Many people have asked me about how I manage to ‘get so much done.’
The truth is, I really just focus a lot. On S P A C E, lately. To show the process–something that I am prone to do if and only if it feels like a good time to open the doors a little to the studio and share what’s gong on–I host events.
Occasionally, they happen in a way that’s 100% online, and the thing coming up is one of those.
So here we go.
This is the thing…
See how S P A C E works.
About this Event
A real-time conversation taking place–online. A DK-hosted synched space of connection, conversation.
Learn how S P A C E has changed since it started out as a working prototype in a ‘cojournal’ project by Dipika Kohli, who is the creative director of DK. DK has been publishing S P A C E every week since December 2018.
You’ll get to see how, in this experiential program, which will happen in digital space. For just 2 hours, on the day.
In the last few days, we began to ask a couple of people if they were curious about talking together in an online forum, on the topic of W O R K. Enough said ‘yes’ to make it *happen*. So…
This week, we have begun the journey in a set of protected pages, on this website. That’s what all the protected page posts are, if you were wondering. We’re talking together, but not in public forums, because we want to keep the circle small, cozy… intimate. You talk about the things that matter the most, and you don’t want to blab to the whole wide internet about them.
Read about ‘work‘, the online dialogue, and how come we started it.
What makes for good, quality ‘work’?, this began with. In some really fascinating threads over the last three years here (behind the scenes, in protected-page posts), I have learned one hell of a lot about this, and especially, what my guests and partners in these conversations have had to say.
Things go back a ways, for example, when we were in Durham NC, DK’s Akira Morita had hosted a conversation forum that was called re (WORK).
Here’s a pic.
While it’s great and awesome to be able to get together in real life for conversations, sometimes people are just in very different parts of the world whom we are interested in gathering together in space. So that’s why we do the online conversations. We want to connect, and interconnect, a very wide range of perspectives so that we can learn from each other and discover new inputs.
What is ‘work’?
Well let’s just get right to it, shall we?
What is work, anyway?
That’s the focus.
This exact, narrow query.
‘What is the future of work, that’s a different question, and a favorite of some of the people whom I used to know, back in Seattle, when we sat around with our super remote and super design-your-own-day style of working, whether over Belgian beers at Stumbling Monk at Designers’ Korner, say, or over coffee at Top Pot on Summit Avenue, which was just down the street from one of the offices I used to rent, on Olive Way. It was so good, those days of being in the space of playfulness and learning, together.
‘I still remember when LS came by to one of the ‘Dream Kitchen’ lunch sessions. I remember how he said some things that really resonated with me, and had heard about the event, somehow, I think through the newspaper maybe or some other spot, I swear, I have no idea, but then, years later, sitting in a house in the north of Finland, I suddenly remembered it.
‘How it felt to receive new people from ‘the internet’ to my office, welcome them to the conference room table, share coffee or tea or whatever, and then just… talk. We talked then in that session about what our dreams were outside of work. It was… great. To have a chance to hear out what people were feeling and thinking, but just for a time, and then everyone went along on their own, separate journeys. I wrote to LS out of the blue, more than a decade later, hoping I spelled his name correctly and hoping he was the only one who had that gmail address. Surprisingly, I got through. He wrote right back and asked me what I was thinking, where I was, how I was doing, and I did the same. Our journeys went in many directions, of course, in separate phases, but hell, what a cool thing it was to have heard someone say, ‘I remember that conversation.’
‘But: come to think of it, I remember, too. Which is exactly why the words ‘Hit the high note’ came back to me, all these years later. LS said, on the call that we had, that they weren’t his words, but he was quoting. Didn’t matter: the feeling of wanting to raise the bar never left me, and ‘hit the high note’ expressed it so very clearly, so very well.
‘I remember a lot of them. Not all, of course. And I get to hear so many of them, day by day, because of the design intention that it took all these years to crystallize. Optimizing for the ‘a-ha’ moment–I can tell you more about this.
‘I have a lot more to say.
‘And so do our guests, I imagine, too.
‘Let’s get to it.
‘I’m gonna share more when I’m ready, about the new things beginning, thanks in large part to SJ. It’s cool. I’m jazzed. It’s… flowing.’
