Tickets go on sale tomorrow.
For the opening reception of ‘You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know.’
It’ll be a zoom call, with members of S P A C E invited, along with their guests.
Register for a two-month membership to participate if you are curious about all things S P A C E and what we write about behind protected-page posts. It’s where it gets more interesting, because a conversation is way better than one-way, to us. For a two-month membership, here’s a link. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/opening-reception-you-dont-know-what-you-dont-know-tickets-164598130439
Thank you, to the curious amongst you, reading this. For being curious. It all starts there [deleted]..
Art by Dipika Kohli
Cooking!, at times. But also just making sandwiches, sometimes, too. Lockdown continues in its strictest form for another month; which is a long time, but I guess, so is a year and a half and that’s how long I’ve been in Vietnam just kind of waiting for borders to open and meantime looking for fun things to make, and ideally, co-create. I love a good party. Anyway, the food is fun to try and so is learning about how to say things. A different language can open your eyes to an entirely fascinating new way of thinking.
Some new folks and I got together on a call. We talked on a call this week about ‘acculturation’ versus ‘assimilation’ or what I further went on to read is ‘integration’ and then there’s also ‘marginalization.’ All these big multisyllabic words to describe the feelings one traverses, in different personalities of whom we are as we approach those borders that delineate us from ‘something I don’t know yet’, and how we cope with the ‘acculturation stress’. Which is the updated word, it appears, for ‘culture shock.’
Did I have culture shock coming to Vietnam? In 2013, yes. In 2020, less. In 2021, I’m halfway to something else, scaling that barrier. Starting with pronunciation. Hopefully, steadily, two steps forward and one step back, doing more. Changing. Inwardly. And in so doing, perchance arriving closer and closer to the center of a New.
Which, after all, is kind of amazing and hard, yes, especially with this Delta thing and lots of time to read the internet while waiting for HCMC to reopen, for one, then VN, then.. the world. Or something. For today, ‘sandwich.’ Miếng săng uých. I like this.
Called Cambodia today.
There is the virus. There is more of it than before. There are concerns and there are provisions, there are floutings, there are commiserations, and, like here where I am in Vietnam at the moment, there are the warm middays. These are the things I am hearing, in calls with friends and colleagues in Cambodia, in days of late. Was trying to find my way back to Phnom Penh for most of 2020. Then, it started to sink in that that just wasn’t gonna happen. So [deleted]… and now, here I am. Continue reading “Finishing touches, ebbs & flows”
This post is for my new acquaintances, T & H. I just wanted to show you the picture from a book launch I did in Phnom Penh in September 2016 [edited]. My, time goes so quickly. I won’t be showing up for this kind of event-making much in Vietnam, to be really really honest, because I have only met 2 or 3 people in my time here, 13 months and counting, who actually really ‘get’ it. The popup installation isn’t something that happens much herein naturally, because of, say, rules about gatherings of x number of people needing to have governmental approval and so on. Also you can’t speak out against the government or you will get in trouble. I might be in trouble for saying that but it’s a real thing. So instead of going around trying to make the hard things visible, I’ll just keep doing what I know how to do. Make it up as I go.
Continuing my experiments in improvisation, then, I continue to design and make S P A C E.
To the journeys!
Photo: Breakfast in Cambodia book launch party at the now-defunct Tini cafe bar in Phnom Penh. More about the book is here.
This week, ladies and gentlemen, I give you ‘Slowly but Surely.’
With a cover photo by Boss and a poem inside by DS Phong, this time.
Here is a link.
S P A C E | Huế, ‘Chậm mà chắc’
Special thanks to Hanoi-trained and Ho Chi Minh City-based product and food photographer Thắng Chu, of Uncle Photography, for the series of images that he took for us of our magazine, S P A C E. A few of them are below and also at our crowdfunding page.
