The food scene in Vietnam is its very own unique thing and well worth spending time with, while DK is here. (And… while I am here, I should also learn how to cook, something that I just skipped over most of my life.)… [deleted]… it’s also quite beautiful to discover new things. Which all began, in September 2020, with this:
So yeah. Since getting the chance to see how quickly one can prepare a gorgeous meal, and being the kind of person who loves collages, and so, yeah, why not just try it. Collaging with… ingredients. So, since lockdown started in June of this year, I got more serious about it. And I decided to try my hand at this new adventure, in.. what is this thing!? Cooking.
Getting better. I think. All this is possible in New Cuizines thanks to some new crowdfunding support. Yes. That’s right. Thank you. So I have been reading more and more about… food. Background, you know. Research. For fun, I found some pictures of the things that I see every day and wanted to put them together in a mini-collage below. I found them online, and the artists’ names are below each image, shared with permission. I got them from a website that lets you share images for free, because it was way too hard to ask people who take pictures here to work with me on anything; it’s just too much effort to get in touch and ask people to meet you and talk about things, share, that sort of craic… [deleted]… With whomever shows up. So, I came online again and searched and sorted. Curating things, now, more and more. Lately I found:
I told you about it? About #newcuizines? I’ll be curating here and there some of my favorite food-related [various media pieces] and original stories from the kitchen-atelier of our studio itself. Atelier S P A C E, because. Cooking. Is happening. It has to. There are no take-aways allowed and so, um, you have to prepare things.
I’m glad I have a kitchen, to do that. I’ve made some [deleted]… but these look pretty good…
Yes, you know I am not a foodie. But I do like good food. I mean, eating it. How could I not after three years in the gastronomic paradise of West Cork, Ireland (thank you lads). Well. After all that, I am in Vietnam, one of the most brilliant places to be for food especially if you want to see how creative everything can get with texture, color, composition. Style. I’m enjoying it. Continue reading “I <3 New Cuizines”
Forty-one is more views on that page than for any other portfolio page I’ve ever posted on that platform. And I mean I’ve been kind of ambiently on there since 2017, not really seriously, though, not like now. I guess I just want to show people the context of S P A C E instead of just pointing them to my store. Ha, oh, I just pointed you to my store. Well, it’s a nice little collection, I feel:)…
But back to our story. About connexion, conversation, spacemaking, and now, food.
It’s exciting to me that it’s kind of interactive, too. It’s not just a ‘look at what I did’ thing but a co-created, on the spot, in real time, synched conversation space, too. With those who browse and read all the way through to the ends of paragraphs with links, then click the links, something happens. A conversation. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the entire raison d’être of S P A C E. To connect. To converse. To make that exchange… It’s starting to happen more and more, digitally, now, because… well, you know why. But yeah. Let me reflect now for a moment. On perhaps why the other projects for Atelier S P A C E were less interesting to view.
Maybe the earlier stuff I had posted, for example, stuff like this..
… was too…. er. Abstract? Hm.
[moment of insight slooowwwwlly dawns on DK, as the penny drops]
Wow. Quite possibly, eh.
I can see it now.
I guess I was caught up in the thing itself and forgetting to communicate about it, clearly, but that is natural when a thing is starting and it doesn’t know what it is yet. It rolls along and gathers momentum, rounds up, becomes more wheel-y and not as clunky as a square wheel. Ooh. More abstractness. Sorry, lads.
Let me try to articulate it simply. I guess, I just wanted to do it. Atelier S P A C E popups around the world, to co-create. I did this for a few years. You know, I really did. For 2017-2020 I was very interested in gathering people in remarkable moments for connexion. But I don’t think I knew exactly how to communicate what that looked like, in actual fact. Somehow people meeting and talking together over a meal is easier to digest. Haha, see what I did there, digest.
So let me change gears.
Instead of zines. Something else. Something new.
‘Và có lẽ ta nên dành ít thời giờ ở trường đại học làm đầy đầu óc của học sinh với các nội dung qua các bài giảng, và nhiều thời gian hơn thắp lên sự sáng tạo của họ, sư tưởng tượng và khả năng giải quyết vấn đề của họ bằng cách thật sự nói chuyện với họ.’