Be a part of the conversations
We’re going to get started soon. I’m sending the pre-start homework out this weekend. Ask us anything, if you are curious, through the form at the end of this page. If there’s enough interest, we’ll do a real-life version of this, somewhere in Vietnam, in the early part of September.
Read about’work‘, the online dialogue, and how come we started it.
FOR A WHILE, I used to work in newsrooms. A weekly alternative paper in Europe from 2002-2004, then a Seattle daily from 2004-2005. I remember walking away from them for many reasons, but there was definitely a feeling that I had way back then that is resonant in something I found today online. This, from Yahoo News:
The BBC has issued an apology after Stacey Dooley[ (who has been criticised in the past for her perceived lack of knowledge or understanding while presenting various documentaries*)] referred to a Muslim prayer gesture as an “Isis salute” in a documentary broadcast last night (Monday 5 August)… The offending scene, which showed Dooley using the term “Isis salute” to describe women raising their fingers in the air, was cut from the programme after being used in the documentary..
..However, the raised index finger is a symbol of Tawhid, meaning “the unity and uniqueness of God as creator and sustainer of the Universe”. The gesture is a common part of Islamic prayer, and has been used by a number of Muslim football players during goal celebrations.
TellMamaUK, a social media watchdog for anti-Muslim incidents, condemned the moment and tweeted: “To reduce such a fundamental and important concept to a mere ‘Isis salute’ is grossly wrong, ignorant and damaging.”
Award-winning BBC journalist Anisa Subedar tweeted: “Does Stacey Dooley know us Muslims raise it every time we pray (that’s five times a day) to remind us of the oneness of God?
“This is what happens when you pass over real journalists to cover these kinds of stories — those that require cultural sensitivity and compassion.
“What happened here is insulting and offensive to Muslims and journalists.”
Journalist Oz Katerji tweeted the BBC’s response after he submitted a complaint, and linked the mistake to a lack of diversity in newsrooms.
“While I am disappointed Stacey herself has not apologised, I am satisfied with the BBC response and will draw a line under this here,” he said.
“I have no doubt that this retraction was prompted not by me, but by dozens of female Muslim BBC journalists that were also offended and expressed their feelings about it. I can’t stress this enough, newsrooms need to be diverse, and if you hire more diverse staff, this won’t happen.
We all inhabit interior landscapes & these are mediated to us through language. It might be said that we are the thoughts we are thinking. What engages the writer/ poet is the individual’s response to the “situation”—what she or he makes of it. That is the essence of the human drama, & why imaginative literature is so much deeper, more intense, & more memorable than objective history with its impersonal perspective. —Joyce Carol Oates, as quoted at this site which interviews people about their creative process.
‘We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late.
‘Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood—it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, “Too late.” There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. Omar Khayyam is right: “The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on.”
‘We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.
‘Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message—of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise, we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.’
GOOD THINGS. New stories came together over the 20 Feb-14 March Atelier S P A C E project in Hanoi. It was part of our Spring 2019 conversations and real life gatherings so far, a collection of 12 zines in the making that together we call BoNT, or ‘Book of New Things.’
(HT Catherine J. Howard and Mai Phuong Nguyen for being the very first 2 members of S P A C E for Spring 2019, and whose contributions to our crowdfunding for S P A C E is directly helping make this happen. We are going where people are showing up, where people are supporting this work, and where we are finding resonance with our intentions to connect, and interconnect, new and different others so that we can make S P A C E, together. To learn, to discover, to co-create, and grow)
Four percent battery–what else to say? For those new to DK, ‘Come to something, say hi, see what we’re doing.’ For those who’ve known DK since Seattle, ‘Hey! We’re still at it.’ For those who wonder where we are going next and how this is all going to happen… *secret*. I’m not sure if this is clear to most people but I don’t really need a lot of people to know about us, what we’re up to, or what we’re making. Just a handful: usually very self-selecting. To say, ‘OK.’ More about that below. But for now, really, it’s a team effort. That team is not something that’s ‘yay let’s do this maybe!’, but rather, carefully selected and invited after several years of working on things in short bursts, to see how it goes.
