Starting next week in S P A C E, we are going to press ‘pause’ for a bit. I’ll be updating some issues like this one, Issue #83 is a re-work of an earlier one about our jaunt to the High Tatras in Slovakia. The Slovakia side of these mountains was much, much more interesting than the Poland side, gotta say. Quieter, more relaxed. I took a lot of pictures. Some of them are in this issue. And a story, too, ‘A Walk in the Sky.’
Meantime, DK is going to be doing some fundraising.
Help us continue the effort to make more and better S P A C E.
Make a donation or check out our’ perks’ at our crowdfunding page.
Here is a link..
After about seven years of not doing any graphic design work-for-hire, something changed.
Someone asked me to make a thing.
I started it, and as I went, I realized, it’s time to bring this service back and offer it again, to those who might run across this site and say, ‘I like that! I want to hire these people. Who are these people, anyway? And what is S P A C E?’
Glad you asked.
We are a team of people who collaborate in the cloud: Dipika Kohli is the creative director. Akira Morita is a cofounder working on design thinking and innovation consulting. Jas Plac does our outreach and communications. And A. Spaice does research & development. These days we make a weekly e-mag, called S P A C E. it’s about design and discovery.
The people we meet in the places where we go (mostly Southeast Asia and Northern Europe, since 2014), share stories, sometimes, and when they get to a place where they feel like they’re becoming something substantial, we shape these into ‘zines.’
They’re 16 pages, each, designed to be read in a single sitting, say over coffee. At times, we make black & white issues so they’re easy on printers, so you can download, print, fold and assemble your own, by adding your own creative flair.
Got into a bit of a discussion about this with someone yesterday who is 24.
This person was highlighting to me his past work, in something that I didn’t find too terribly intriguing but he really wanted to impress me, I guess, so we watched some clips of things that he had produced. I suppose he is an event producer, but not trained or anything, just self-designed. That’s fine, of course. I’m self-designed in design, having studied civil engineering and worked in architecture and journalism. But design is something people just ask me to do.
For example, a friend from that era, VH had asked me to make a senior t-shirt, when we were in high school, because she liked my drawings and comics, and no one else was putting forward an idea, and I was the Vice President of the Student Government at that time, so we put out a call, I think? And I don’t think anyone entered. So I made it. I don’t even know what it looks like now, thinking back, but V. had liked it and was happy. I had done t-shirts for Governor’s School East for my hall, too, and before that a lot of things like program covers and posters through elementary and middle school that had won prizes and stuff, so. I guess. That it was… destiny, haha. Or just… a knack for it. And lots of attentiveness to continuing to do it, not get sidetracked by other things, just doing the drawings when I felt like it. Helped that this was in an era where we didn’t have internet. Nice thinking about the senior t-shirt design, again. That was fun. I was 17.
Depth. I was talking about yesterday’s conversation and somehow got distracted thinking about being 17. It’s kind of related, though, right? I mean, you get good when you practice, but you have to have some kind of latent talent to start getting good, too. And encouragement. Fact. In my case yesterday, I think skipping over ‘talent’ and ‘practice’ and ‘encouragement’ was taken for granted by this young person who saw $$$ ‘I got paid for this’ $$$ as an indication of its having had value.
Not to me.
The thing I saw was just… well. Lacking in substance.
Happens. And more and more these days, when we have substitutes for real life in the form of video streams and chatboxes. What happened? Well, that’s out of scope, here.
My thing is, let’s bring some of the good stuff. Let’s open the doors here at DK again, and show people how they can arrive at… quality. I know how to do this. Why not share. Selectively, of course. Not for everyone.
I have a particular way of deciding if I will care about a project, which has everything to do with the attitude of the person asking me to work with him or her or them. Truth is, if I don’t see much thought in something, I have no interest whatsoever.
Most people I meet on the road I will know for less than three hours. I meet a hell of a lot of people, on the road. Yesterday, I just listened politely, but then, something happened.
Weirdly, it just did…
Sometimes this does this. I went into speechmaking mode.
Perhaps because we had a third guest, join us in the middle. Who. Was. Really. Attentive, and who had gone through my samples of drawings, and poetry and other stuff that I felt like sharing, with great admiration and accolades. Okay, it was flattering, but yeah, he really was curious about me, my work… my thinking. What I’ve been up to here in Vietnam. I have some stuff now that has Vietnamese language translations, too. So you can tell, if you’re the kind of person who can tell, that is.
Maybe there’s not one particular type; but there are a few people… one out of a hundred?, who resonate with DK’s style.
D: The other day, someone asked, What’s your TEDx talk about? I said ‘Death.’ Then he said, ‘Ooh!… Edgy.’ But it was 8 years ago
A: You are. DK is edgy
D: Well, once someone in Seattle said I was popular
A: You are not popular. You are edgy
D: How is this ‘edgy’! I don’t even a phone and I type on zoom chat to you and use email
A: That is edgy
Quality is a vector: it goes up and down
Everyone knows capitalism doesn’t care about quality (or morality, or ethics). It has one thing it cares about.
