‘Briefly in Sheffield’ | 1999-2015

Redesigning means revisiting some of your favorites ideas.

The story Briefly in Sheffield is one of those, for me. I’m happy whenever people read this zine of ours, in the real life context. I’m happy when they put it down and smile and say, That was a good story.

It’s short and sweet, much like the real life encounter that inspired this short story.

Often I hear, ‘I can really identify with the main character…’

Well, yeah. He’s quite a lark. Which is why I wrote this—so I could share the feeling of meeting and becoming curious about… ZM.

Art for art’s sake

‘Briefly’ is for ZM, one of the first people who challenged me to become fast on my feet in articulating a response, not hefty, when someone asks me something pointedly that I really don’t want to answer. Why that happens, how it rolls from that moment of questing through to the one where you find yourself in an unimaginably close-knit bond, in a short space of time, is the subject and delight of the young love that this story shines a light unabashedly upon.

I finished it in a jiffy, more than a dozen attempts since the late nineteen-nineties, and then, wham. There it was. Typed. Printed. Zined.

Like most situations, the impetus to figure out my way to the feeling came after meeting someone randomly, someone new. Whose shoes, which I remarked upon, and accent, which I remarked upon further, reminded me in every way of Z.

[I will skip the parts that didn’t, like that ridiculous potato-sack hopping thing that a lot of thirtysomethings were doing. I can’t deal with this kind of architecture ‘playfulness’ that this age group have, but whatever. I sat in the corner and mused about Z., watching the grown adults race in bags. But the peanuts. The peanuts were good. That was over Khmer New Year in Phnom Penh, in 2017. A new muse, a new poetry. A new beginning. And a new art.]

Jazzy, this one. With a clear understanding that this kind of thing can happen…

‘Shall we dance?…’

Cue ‘Shall we dance…’

Short stories and fresh writings

And now, here it is, reworked. A new cover design. I’m putting it over at the store for Kismuth.

Lots of reorganizing, around here, these days. Redirections. Reinventions. Sorting out the clutter, getting rid of the dead weight. Thank you most especially to AM, and a few others. Who have helped me very much in recent weeks come to some new understandings and insights; as I hope, I always hope this, I hope I did for them, too. And others, too, of course. Granted. Sure. Not a whole hell of a lot of others, but a handful, to be sure. Acknowledgements. Count.

Who, exactly? Coming soon. I have to write down the next things and then I’ll be able to understand who it is that has been here, with me, in the learning and sharing, int eh connecting and conversing, in the opening up and being around and telling it like it is and not-stopping, even if there’s a little space in the midst… space is natural… but meaning it.

Caring. Showing up. Is huge, for DK. And what we do, here. Making. Making things. Artworks come from this intention… meaning it.

Hugely important. For quality.

In search of Quality

Quality! Is all I really want to make more of, around here. And everywhere. Putting more beauty into the world. Forgetting my platform, there for a bit. Too distracted trying to make meaning with people who don’t know what that even looks like. Letting go. Clean, fresh openings.

Another country, soon. Another round and boisterous new start. I made a new personal website, too. Seeing. How it all feels. Writing and designing and zining and publishing, all in one spot here, was maybe kinda a bit… much. Enter podcasting and more stuff like that and yeah, even I’m kinda dazed. So let me simplify things. Let’s make this page all about the publishing of things. In Kismuth, or in S P A C E. I do like to include people in those conversations that lead to things, like co-created bits and pieces. I’m inviting people to join me, now, but in an invite-only kind of way. If you’re curious, get in touch somehow. We have a million channels.

DK

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’

S P A C E | Malmö, ‘Vakt’

TODAY WE ARE SHARING the last of the 12-week set of zines in the S P A C E | Winter 2018-19 collection, ‘A Philosophy of the Moment.’ This was created with new and different others in our digital zine project, S P A C E. The last zine in this set is S P A C E | Malmö, ‘Vakt.’

A new series, S P A C E | Spring 2019, ‘The Book of New things,’ is set to begin on 5 March. This is thanks to crowdfunding support. No ads. 100% member-supported. No endorsements, no BS. Learn more about S P A C E and how to subscribe, as well as see our schedule of upcoming issues to be co-created in S P A C E through June, at our crowdfunding page, here.