What is the point of S P A C E? Design and discovery. Putting together the highlights of what we uncover, by simply inserting ourselves into the world, asking questions, and not giving up on the idea that you learn more when you learn more together. Here’s us, doing the jam, still. Discovering, and co-creating, as we go. Together, in S P A C E. Even when it’s a pandemic. Even when we’re not sure who’s around. Who’s interested. Who’s not blocking themselves from becoming better. Who’s okay with looking at something in a new way. In a country that doesn’t like to do that, it’s been one hell of a trick. Still, we keep doing our work, we keep making S P A C E. Boring or depressed foreigners aside, we’re looking for the people who are looking for the new. That’s it. That’s the whole thing. It always was, I just didn’t know it.
For the very curious
More about this project is at our newly updated crowdfunding page.
Here’s a link.
Watch this space:)
PS Reflecting on the 2020 year of change and stuff, I realize it’s time to say a thank-you. Special thanks to those who have supported S P A C E since the start. A lot of you donated anonymously to the campaign so I won’t call you out here. But you know who you are. I appreciate it. The best is yet to come, and I feel amazingly lucky to have the support from so many talented, smart and creative people in my sphere both near, and far. We are making it happen. Sharing the journey, one designful moment at a time. But you already knew I could deliver on that, and I appreciate it that you kept showing up for me, even when the showing up (for you, for me) was not easy. Thanking you. I read on a website somewhere that courage isn’t having the strength to go on. Courage is going on, even when you don’t have the strength…S P A C E was born in the waning hours of 2018. Today, it’s starting to start… naturally, a baby takes time to learn how to find its footing. #readyset #outofthecave2021
Well, it’s been a while. I’m writing a letter to Seattle. Yes, I do that sometimes. Care about my cities that used to be part of my life; in some way, some important way. Sometimes. This
is a picture VN took for us when he was part of our team in Seattle in 2008. It was a salon. I was eavesdropping today on a conversation in a place downtown in Ho Chi Minh City (which is lately where I’m parked), and the word ‘salon’ came up. I swore they were going to talk about hair, but nope, it was salon the way I know salons. Talking. Together. About a topic that matters to all of the people who are there. This is something I love to make space for, S P A C E was born out of those things, those conversations and myriad twists and turns that led us to the cloud to interconnect. SinceI kept moving around, meeting people everywhere, the spaces became more and more international–virtually–from about 2014 til now. I’m still engaging there, but with fewer invitations now than ever. It’s simple this way. Keep it quiet, keep it close to you, personal, and real. Reality. Sincerity. Trust.
These are the things.
Where is LT these days, I wonder? Making lovely portrait photos? I wonder how the whole group of people I knew have found their way, now. Is MA in Seattle or somewhere else now? How about MW? I wonder if she knows how much I appreciated that run to that store to buy that thing for me that time. It was lovely. [deleted]..
‘Home’ is the lead story of today’s issue of S P A C E, by the way. S P A C E | HCMC, ‘Airport.’
Here’s a link.
Wherever you go, there you are.
It’s a day out for me from my usual routine. Where I go, what I do, whom I meet; these things are all thrown into the air, today, as I do the thing that Situationism calls for: wander. Drift, so to speak. Going where the going takes you. Like this:
I learned some new vocabulary words yesterday: abstract, in Vietnamese. I met someone who understands what that is and that that is a thing, and she told me the word. In these ways, out and about, I pick up on things. Like where certain roads end and others begin. I start, stop, start stop, and at variegated and particular moments, pause for a while like I’m doing now, today at the cafe where the people are nice to their customers because, as I just learned, they are paid to be.
I don’t know how I feel about this. I’m having a nice conversation up until that point. ‘It’s my job.’ Okay, thanks, but it’s emotional labor and I don’t want to hold you to that. So I’ll cut it short and write a blog post about this place I’m on. It’s a new place. A place I don’t know. That’s exciting, when you’re on the road, here in Vietnam, a home away from home (Cambodia), away from home (??). The most accurate picture of home I guess for me, would be:
Drift and the Nomad was a conversation party that I had once in Copenhagen with two guys who were like, Um. Thanks but. I don’t understand this. What is the point of it?
‘Drifting doesn’t have a point, that is the point.’
‘So you came here from Cambodia?’ (them).
‘To do what?’
‘I don’t understand.’
‘That’s okay. You don’t have to.’
DK’s internet-based conversation in one of our online circles is happening, and it’s about ‘Beauty.’