This—DK—is different. This is a place where we optimize for something else.
I call it…
The level of thinking, the level of work, the level of caring, and something that had… substance… was clear to this third person. Not my companion in the conversation, but the third person. For that guest’s benefit, despite my headache and slight cold and all-day bus ride, and variables that I don’t feel like putting down here, despite it all, there I was, launching, as I do, into… well, S P A C E.
Was kind of fun, actually. HT KEF, who would have enjoyed it, and sat back, I know, smiling knowingly, with the sharp observations of only KEF, which would go, roughly, I think, ‘Just another step in the evolution of DK.’ Since KEF and DK have been acquainted since, and were dear friends for most of the mid-1990s, I can picture it, and I can enjoy the knowing that yes, that’s it. We’re on a new trip, now. All kinds of things are starting up again. But, quietly.
Anything is possible, that was our tagline back in 2004 when we started DK in Seattle from that chic architects’ office sublet. I wonder if AH remembers it. Or EP. I wonder if JK does, or if any of our clients, guests of brown bag lunches like Dream Kitchen, or collaborators for projects who helped with illustration or photography or web dev, or friends, or guests at our parties like Sugar and Dazzle will recall it. The feeling. The feeling of going into the unknown, together, to quest what we may. In a place that goes… there.
Think Sun Ra, for example.
Think… Art, substance, magical potentially… taken together, a little spark… set against the backdrop of Debord’s Society of the Spectacle blandness… what is this? This? This is DK. This is what we do. Discover, design, and outline it: together. Quality.
Need help with a design project ? Get in touch >
I’m just gonna tell you what it was like. Being out here, where I am. Over… lockdown.
Being known to someone and seeing that person or set of people regularly: that’s been absent, these last four months. It’s a curious and intriguing opportunity, though. To find out things, totally solo, with no agenda, no history with anyone, and even kind of forgetting about the old histories. Which is liberating, too.
My balcony hotel room on the fifth floor was a gift, for three solid months. I am lucky. I think my favorite part was the amazing wifi. I also had a view of the sky, and some stars, on the days before rainy season got going in full swing. Part of why I left there, finally. Also, you were allowed to move around again. And so, me being me, I got in a taxi, then a bus, then another bus. [deleted]
The only things missing are the balcony, wine and the pistachios. Also my Zoom kind of broke. A bit of a story, but… I prefer it this way. [deleted] I’m happy writing. And, a lot. And zining, of course. Setting things up for 23 June and 30 June‘s issues. They’re called ‘Continuous Partial’ and ‘Start with Something Simple.’
Also, I was playing new music, while talking to old, old friends on Zoom and asking after them, also just snacking away on pistachios, because these are good. And it felt quite cozy, too, because this reminded me of a different moment, in another hemisphere, and another decade. Seattle. And with pistachios, that time, too. Also, water. I didn’t have wine, then. I was just so happy, that day. Played some of my favorite music, enjoying the simplicity of it. Knowing what feels good, and setting things up. (HT… well, you know who you are… it’s been more than a decade since we met, wow. I suppose that’s how it goes sometimes.)
It was good, then, and it is good, now.
The next things are coming up now. Wineless, pistachio-less, and balcony-less and even kind of zoomlessly… but what that does is… it…
S P A C E.
HT Guests of ‘Papers‘. Thanks for being there and sharing so, so much. I appreciate it! <3
This one is super light, and fun.
It is part of a series of new zines, coming out in June, from S P C.
This one is a chapbook, that is to say, it is Book I of a new, larger work called Finnmark. The author of Finnmark is Dipika Kohli. Finnmark (Kismuth Books / 2020) is inspired by H.C. Andersen’s children’s story The Snow Queen as well as Kohli’s personal visits to Copenhagen in 2007 and 2015, and Rovaniemi in Lapland, 2018.
It is a members-only series. It is part of a set of four. All four S P C issues in the Finnmark series will be available to two sets of people. First, members of S P C. Second, guests of our June edition of ‘Papers’.
For more information about Papers, go here. (Note: link will only be available for a limited time).
Join S P C + get this issue at this link…
S P C | Seattle, ‘R////////////n.’
Here’s a link.
Last few weeks, been offline.
Sometimes it’s nice to just narrow things down, and focus.
A few things. A few people.
Just 4, actually, for this next internet-based virtual installation. Four! Much simpler.
This is the new thing. The Interactive Papers Project. It is set to start 1 May.
As always with me, choosing where to focus, next, and what to make, has taken a bit of time and reflection. Because this time, I added, ‘for whom.’ The answer quite surprised me. Went offline for delving deeper, and came up with some new metrics for S P C, its goals, and the people I feel I most gel with when it comes to co-creating. Like ES said, once, ‘It’s not for everyone.’
Dipika Kohli’s Interactive Papers Project..
Thanks to all who have submitted applications. If you’ve been selected to register, you’ll have been notified by now. To those who’ve already confirmed by registering, check your inbox—just sent you an email.
I’m offline, but this is a scheduled post for 21 April.