‘And maybe we should spend less time at universities filling our students’ minds with content by lecturing at them, and more time igniting their creativity, their imagination and their problem-solving skills by actually talking with them.’
Dipika Kohli put together the essay, ‘A Life That Isn’t Yours,’ in response to the feelings at that time (February 2020, Phnom Penh)… feelings, to be more specific, like wonderment. Why are people so influenced by posts on social media, and why do those ‘other people having so much fun’ trouble them so much? Obviously everyone is faking it. Why get ruffled? Why care?
Such was the reaction, for DK, and this was the impetus for pulling together photography from copyright-free websites and writing the captions to go with them. The result, ‘A Life That Isn’t Yours,’ is below. Reposted today. Originally posted in February 2020.
Dipika Kohli: ‘I will refrain from editorializing it and let you decide how what it means… to you. The role of the artist is not to ‘inform’, but rather, I feel, to respond to the things around us in the everyday, everywhere and give it a form that reminds those of us who are still asking questions, still interested in changing towards improvement, to go, ‘Waitaminut. Let me look a little closer at the things I consider meaningful, to me, and not just told to me.’ Oops. I think I am starting to editorialize. Let me stop here. ‘Kay.’
An online writing-and-design-and-generally-creative circle for community. Ambient community that is. International and asynchronous: ‘Papers.’
Here’s how it works.
How does it work?
No meetings. Just email: asynchronous, international. Four prompts, sent on Mondays at 7AM USEST. Email converstaions follow with your group, in order to develop your ideas, push past the edges of your creative thining, and link you to our international community.
Because we are tired of superficial, inane chatter and want some actual depth, progression and substance in our online converations. That’s why. Four weeks of amazing online conversations with a max of 4 hosted by DK. More than 120 issues of our zine have been created through ongoing conversations with our guests and collaborators.
Writing. Sharing. Making. New stories. Together. In S P A C E.
Relational art or relational aesthetics is a mode or tendency in fine art practice originally observed and highlighted by French art critic Nicolas Bourriaud.Bourriaud defined the approach as “a set of artistic practices which take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than an independent and private space.” The artist can be more accurately viewed as the “catalyst” in relational art, rather than being at the centre.
What ‘Happenings’ are and what Situationism was
American artist Allan Kaprowcoined the term “happenings” in 1959 to refer to ephemeral, somewhat theatrical, but also participatory, art-related events, many of which were conceived in such a way as to be intentionally open-ended, allowing for improvisation. Artists honored this sense of spontaneity by creating rough guidelines, rather than strict rules or scripts, for participants to follow. The particular social contexts/dynamics and groups of participants (which included the audience members) involved in each happening were integral to the form the events took, causing the same performance to develop differently each time it was carried out. The central belief held by artists involved in creating Happenings was that art could be brought into the realm of everyday life.
The Situationists, a group active from 1957 to 1962, were heavily influenced by Marxist theory, which purported that while living under capitalism, individuals experience alienation and social degradation in their daily lives. They were equally informed by Guy Debord‘s theory of “spectacle,” which states that under capitalism, the mediation of social relations occurs primarily through objects. Wanting to offer solutions toward both these concepts, Situational artists focused on creating works that brought people into direct, immediate encounters and experiences with each other.
For example, they used the strategy of détournement (defined as “turning [preexisting] expressions of the capitalist system and its media culture against itself”) to enact “Situationist pranks,” such as distributing misinformation through false broadcasts, pamphlets, and even church sermons. Another strategy used by the Situationists was the “dérive,” defined by Debord “as a mode of experimental behavior linked to the conditions of urban society: a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances.” In other words, a dérive was an unplanned journey, like walking through a city’s streets, during which the individual (referred to by Debord as a “psychogeographer,” and also commonly understood as a sort of “flâneur” or romantic wanderer/stroller) allowed himself to be fully aware of, and engaged with, the surrounding environment. They also organized “situations” which were very similar to “happenings.”