Squaring up and making a go, we are now creating S P A C E.
HANOI. What a series. We started posting on instagram here and there because that seems to be where people read and connect, as irritating as that is to someone like myself who does not own a smartphone and relies on email and Zoom to communicate. [Long passage deleted]. We have finished the zine and it’s going to launch on 2 July in S P A C E. You can order a digital copy (USD 7), from our online store.
Exciting movement for things in VN, and more to share with those in our inner circles. S P A C E is a kind of journey, but S P A C E isn’t for everyone. I’m conversing more deeply in the protected-page forums. More there, very soon. Thanks for showing up at S P A C E | Miniparty HN. (You know who you are.)
MEET DK IN S P A C E.Subscribe to S P A C E the zine for USD 7/week if you want to be a part of things in S P A C E. (To keep things cozy, invitations for DK’s next programmes online and in real life through 2019 will be made through our membership list, only.) Less is more. Less helps us focus. On the people who are here, who are curious, engaged, listening, ready to try something new, to take a chance, to trust the process, to show up, and, hey. Magic carpet ride.
BOSS is reading Sherlock Holmes. (I’ve never read it). BOSS has read ‘The Merchant of Venice’ and a number of other Shakespeare pieces*, which he remarks upon from time to time, saying random things like, ‘That’s just blank verse.’ I, for my part, am amused and bewildered that someone with his capacity for ingesting volumes at a time of words should be my partner in ateliers on the road, here, while I am in Việt Nam. Yes, those are the accurate feelings. Wildly curious, and like a leaf that’s fallen in autumn without any idea of how it got there. (Hat tip, S P A C E guests who might have seen that page in ‘Vakt.’)
*BOSS: ‘Isn’t it Shakespearean?’
Look: making things that people want to read is not easy. making things that are artful is not marketable. But why not keep going? The road is where we are, at the moment. Hanoi. Then Tokyo. Then, ?, and ?, and ?, and then Riga. To connect. Together, in S P A C E. Designing and discovering, but learning in the short stops and the long spans in the moments of *a-ha*. He who doesn’t love the creative process will not engage with us, to be sure. But if you read and detect and find the clues, which don’t show up by stumbling upon them by chance, as BOSS says, but by reasoning your way towards the things that make themselves line up in a way that says, ‘There! That is the direction to go!’ then yeah. Look for more from us.
‘Thwarted by a woman’
BOSS: ‘The reason I like The Scandal of Bohemia better is because he was thwarted.’
Me: ‘Who’s he? Whose plans?’
BOSS: ‘Sherlock. Holmes’.’
BOSS: ‘Because his plans were… thwarted by a woman.’
..And that was how a great scandal threatened to affect the Kingdom of Bohemia, and how the best plans of Mr. Sherlock Holmes were beaten by a woman’s wit. He used to make merry over the cleverness of women but I have not heard him do it of late. And when he speaks of Irene Adler or when he refers to her photograph, it is always under the honorable title of the woman. —‘The Scandal of Bohemia,’ in The Best of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Wordsworth Classics: London, 1925)
S P A C E | Haapavesi, ‘Katsotaan’ [coming Spring 2019]
Katsotaanpa sitten. Kaikki mikä kiiltää ei ole kultaa.
Haluan kertoa teille tarinan. Suoraan. Miten kesärakkaus alkoi. En voi kertoa hänen nimensä. Voin vain kertoa, miten se alkoi. Teoria ensin ja sitten todellisuus. Annetaan sen syttyä. Ajattelematta liikaa tulevaa. Eikä anneta menneiden merkitä. Ollaan vain tässä ja nyt. Hän oli niin rehellinen ja suora. Hän ei voinut puhua muusta kuin sydämensä vilkkaista liikkeistä. Se hänessä tuntui niin viehättävältä. Vaikka kukat ovat poissa, me kukimme. Juhannuksena hän sanoi: “Koska on kesä, Alexis.”