In our innermost circles of S P A C E we explore together topics like: the Japanese idea of ‘shibui’; everydayness; street museums; simple materials; and, of course, the meaninglessness and absurdity as well as profundity of being-here, itself.
I was listening to this song on a yellow radio that only had a few channels and was super staticky, in a studio in a school in Brooklyn where I was ‘living in New York City once.’ That was 1999.
I was doing some screentprinting. Weirdly, the things that I was making then, on that day, were very similar to what I’m doing today. In S P A C E. Words and images. Poetry. No screenprinting, now, but still. It’s fun to hit ‘print’ sometimes and collage a few zines.
This song came up in a conversation that is going to take shape in ‘Rapprochement.’ Which has everything to do with the things that have to do with angling yourself against your… past…
The story, ‘Rapprochement’ will be shared soon. It’s written by S P A C E contributing writer Michael Tharamangalam.
The race is long. In the end it’s only with yourself…
Today has been a remarkable day. I would say more, but it’s kind of difficult to express a thing when you sense it, deeply, from somewhere that resides well outside of the realms of ‘intellectualizing.’ Verbalization. Articulation. The wordsmiths of our time are equipped with the tools of this trade, trading in ‘ideas.’ I guess I’m kind of one of those people, usually. I’m learning, though. Thanks to the place where I was when covid struck—I’m in… a different world. There are things to say and more to say after those things are said, but beyond everything that is spoken, I think, the learning is this.
Must say more about this. Perhaps in the new LinkedIn group, Papers | Cojournal. If you’re on that platform and you’re reading this blog from time to time and you were curious but not sure how to inquire further or, *gasp!*, take part, well. That’s there.
Disconnexion vis-a-vis Real connexion
Done. With internet. I think. For a while; I go through spells. I go offline. I turn things off. I reboot. I stop talking to people I don’t know and pretend, like I told D. today, that I’m in Sweden. Because in Sweden, you definitely don’t go around striking up random conversations with people. Haha, I see JE laughing out loud reading this if he still follows this blog, from northern Finland. [Yo, I made some amazing sandwiches yesterday. Really good. What you said stuck. I thought of you saying it. Thanks.]
What the hell am I writing about Sweden for, you ask? Well. I have to entertain myself out here in my one-year-and-counting journey of Life in Vietnam without Any Idea of When I am Leaving or to Where and When I Will See Someone Who Actually Knows Me Longer than 6 Months. Which reminds me of… Malmoe. No I did not study abroad there.
I just went there. For no reason other than a deep desire to be very far from everyone I know and to be quietly alone. Often. Daily. If I could get away without uttering a word to anyone, that would be grand altogether, like, to use a West Cork expression. Lived there. Three years. Wrote about it in The Elopement. Man. I met two Irish people here in HCMC and they were both, disappointingly, incredibly… boring. I said so, too. That’s not nice is it. But they were, though. See? This is why I need to pretend I’m in Scandinavia.
I took the picture above in Malmoe. It was at the harbor. I stayed there for a while, just kickin’ it. Took this shot on one of the days towards the end of my time there because… because… you know, I like to wait until I get a feeling for a place before I start photographing it. Which is why I cannot stand those instagram [deleted]… that bug… [deleted].
Of course [deleted]. And of course, therefore, I want to refrain from doing such, because, guess what? Most people have [deleted] that I am interested in. Truly. I’m so, so over [deleted]… in a country that is cold… then there was the sauna. Dead of winter. No better time.
Had a good conversation on the pathway to places today. Now I will think it over. It’s nearing 10pm, the Western Hemisphere is going to work. And I’m going to sleep. Good night, then. Good night from Ho Chi Minh City. Where I am, currently, with, perhaps soon, perhaps later, a different iteration of things to come. Internet things. I think. With the space where we make S P A CE, namely, Atelier S P A C E. Er. Yeah. File under: Book of Feelings. Thanks very much to those in my inner circles who have helped me explore this topic. Deeply, not superficially. You know who you are.
That’s a story for another book, though. Maybe Reality & Trust. Maybe.
Let’s seeeee. ;)