 

S P A C E | Malmö, ‘Vakt’

S P A C E | Malmö, ‘Vakt’

 

‘Trust the process’

Special thanks to Joji Minatogawa, a very creative person and an architect. I just added him to our contact page under ‘mentors,’ after clearing it first with him over the phone. I really am glad we can still call around the world and see what people are up to, and let them know that we are still here, still curious, still interested, and very much appreciative of the old conversations that went places. Because now, together, here we are. Some of us are still at it: asking the big questions. Questing one another, and the ideas that might come out for a very special, very quiet, very intimate sort of dance. Now, learning to quietly add the right bits and take out the wrong ones, until further getting that good stuff, the good stuff that’s left. Refinement. I am noticing, reading, listening, and still curious. Thanks for the conversations so far. It’s getting really good, now.

‘Design is making meaning. Art is making connexion:’ A. Spaice

Feature photo: ‘Internet I Hate You’ popup installation by Dipika Kohli, at Noir Kaffekultur in Malmoe, November 2015

S P A C E | Singapore, ‘The Prospect of Beauty’

 

‘The Third Place’, a zine made at Atelier S P A C E | SG, 2017

S P A C E | Singapore, ‘The Prospect of Beauty’ launches today in S P A C E, our crowdfunded, no-ads, member-supported weekly digital zine. Since we’re almost finished with our first 12-issue set, ‘A Philosophy of the Moment,’ it’s a good time to take a pause and try to grasp what the issues have been about. So far: new photography, new poetry, co-created works with people far and near, and the essay style that sometimes bleeds into metaphysical explorations that we like to do with people we know, and know well, in very small circles. It’s a story that really I could elaborate on, but only if the right moment came up, in the right place and time, and if I felt like it. That’s the mood, generally, with these small issues, too. They’re snapshots: captures, in a way, of the way it felt to be there, then, and with the people who happened to pass through our porous boxes of S P A C E. It’s fun, light, and sometimes revelatory. Because when we make space together, we learn more… about ourselves. Funny how that works. But yeah. I like it. I’ll take it. Next series, S P A C E | Spring, 2019, ‘The Book of New Things,’ is now scheduled and the list of what you can expect to see is at this crowdfunding page.

S P A C E the zine

 

‘What is S P A C E, DK?’

I remember when this was getting going, and people were like, ‘But what IS it?’ And I was like, ‘Who the hell knows at the start of a thing what it’s about? You just have to get a ticket, book that thing, get on the bus, and get going.’

With the help of a stellar and carefully invited editorial and creative team, who co-created with me and through patient meanders into the ‘what it could be’ dimension as well as playful brainstorms in sketches, drafts, and various iterations of a thing that was beginning to become something, a great instance of conception took place. That’s just the creative process, isn’t it? Mucking around until you hit on the ‘a-ha.’ Then, you’re getting started.

Architect friends and I love to talk about this, the charette. Jazzy friends and I share a love for the jam session. Chess players call this ‘the big game.’ Travel companions I spend more time with than others also love the ‘getting lost in order to find center.’ The artist in me loves this exploration and discovery phase. The designer in me is ready to stop that once the concept gets settled, hit the ground, and build a box.

That box is S P A C E.

 

Inside the box

What’s inside is not something that I need to write down and tell people who don’t know me well. It’s just… not that kind of thing. It’s a party, it’s an invited space, it’s warm, and its goal is to welcome and include those who commit to making time and space to show up. This happens. In real life, in small magic moments, in shared online circles of conversations that move, and occasionally, on the spot, when it feels like becoming a thing. S P A C E is a jam session, in a big way, to design the aesthetic moment.

Not for everyone, of course.

But then, so what?

It is what it is. And that’s it.

Atelier S P A C E | Singapore, 2017

‘The Prospect of Beauty’

It’s a very limited edition one, this time. Just for members of S P A C E, and our handful of collaborators in S P A C E, too. This edition was co-created  by BOSS and Dipika Kohli. This issue is made with great care, and it’s dedicated to my father, Ravinder Kohli. It’s a long story, but we put it down in a poem, ‘Bluely,’ which I think says it all.