III. Nineteen-Ninety-Eight and Nicolas Bourriaud‘s book
The French curator Nicolas Bourriaud published a book called Relational Aesthetics in 1998 in which he defined the term as:
A set of artistic practices which take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than an independent and private space
He saw artists as facilitators rather than makers and regarded art as information exchanged between the artist and the viewers. The artist, in this sense, gives audiences access to power and the means to change the world.
I just added this to the store. It’s part of the download bundle for the issue we made about Solitude. I’m really happy with that one. It’s probably one of the best ones we’ve made for the Atelier S P A C E } Spring 2021 collection. I’ll also be sharing it in real life today at 3-4.30PM at our first popup show for this year. I’m excited! See you in the spaces and talk to you in the cloud if that’s where we meet. Happy day, after a big rain, not as hot and I think we’re past the heat wave.
Sound. Art. Collage. Thoughtful writings. Most of this work is by Akshay Harake, who answered the question on Quora, ‘I always push people away?’ I edited parts of it and made it into this shortened auto version; but the full text is in our zine, along with other DK-esque curated snippets. The text for this audio is also of course in its original and unedited form, on Quora. Cool. Checkit.
Wondering how we got to making bilingual issues of S P A C E, ever since winding up in Vietnam (long story). Well. It starts simply enough. Shall I tell you? Alright then.
This is how it starts.
I gather my energies and finally get around to making an invitation.
Ready and set.
The next popup? Is on.
Discover Atelier S P A C E
About this Event
A meetup for those interested in new things.
We are Design Kompany, a producer of experiential learning workshops in Asia, Europe, and N. America (usually). Lately we are in Vietnam and collaborating with new people who make things, too. Photographers, designers, illustrators, graphic artists, typographers, digital media specialists, and the very curious are welcome to meet us in real life at this rare poup art installation.
Atelier S P A C E is in HCMC, in District 3. The event will be at a cafe on Ly Van Sy near the big market, by the canal. The exact location will be shared with registered guests *only*. You will receive an email with the meetpoint and a number to connect with in case you get lost.
This is an open format program. The invitation is open. There is a participation fee. Register to confirm your spot. Here’s a link.
In closed threads, behind the scenes, here at DK, I’ve been reporting on the difficulties of trying to do a ‘zine’ here in Vietnam, or anywhere really. Zines are for going against the normal way of everything: they’re not overly designed, or overly polished, and the ideas within at least for me, in my way of making them, are about standing for a thing that you care about. That means having something you really love.
This is the problem: most people don’t know what they really love.
They go around and around and they try to grab at things.
But what about the things they love?
I know this is not a blog about personal development; I’ve longago abandoned that path of ‘motivational speaker’ even though I accidentally did a TEDx talk about how ‘There’s Not That Much Time Left’, back in 2012.
Pretty funny, hindsight, hey.
Here is the video.
Now, if you are reading this, and you have heard me [deleted]… ‘look at me’ generation of selfie-takers and how irritating that is to me, well….. yeah. I did this.
This was 2012, so before the internet got all crazy and the Society of the Spectacle hijacked real life the way it has today. I guess, yeah. It was cool to do it. Show up, as me. Say what I wanted to share.
It helped me reach a few people, connect deeply. That, to me, was always the goal of everything I made. Writing articles for my two newspaper jobs, for example. Or designing things for wonderful clients over the years I was in Seattle, for another example.
I’m coming back to the internet, now.
I’m doing more things online.
If you got the invites from me today, from the platforms, well.
More is on the way.
Hello Latvia. Hello Finland. Hello Ireland, and my friends who hit ‘connect’ in those places. I appreciate that, so much. Also: Cambodia, Australia, Denmark…. Invites have gone around the world. To Germany. To so many people whose paths have crossed with my own.
People who I find highly talented and creative and resourceful and insightful and whose art inspired me and influenced me.
It’s amazing doing this kind of very preferential networking, today. I used to be way different, when I was younger. Anybody was fine, to ‘connect’ with. Not anymore. I’m highly discerning. And I think it’s that thing that helps me know which side of the line I want to categorize an old contact as that makes me who I am. I know what I love.
I love improvising and conversing with people who shine.
They, together, have been my ‘neighborhood,’ a world neighborhood, from whose carefully attended lectureships have taught me a universe of ways of building bridges.