Halusin puhua työstä. Siirtyä työhöni. Halusin kertoa hänelle, että saattaisin lähteä ulkomaille. Jos olisin onnekas. Tai epäonninen. Riippuen siitä, miten menisi. Kesä ja myrkky. Kesä ja tuoksu. Kesä ja päät. Kesä ja alku. Hän halusi enemmän. Tiesin sen. Mutta en voinut antaa sen tapahtua. Olin vain järkevä, kun hän pyysi syvempää suhdetta. Tietenkin tunsin vain kutsun äidiksi.
‘Art, at its best, is a conversation. One in which sender and receiver are locked in a timeless, wordless space, the quality of which only they can know:’ –Dipika Kohli, S P A C E | Palo Alto, 2014, in a conversation with the people who inspired S P A C E the zine.
As consultants, DK’s work is about discovering a strong concept of ‘why’ one does the work that one does. We use a lot of techniques to uncover that exact main idea, but the biggest tool we put into practice is dialogue. On a more personal note, DK’s founders and collaborators are generally curious, and interested in the art of conversation, so together we host events to gather in one moment those whose paths might not have otherwise crossed.
ART OF CONVERSATION. Central questions of identity, possibility, and search are the points from which DK’s inquiry takes its departure. Who are we becoming when we venture to places, and engage with cultures, the rules and shape of which we do not yet know? Dialogue is at the center of DK’s take on leveraging the best of the creative process, and it lies at the heart of all that we do. Whether we are in a client meeting or getting acquainted with a potential new friend, we are listening as best as we can. Through time, and sharing, there comes a moment when we arrive together at a conceptual ‘a-ha’. This is the breakthrough, and from here, the poetry of the connection becomes refined, nuanced, developed, and… more interesting.
DK was founded in 2004 in Seattle, WA, USA. Since that time, DK has worked with 100+ business owners of companies both large and small, as well as international development organizations. See what people say about working with DK.
Be a part of things to come
Are you ready to take part in something very new, and very much about exploring the ways to connect, and interconnect, new and different others? The best way to be part of DK is to support our work, first. To do that you can become a subscriber of S P A C E for USD $7/week, or make a donation, at our crowdfunding page. Or, show up in real life at any of our events. New projects ahead for 2020. KIT when you support this work to make more and better S P A C E.
Putting all the stories together in-situ, both for friends, for editors I know and whose work to help me make things better is very much welcome and valued, and for the guests who are part of our online forums and are subscribers to our online community, S P A C E.
Without S P A C E conversations, things wouldn’t develop or progress: we wouldn’t have richness and complexity, and continuity, without which stuff just stays superficial and boring and rah-rah ‘be like me’ style of blogging or lifestyle crud that doesn’t help anybody in any way at all, if you really look at it underneath the veneer. Who wants to read a blog or writing by someone they don’t know? Think about that. That’s why I’m focused *only* on writing my very bestest stuff for S P A C E. And friends. And, of course, collaborators.
Coming up to the middle of February and we’ll start sharing the on-the-road zine-making progress in real life at popup salons in cities and towns around Việt Nam.
First one is set for 19 February. Today I’m inviting a handful of curious people I’ve met in recent weeks, who are based the city of… well. You can click the link.
I’ll be editing and cutting, pasting and sewing, these into miniature books and sharing those out by postal mail—yes!—since the service is excellent here, at the end of my time in this country and before the next one. So as to make more and better—and different-er—S P A C E. Follow the story–and be a part of it (interactive forums starting soon)–when you subscribe and get our weekly zine.
‘No! I don’t like that company ! The way they treat people and–‘
‘Listen. Amazon’s not going to change and people are still going to use it, whether or not you have qualms with the way they treat people. So why not just use it? Why not make money on the side while you’re doing these other things?’
‘Nobody buys my books ! Hardly.’
‘Well somebody does, right? Somewhere, sometime.’
‘Usually if I meet them, then yeah, it’s so… interesting… it’s like this one-click thing and…’
‘Well, yeah. And why not let yourself benefit from that, instead of just keeping everything on some obscure website in a hard-to-use way, because you disagree on principle with Amazon?’
‘The man’ vs the individualist
‘I see your point.’