Who knows where we will be in that time.
It’s a strange moment, and that’s an understatement!, but I’m visiting with many of my old ‘homes’ through internet calls these days where I am. Still in *Secret Location*. Still… of course, we’re all quarantining at the time of this writing. I won’t be answering emails for a while. I won’t be reading news. I’ll just be writing great chunks, I hope, of a work in progress that has been in my mind and on my heart for… 20 years, yeah. It’s sci fi, so of course I want to get the details right. Plot and stuff. Characters.
For my old acquaintances, high school buddies, college friends, and others I used to work with while living in North Carolina, one of my many, many homes (even if publishers there in Chapel Hill never accepted me as a ‘North Carolina’ writer and editors at the paper in Raleigh never let me publish my stories inside it except once, well, I still think of NC…) And for those there who think of me, I made this issue.
S P C | Durham, ‘Pasteboard.’
Here’s a link.
I have been reading and researching. Not really in a deep way, or anything. Just reading Wikipedia pages about a few concepts that might or might not relate to a new work I’ve been offline to fashion. Out of myriad notes, some of them going all the way back to the time I did a writers’ workshop with my friends at Fish Publishing in Bantry, County Cork, waaaaayyyy back in the days that the Celtic Tiger was still aroar.
Thank you for creating Fish and the workshop, Clem Cairns. Thank you also, Maisie Parker, for encouraging me to apply and to actually go. Was so glad I did. I still remember that. We did a focused 20-minute writing session. I wrote a thing. I still have it. I am using it to craft the new work; ‘Penumbras’ is a section. Maybe.
Writing is all rewriting, they say, but sometimes writing is pushing the envelope so that a thing goes beyond its weak initial first draft and becomes more… developed. I really wish I could spend five hundred hours telling everyone what I feel ‘developed’ means. Work has to go into it. Love. Honesty. So as to arrive at something that has… more… gravitas. Than just a thing you made in 5 minutes or over a weekend or while you were in quarantine. You wrote a book in your week off ? Okay, so?
Meaning. Depth. Artfulness. And more: these things come when you spend time with your writing and your ideas, right? But for me, the work of developing story isn’t something I do alone all day and all night. It’s something I do in collaboration with others; that’s my way. That’s how I roll. Virtual communities that work for me are the ones here in S P C and also Kismuth. There are some great people I’ve met on my very many journeys in life, and now, I’m feeling really good about having the exact set of people in my world that I know will help me become a better storyteller because they know me, my work, and how I relate to them, and theirs.
We’re going to change it up quite a lot around here at DK in the coming months. That’s because we don’t need to do Atelier S P C anymore, nor do we have to invite the new and different to engage with us. We have discovered the new, we have emerged with the different. There is no need to keep making invitations.
A shift of phase
Thank you F, M, C, A, and R, for the recent conversations and exchanges on emails. Good stuff. Going offline again now. But just know that I’m well, here, where I am, and trust that things are good for you whenever this note lands. See you in the cloud.
File under ‘Science Fiction.’
A science fiction short story this week, by Dipika Kohli.
Intermixed with her newest graphic art pieces. Cover by Boss.
Here’s a link..
Bailing out the airline industry???? Are you serious?
I am tired.
Here it is.
Dear Seattle… Reading the news, thinking of you. With a long look from afar (very, very far). It’s been 2004… so, what’s that, 16 years?, since I started this studio in Seattle, out of an apartment in Capitol Hill on a laptop with my best friend, Akira Morita.
I decided to make you guys a mix tape. I’m not sure if the article that made me think up the idea’s worth clicking over to, but a particular paragraph was pretty much me going… “Yup…”’ Here’s the part that’s good: ‘… but Gen Xer’s — the latchkey kids of the ’80s and ’90s — are uniquely qualified for social distancing. In their youth, they spent hours alone in their rooms, watching after-school specials, doing homework, making mixtapes for their friends. To this day, they’re perfectly content holed up at home and finding ways to entertain themselves.’
For those of you who still read this blog, thanks.
I made you this mix tape, ‘Dear Seattle’…
Here it is..
A mix tape.. <3 dipika
safe hands by world health organization’s dr. tedros adhanom ghebreyesus (@DrTedros)
don’t stand so close to me (the police)
look sharp ! (roxette)
posse on broadway (sir mix-a-lot)
yoshimi battles the pink robots (flaming lips)
ghen cô vy with English subtitles (nioeh x khắc hưng x min x erik)
play with me (taylor eigsti)
sleeping in (the postal service)
staring at the sun (simple kid)
safe hands (world health organization)
There are simple things we each must do to protect ourselves from #COVID19, including 👐 washing with🧼 & 💦 or alcohol-based rub… [Note: this is a great video to show you how to do it super correctly!]
— World Health Organization Western Pacific (@WHOWPRO) March 18, 2020
don’t stand so close to me
posse on broadway
yoshimi battles the pink robots
ghen cô vy
play with me
staring at the sun**
**Erm, and about that hat… Yup. I know Shelby NC. HT RJ and AP…