I’m ready to apply now what I have learned from ambling the world, 27 countries, countless hundreds of miles of walking around. I’m not religious, but doesn’t it seem like one hell of a quest? Finding myself, or whatever, isn’t what it was about. It was about. finding… us.
The us that is between us.
‘The It Between I and Thou’
My old friend MA in Seattle had taught me about M. Buber’s idea of this thing, ‘the it between I and thou.’
What’s between you and me is hugely important; it’s a thing. It’s not a thing in capitalist places but here in Vietnam I feel it more deeply each day, the importance of a unity of ‘us.’ A chúng ta kind of vibe, you know? Yes I have to learn Vietnamese. I have to. What the hell else can I do to be understood, and communicate?
Deeply, not superficially.
The following are a few of the S P A C E issues we made at Atelier S P A C E // HCM (HT those many people who generously donated USD$800 to that effort! I’ve updated our crowdfunding page to reflect new goals, for Outer S P A C E).
I want to make an issue of S P A C E available to anyone who wants to read it. It’s just too good not to share. It’s called ‘Humanity’. The author is my good friend Michael Bridgett, Jr. and the photographer is another dear friend, Nils don Sihvola. Both are part of my international community and help me think, write, and most importantly… feel.
Feel my feelings.
Want the issue? Email me.Today I feel free. I’m proud to be back on the internet again. And reconnect with my old colleagues, friends, clients, and associates in a new United States of America. Gosh, you know. There’s so much work to do.
Let’s get started.
One designful moment, at. A. Time.
HT JE, CS. So cool to message today! Surprised? Me, too.
Photo of Dipika Kohli by OMNI Studiophotos, Durham NC 2012
Since 2013, DK has been based in Phnom Penh. Our studio has been commissioned by large NGOs to do things like ‘innovation consulting’ and ‘design thinking’ projects. Clients include the United Nations Development Program, Development Innovations, and CARE International, for example.
I don’t have the low-down on what those things involved, specifically, because my teammate there in that city, Akira Morita, has handled everything for DK in Cambodia. That includes all the deliverables, networking there, and fielding queries so that I can focus on what I’m best at.
Doing things right, versus doing the right things
Namely, researching. Mostly by field testing. By doing things like guessing what I think might work and trying it. Like a chef in the kitchen exploring new recipes, or a jazz musician playing with others who love that music, I like to play with materials and collage stuff. Words and image. Papers. You can see some of that in our new portfolio for Atelier S P A C E, on Behance. (Here’s a link: http://behance.net/dipikakohli.)
But why is this important?
Because we—collective Humanity ‘we’—together need to turn a new page.
Space that is, not just like, overwhelmed by one mode of thought, but is by design made out of multiple angles and perspectives. This is no longer just feelgood politically correct ‘diversity’ stuff. I remember someone telling me straightfaced about an experiment where people were made to sit and talk to ‘a diverse person’. What is a ‘diverse person?’ A person with lots of different things going on inside of them? I mean to this person who told me it just meant, I think, non-white. So yeah. General systemic problem, here. How about this, though. How about finding ways to make better dialogues than just ‘diverse’ and ‘non-diverse’ people talking in pairs? Mmmhmmm. Enter S P A C E.
Doing it well takes some experience with this. Sure. Sure it does. It also takes willful participation (hence our tendency to go for self-selecting things, instead of grant-funded things because those, you know, are [deleted]). More things you need: curation and deliberation and intention-setting and work.
But when you show up, it feels good, and it flows… effortlessly. At least that is what I always hope, when I invite people to be part of the workshops and ateliers and other things that we do, here, behind the scenes. See: http://designkompany.com/create-with-dk
I love S P A C E
S P A C E is fun. S P A C E is light and also self-styled for self-discovery. Where does learning happen? When you find out something that you didn’t know, for yourself, that is true for you. Many artists I know resonate with this because people who make things are dancing in the margins of what ‘society’ says and they also are working out their feelings through their art, I find, too. I’m always happy if someone I discover becomes part of our conversations to the point where I get to ask if they want to co-create with me, in S P A CE. Like my friend Ilyas Kassam. I loved making an issue of S P A C E with him. Here it is, pictured on his website:
I like making this kind of stuff so much.