‘Yeah, yeah. Selling isn’t bad. But I just don’t wanna use Amazon. I don’t like how they put me next to the other titles and I totally don’t want to be in those pigeonholed categories. So I’ll just make S P A C E. Every week, and see what happens and get to know more about it and see, you know? See.’
‘But, what you really need to be doing is writing another book.’
‘I feel like just making more zines though.’
‘A book is a commitment. And no one reads my books.’
‘You don’t know that.’
‘That’s, um. That’s true.’
‘So what are you going to do?’
‘Write. And let it happen. Whatever it is, it is.’
Get our weekly zine S P A C E, sent directly to your inbox every Tuesday at 7AM USEST. Subscribe here.
THERE’S ‘DOING THINGS RIGHT,’ and then, there’s ‘doing the right things.’ What that means will be different for everyone, but if you’re from Scandinavia, the ‘right things’ necessarily will be rooted, for better or worse, in a thing called ‘The Law of Jante.’ I forgot how I got to hear this word for the first time, perhaps it was at that insanely curious and fun and different Julefrokost that I found myself sitting in a roomful of very happy, very drunk people with in the winter of December 2015.
I AM NOT a Schnapps drinker. I do not sing*. I do not like to get too carried away in conversation too soon with people I do not know, but all bets are off on this one night in the country of Denmark, I found out, when nobody gives a f*ck about what they’re going to feel like in the morning and apparently overeating on this holiday ‘lunch’ is known to cause a couple of deaths a year.
‘Just. Saturday. Come, if you can.’
It’s fine. It’s cultural right? So I said ‘yes’ to an invitation to go, and I went. Barely. I have a tendency to back out of things when any excuse pops up: in this case, it was raining, it was dark, it was a stranger’s flat, nobody was able to call and text me directions owing to the fact that I own no mobile device, and, and, and, wasn’t I supposed to go to Copenhagen the next day and catch a flight, not that many hours, later? So what was I doing blindingly seeking this party for a laugh and a what, a what, I wondered, and now, looking back, I know. The unexpected.
‘Writing is all rewriting’
THE STORY THAT I HAD meant to write for ages and put into this zine is still waiting to be written. Maybe that’s fine. Maybe this isn’t about what I found out at that weird little party but rather what the people around me were sharing and what they had to say. The word ‘Janteloven’ stayed with me for days, months, and then, I asked longtime S P A C E guest and conversationalist Aske Pedersen what the hell it even means.
That started the new thread that landed where we are with this week’s issue of S P A C E. It’s S P A C E | Aarhus, ‘Janteloven,’ published with both English and Danish writings (and photographs I took in Aarhus), which is ‘Denmark’s second city’ as the tourism board likes to call it, has grit the way Sheffield does, and is where AP had grown up. Visiting, I recall going by a park with a statue and a few low steps and him saying, ‘I used to play with a truck there, my mom brought me, right there—*pointing*—when I was a little kid.’ And something about history and place, and people and story, and the darkness settling in, and the way it feels to walk in the forest towards the south side of the city all by yourself because some architects you met quite randomly in a cafe (‘we speak in silences…’) had a hunch you would like it over there and so you did it, all of this, folds into the narratives that weave over one another and make a thing that we like to call ‘S P A C E.’ A zine, but more than that. A collection of stories: documents of moments noted and shared, collected over time and packed together into a 16-page PDF. Pretty wild.
Process. Many thanks this week to both Aske Pedersen and our culture editor in S P A C E, Michael Bridgett, Jr., for help with getting this piece into a better spot than it was way back in November when we were *going* to publish, but couldn’t quite yet, because something wasn’t there yet. What that thing is called is what everyone who writes or makes art or does code or runs or skis or cycles or makes that sweet all-net shot on the basketball hoop or does a little dance and moves to it just so or is a surgeon and gets it right that time because of so much practice knows. Flow. This one, this one just flowed.
Enjoy it. You can get your copy of S P A C E | Aarhus, ‘Janteloven,’ when you subscribe this week to S P A C E. Subscribe here.
It’s starting to get really good, now. Thanks for the conversations and more to come, in S P A C E forums, in the protected-pages. All jazzed up about what’s next.