showing up, chancing it, and finding the theme that seemed resonant with the most people who were local that I met. In this same exact way, I am now in Latvia. Showing up. Seeing where the jazz is (finding it yesterday at Kaņepes Culture Centre, and last week at a less interesting place but fortunately with good company). Company makes a big difference in these things, but so does the artistry of the musicians. Great session last night, and again, great company. These things are starting to feel like they are part of a bigger design: finding a community, whilst on the road. In an earlier post I may have written, while zining in Finland, a tad about ‘radicant growth,’  and here I am, discovering the journey within the journey which is a side trip of a six-year somehow-winding-up-in-Cambodia. Slash, ‘on the road.’ But without the whole book reference: that book is shite, if you ask me. I know, I know: it’s a ‘classic.’ But who decided what gets to be a classic? There. Think about that. Still thinking? Here’s something to read, to this point, in The Guardian. HT MD, one of my teammates here in S P A C E, who shares on twitter this and that, which is why we call him our ‘culture editor.’

NOW, HERE. The writers and the people who are asking, here, today, right where I am, who are showing up and doing the work of getting to it, in the struggle to not just ‘fight’ or ‘express’ but rather, to engage, are the people I feel I am bumping into through the process that S P A C E invites. Discovery, serendipity, the chance encounter, and of course, the willingness to take a chance and ‘say yes’ even if you’d really rather not. #whynot #sayyes was the resounding echo for my earlier invitations to people to join me for N’ in London, Bangkok, Hanoi, Copenhagen, Helsinki and Phnom Penh, and now I’m still at it, asking that, but rare is the moment that someone asks that… of me. Long story: not for posting here, in public.

For now, this is the news: Showing up is half the journey. As my father says, ‘Rest is up to you.’

This post… is for… the poets.

Kismuth in 2019

IT IS REASSURING and heartwarming to get the news today that there are readers following Dipika Kohli‘s new column, Kismuth & The Way, in Charlotte, NC USA-based Saathee Magazine. Here is the link to the first article for Kismuth & The Way.

If you started reading Kismuth as an e-letter in 2014, well, you might be surprised to see how things have updated. Practice. Can do wonders. The changes in writing are due to a medley of factors. First, a lot of conversations about how to slow down. Plus, an awareness now from some of the best of those that a written story isn’t so much about the observations  or how well they’re relayed, but rather how the readers will feel to be taken on a journey. (HT J, and S).

This is good. The work is just beginning, however, to continue to write and design and narrate and most importantly, share the real, raw, honest and genuine stories. Real people. Real places. Made in-situ, right where they are. Together, most often, in conversation parties and one-on-one random connections that turn into strings that start to organize themselves in lines, sort of, and then, make a story. It’s starting to get interesting around here.

It’s part of our new work, to gather stories in real life on the spot made and shared around the world, at cities where we are finding them by talking to people every day who happen to cross our paths (or social media feeds) and designing the themes together. Currently in: Latvia. Discover more about S P A C E, the idea behind this work, and how you can support these efforts: at our crowdfunding page.

Photos: BOSS

Post-postmodernism and the seagulls

Consensus on what constitutes an era can not be easily achieved while that era is still in its early stages. However, a common theme of current attempts to define post-postmodernism is emerging as one where faith, trust, dialogue, performance, and sincerity can work to transcend postmodern irony. —Wikipedia

Also: seagulls. Listening. Birds. Gulls. Blue everywhere, clear skies. New greens; the openings. Chapters. Arrivals. So many things. Writing in S P A C E. Writing the story. Sharing with the circle of people who are curious, open, ready, connecting with DK, and engaged. Thank you for those of you who are in it, behind the scenes. This project wouldn’t have been possible to realize, without your interest, and support. You know who you are. It’s great to be in the field again. Thanks for saying, ‘Keep going.’

New zine: S P A C E | Phnom Penh, ‘Angle of Reflection’

Publishing on Tuesday is the zine, ‘S P A C E | Phnom Penh.’ It’s called ‘Angle of Reflection.’ It’s part of a three-part series on Phnom Penh that has already seen the publication of ‘Angle of Incidence.’ More about that issue is here. The full set of events and projects that DK had hosted in Cambodia is on this page, in case you are curious. A place that was home for us for five years. And maybe more. It’s a long story. But one of our favorite magic moments was the recent party, S P A C E | Phnom Penh, in which just six of us convened to connect in real life with one another: most of the people who were there had never met the others, not a single one, and we were just holding a space to see what might emerge. No pics from that one, but curiously, we held it at the very location that I took this picture in 2016 at the reading for Dipika Kohli’s Breakfast in Cambodia in Sept. 2016. Same location, different moment. The earlier shot:

‘Breakfast in Cambodia’, book launch // DK 2016


The three issues of S P A C E that are set in Cambodia are part of a giant series that we will finish publishing in Sept. 2019.

So far, all the zines in the series are getting bundled into two collections:

  • Winter 2018-19, ‘A Philosophy of the Moment’
  • Spring 2019, ‘The Book of New Things’

Currently at work on the Summer 2019 project, ‘In the Vernacular,’ with new and different others DK and friends are discovering this year. It’s, again, a long story, but we are moving from geolocation-based conversations to something different. Ask me about it. Just hit me up through the form on our ‘contact’ page. It’s not for everyone, the idea of sending in a message into the internet, not knowing what might happen, but that’s the story of our lives these days isn’t it? You just have no idea. And it’s hard to try. And it’s hard to take a chance. Because most of the time, the things on the other side are just a lot of pretentiousness or fakery. I hate that, personally/ We are making S P A C E to filter out the bullshit, and host magic moments like the ones that are starting to become more and more about *who* and less about *where*. What’s the story? Where are the people? Where is the story?

Let’s find out.

#trusttheprocess #eyeontheball