INSIDE. ‘Bluely’ puts that long-awaited moment of reconnexion into words better than my other written pieces, I feel. It’s a different way of saying the things that I have said to many people across timezones and who hold vastly different worldviews. In sum: doing what you have to do to be true to who you are. Long story. But… maybe there will be resonance. Maybe you will know what I mean, if you’ve ever had to do something very hard, so very hard that it made you turn away from the people you loved, especially the very person who most taught you to do what your heart called you to do, and who, knowingly or un-, had gone on to inspire you to become an artist. Who showed by example that you can’t sit still, because there’s way more out there to look at, explore, experience, and discover. It’s about that capacity to still stay open, despite gaining in years, to choose to still be curious, to continue to self-develop in order to keep learning new things. And to learn to  love learning… And that the going and seeing is a big part of living. And that if you don’t… well.

Singapore, 2014

A NEW ART. Despite the differences, in philosophy and style, and despite five years of stubborn silence, this happened… in Singapore, ‘The Prospect of Beauty.’ Special thanks, too, to the people whose paths we crossed quite by accident, whose counsel and friendly advice then  informed the direction this very special issue of S P A C E then took. I would list them here but that might be a little awkward. Then again, people like being acknowledged, right? Maybe I’ll put them in the zine. People don’t know, sometimes, how much their words can really mean. And like Max Planck said, ‘When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.’

Get ‘The Prospect of Beauty’ when you join us this week in S P A C E.

S P A C E | Helsinki, ‘Coat Check’

A poem, co-created with . Asemic writings. And the lead story, ‘Coat Check,’ inspired by a night of getting lost by design.

Asemic writing is a wordless open semantic form of writing. The word asemic means “having no specific semantic content”, or “without the smallest unit of meaning”. With the non-specificity of asemic writing there comes a vacuum of meaning, which is left for the reader to fill in and interpret. All of this is similar to the way one would deduce meaning from an abstract work of art. Where asemic writing differs from abstract art is in the asemic author’s use of gestural constraint, and the retention of physical characteristics of writing such as lines and symbols. Asemic writing is a hybrid art form that fuses text and image into a unity, and then sets it free to arbitrary subjective interpretations. —Wikipedia on ‘asemic writing’

Get the zine when you subscribe this week to S P A C E. To subscribe, go here.

 

 

 


S P A C E | Helsinki, ‘Coat Check’

S P A C E | Tampere, ‘Miia’

The zine ‘Miia’ is set in Finland’s Tampere. A continuation of earlier writings by Alexis Jokela. Plus, new photography and poetry. This zine is co-created by collaborating teams at DK. Get it on January 1, 2019, when you subscribe to S P A C E. Subscribe here.

S P A C E | Tampere, ‘Miia’

S P A C E | The Book of Slow Moment


S P A C E | The Book of Slow Moment

CURRENTLY WRITING FROM Johor Bahru, in Malaysia. First time.

Never had a reason to stop here but as I’m due in Singapore very soon to host Atelier S P A C E next weekend, figured it was a good time to visit. Why not. Besides, I was getting really tired of being on my own: another first, for me, being fatigued with solo travel. Really strange. I think it has to do with the fact that I’ve only very recently discovered the joy of traveling with friends. I mean, like, for real. Mostly, what is exotic now about movement with people I know already is the conversation that progresses… which is what I miss, right now. Strange, this change.

I had always loved, loved, even lived for, journeying alone. Which is why I went to Finland for three months, to make the pictures in the zine, ‘The Book of Slow Moment,’ which I’ll tell you about shortly. But. But. But. There’s something… changing now… solo travel is different because people are not there to connect, they’re there to stay connected to what they already know and who they already know… which means, they’re closed to you… you are a random intruder into their scrolling. Which means you’re ‘weird,’ for wanting to strike up a conversation with a stranger. Yeah. So what I’m concluding is, and this is really a jolt, is that to them, I’m weird, to these people, who are on the road, supposedly. Not them. (Exception, S. That was cool. Hope you got my msg on instagram. Thanks!)

 

How to find more of us?