‘Curiosity is my best friend’
Because it’s curiosity that calls us, to explore S P A C E further. Outwardly. Expansively. S P A C E kind of insists itself into the more socially accepted patterns of ‘doing things like this.’ The status quo needs to be pushed out, challenged. Because… cool stuff can happen… there. That’s what we did, making this issue, pictured above. It was all about expanding our boundaries and using the technologies at hand, too, to make it interesting. He said I had a ‘tech touch.’ I liked that !
That is of a quality that invites, and includes, very new angles, and perspectives.In order to invite the new. Curiosity is my best friend.
Obviously, that runs in contradiction to some of the more rigid, Type A styles of ‘doing business’ in Asia that are, well, let’s be really direct, shall we? More about power games, hierarchy-establishment, manipulation, and power harassment that comes up when you’re highly influenced by a management style that say, is from… well. Lots of places. It’s the norm, isn’t it? Sad.
I quickly exit from any encounter that feels icky in this way; they’re not interested in new thinking, new starts, new angles, and new ways of making because they’re really only interested in shining a light on… themselves. [deleted]
Have you heard this one?’
Some people, to feel taller, cut off the heads of others.’
Jealousies and stuff. Waste. Of. Time.
Those kinds of people get in the way of making cool things. And keep life boring and troublesome, because it’s not about celebrating the best of what each can bring, it’s about squashing actual creativity before it becomes a threat. You know what I mean? Gosh, some of my friends who worked in corporations know, and tell me. I’ve got a lot of friends in corporations, so I hear a lot of stories. Especially now that they’re all coming out of their prime years in their careers and realizing… it wasn’t really worth it. Years older, more tired, less excited, less jazzed.
They look at me and go, ‘What the. How did you…’
Not fall into the trap?
Who. Didn’t. Get it.
That included family members, old ‘friends’, and ex-colleagues who turned out to be sociopaths. Not even kidding.
Life is fun, huh?
I like this jpg:
Colorfully more, and more together
Instead of wasting time with the naysayers, the scapegoaters, the narcissists, the gaslighters, the weirdos, the ones who hate you just because you’re you, and the rest of them who resist actually becoming better versions of themselves because that’s too hard, I just write. Every. Single. Day. I type 103wpm. [Earlier in this post, up above, I linked to this, where you can actually hear me typing, in my Soundcloud called, Hi2.]
I used to write for newspapers, and now I just write S P A C E. I love discovery, and I’ve been discovering a hell of a lot, but it’s kind of nice, sometimes, to put on my old reporter’s hat and look things up and find out more and then, actually, like, write something about it for others to read. So I’ll do that more, this year. After all I have the experience. I was an editor for four years, half that time for a daily in Seattle, and the other half of that time for an alt-weekly in southwest Ireland. These places were where I learned to brainstorm, discover stories, and get fast at writing something that told a story people could learn something from. Now I just add to that, with my own take on things, and my own design style. In S P A C E.
I still do Q&A’s sometimes, too. A few examples are thisandthis. I save the best of them for S P A C E. For our Spring 2021 series on Innovation, or whatever the title becomes closer to then, I’ll expand on some of the past articles, for example:
Opposite of fostering a culture of innovation are things like top-down management style, over directing, not listening to others, and pretending to be a big-shot like you know what you’re doing. You can’t really learn how to open up to new ideas if you’re just trying to validate some broken sense of self. That’s normal, with narcissists, and narcissists drive our capitalist society.
They usually, the ones close to me?, try to take credit for everything I do. Pretty lame. But they try to, and later, I find out, and just kind of, well, chuckle.
Figure out your own stuff, and make it happen, for you.
Join S P A C E
I do that, with my friends, sometimes. Make those kinds of moments possible for self-discovery and exploration.
Or if you want be part of something ‘in the future’, you can make a donation to our projects, and let me know to keep you informed. You can do that by selecting the option that lets you get messages from the fundraiser, that’s me. And you’ll be kept informed of messages from me with exclusives on how to get invited to projects in S P A C E. I’ll only update those who are interested, and indicate such by doing the things I ask you to, in this paragraph. More from there.