In the brute force method of trying to solve a problem, you just keep trying bunches of options until something ‘works.’ What I’m talking about in trying to brute-force finding ‘quality connection,’ is just randomly going around talking to people until, hey!, one or two times out of a hundred, it ‘works!’

SO YEAH. Realized it. I’m just not gonna find the curious people out here, on the road. As easily. People are just bored or stressed, and they want ‘a change.’ Which leaves me wondering, what am I doing here? Looking for the story. But… where is it? You can get lost in the places and you can find the stories, reporter-in-the-field, man-on-the-street interview style, by simply brute-forcing it, but you can also get incredibly bored (like just now. A weird encounter with someone upstairs made me locate to this downstairs, just-by-the-window table, where I feel better because no one is asking a lot of nosy questions about how I’m making a living and why I’m able to do this without having a) won the lottery or b) become a ‘YouTuber’. He said, ‘I’m just curious.’ I said, ‘I have things to do.’) Or maybe I was just getting annoyed because this place was a bit too hip for me (read: ‘pretentious’) and, while the coffee was indeed excellent, didn’t really do it for me, designwise. Too much clutter. Too much ‘interesting’. Too instagram-oriented. Too… overdone. Who was this for? What was its objective? The space, I mean. Was it for me? No. It was for the people who want to journey from afar to take a picture of themselves sprawled on the bed upstairs. Yes. Bed.

Too much.

Just… stop.

I’m a snob, right? Oh, well. Owning it.

Make it… a cafe, if it’s a cafe. (Weirdly, there was a sign on the way to that room that says model photography is not allowed. But of course people were there to take pix of themselves. There. In the cafe. The one with a bed.)

Will I be back there?

No.

Why?

Just. No.

 

Choosing when to engage

HARRUMPH. Well, that’s just me being me. Not wanting to engage when I just really don’t want to. Leaving and moving forward when something irritates. The wrong mood, the wrong phrase, the not-quite-interesting direction a conversation takes because that’s the slipperiest-and-least-awkward-supposedly, and doesn’t get hot with the friction of the right sort of conflict; not philosophies of how one gets on in a capitalist world but how one examines and explores life.

Need. To. Keep. Moving. To find more of us. You need to have real curiosity (and social grace, right?) if you want to be able to move towards the good stuff. I mean, really. Be good at conversations and things will emerge. For example, the whole thing I wrote above about getting annoyed and leaving abruptly contrasts very markedly to the other conversations I’ve had in recent days (Phnom Penh, Ipoh): contrast the above awkward moment to the chance encounters and story-relating with O. and N. Where there was an actual interest in one another’s histories, curiosity about one another’s pasts, real eye contact, even hugs and goodbye notes. And not a lot of boring (and I mean it in both senses of the word: boring into one’s personal life by asking protruding questions is just as –or more?–tiresome as a long conversation with someone dull).

Many times I have wondered about Johor–or JB. Writing it down. Writing about whom I meet that is actually interesting. Looking for the story; staying open. Giving myself five days.

 

Working on stuff

Testing out some photos for ‘The Book of Slow Moment’, a set of images DK gathered over June, July and August in northern Finland.

MEANTIME. THIS WEEK IN S P A C E, DK are publishing ‘The Book of Slow Moment.’ It had originally been put together as a photozine in black-and-white for a very (very) small set of people. Small circles. Keeps it interesting. But there was such a great response, I figured it might be a good time to share it again, with members of a slightly larger circle. The circle of S P A C E. Today, I’m sharing ‘The Book of Slow Moment’ again. This time, in color. Enjoying solitude and offline time for the last few weeks here in rural Malaysia, I’ve added a new set of words.

Sharing in the exclusive community that’s coming into shape: you know who you are. And thank you for supporting this work to go and find the stories that don’t get told, the ones about real people, who are young and curious or older and wiser, who are of the kind of mindsets that aren’t popular with the people who decide what goes into the press, with the people who are asking new questions and sending you amazing life tips and opening their hearts. It takes time to discover more of us, but I’m definitely gonna keep going, questing, asking questions, to connect and interconnect us. One. Designful. Moment. At a time.

This post is for C. Thanks for sharing your story with me, you really made my day. Good luck with the songwriting. And send me stuff, if you want. 🙂


S P A C E | The Book of Slow Moment