I was taken on a journey that transported me out of Vietnam, but also, outside of all the usual boxes that you can find even when you leave the nation-border box. (HT Jiddu Krishnamurthi) For example, the strict thinking that keeps us from trying new things. All the feelings that I have been having here in Vietnam on my own, for a year, unable to articulate because of English I got to completely open up and share. That was amazing, and I got to hear, moreover, something in exchange. These exchanges are what I enjoy most about making S P A C E. They—the exchanges—are, after all, the whole point of it. And fun. ‘If it’s not fun’, as Boss says, ‘then there’s no point doing it.’ Thanks to conversations with MB this year, though I am coming out of the cave. It’s nice outside. Sunny.
Things are going on. Behind the scenes. In protected pages.
Today we start the new Cojournal circles, in our 4-person-and-fewer combinations that make things cozy and nice. I don’t like large groups of people. As host, I prefer this. Small. Correspondingly, we tend to get more familiar with one another as we go, with time, in these designed-to-be-simple-and-easygoing programs.
Workshop-style, but not with that kind of hoity toity. You know? Just… talking.
Creating space to talk.
As F. said once, ‘World. Needs. More of this.’ [F, thanks for encouraging me.]
One of the awesome things about not having a boss or employees means I get to do whatever the hell I want with DK. So I’m gonna do this. Streamline a little.
I decided to make this year’s Cojournal a short-run thing, just 12 weeks. By summer we can all move on too other projects without [deleted] Which isn’t a problem I’m here to solve, for anyone. I’m here to show up for the handful (about 1%) of people who are already tuned in to this channel. S P A C E quests S P A C E.
90% of it is showing up
Like I said, with N, on a wonderful sunset-watching afternoon this past week. It’s Lunar New Year here in Vietnam, so we have time to finally talk together in person and see each other after a busy set of things. Things that, sometimes, people find out, are actually not things that actually matter ot them, but that’s a different story. Many thanks, N., if you’re reading, for having been reading all this time. Was great. To hear. Your response to all of the last two years’ worth of… stuff. What I said, please don’t forget it. I’ve been thinking about that message, the upshot being, something along hte lines of… Don’t let them use you. Make sure they pay you enough. Know your value. And then: ask for what you want.
Journaling. All’s set. We started today and I’m jazzed about that, and one group is talking in LinkedIn ‘group chat’, another is in Dropbox Papers, and still yet another is in… well, to be determined, as we are working on what works out for all. It might be in real life, since some of us are in the same city. I like it when we get to do these real life ‘Third Space’ things together and I love it when it gets… deep.
Realizing that there are more people out there who want to write with me, and those of us who write together in S P A C E. There are steps to get published in S P A C E, because the process is more important to me, as a publisher, than the ‘output.’ It’s not like we’re rolling in it because of e-mag sales, whoever thinks that, is just… out of touch with realities of indie publishing.
I don’t know. It’s just for fun.
What’s the point if it isn’t.
Stay safe wherever you are when this note lands. I’m well and dazzlingly content, today, from my nest in Ho Chi Minh.
See what I did there?
HT friends of Papers. Thanks for helping me get to this place of seeing it, seeing it, not just living in a fog.
[deleted]… and why do they do that? Seriously, why? I’ve thought about this. In the era of hijacked reality by the fakers, it’s easier to pretend to be someone *amazing* than it is to… actually *be* amazing. Which means, be who you really are.
Always listening, questioning..
New angles, new perspectives, new thinking could be found in the places where normally you don’t read about, or go. Like Latvia, or something like that, you know Northern Finland. Or Vietnam, where I am writing from. The next issue of S P A C E (pictured above) will tell you what I found out on my personal journeys in 2018, 2019, and 2020 in those countries talking my way around the world. And I’ll interweave them, in a short dialogue about… conversations with neighbors.
Yeah. Because, well. I talk to everyone. Ysually it’s really boring and I get sleepy. But sometimes… something happens, and you hear a magic quote.
Listening out for this is my gig.
Sure, it’s taken years to find out how to do that. Four years in newspapers, for example, and bunches of listening to many people I meet. This kind of striking-up of conversations takes practice of its own kind. I’m not always into the idea, but sometimes I do it. I met two people like that today (HT A. and T.. have fun on that trip!) And… caring about that effort that goes into you know, what we used to do, writers, field reporting. You go there. You look. You listen. Then you start to write down what you read, feel, hear, and see. Photos, and writings, and more. Seeing seeing. With time. Going slowly. Next stop for me? Dunno. Maybe Hanoi, again. Maybe somewhere new.
Around the turn of 2019 into 2020, I was in Malaysia. I was debating where to go next. Then I moved back to Cambodia. Lots happened and I’m in Vietnam now. I’ve had some time. Time to call up from the old archives some mind maps and other things about ‘what is S P A C E.’ Mostly it’s about doing what feels like the right thing to be doing; wherever I am, at that moment.
Sometimes it’s Soundcloud: I made this thing, ‘Hi2’, at that time, while parked for a moment in Kuala Lumpur. In that city’s borrowed apartment, one of just a dozen or more in the years I’ve been in southeast Asia, I closed my door and typed, real fast. And thought about what I wanted to do, with S P A C E. Who did I want to meet?
Here’s a quick update with some more information that we gathered via email in a conversation with Beck, one of the three coordinators of the Festival of the Photocopier. The three coordinators and twelve volunteers together make this program. Beck told us about the history with the festival and the way it grew. ‘I started visiting Sticky in high school, back in 2002, and when I hit university there was an opening in the volunteer line-up, so I’ve been with Sticky for about 12 years, since 2008!’
New opportunities in a virtual setting..
A. Spaice talks with Beck, one of the organizers of Sticky Institute’s Festival of the Photocopier..
A. Spaice: What’s cool about the festival, to you?
Beck: The cool thing about FotP is that the growth has been very organic. Every year we offer the same thing – a free table to sell your zines on – and people come and they sell their zines and make some friends and have a nice time. So the next year when the fair rolls around again, those seasoned individuals want to come back which means we have to add on some new tables for people who have never been a part of the fair before. The community has really made the event what it is, 2020 was our 10th FotP, if no one wanted to come to the zine fair it wouldn’t be a two-day event held across two huge rooms. 2021 FotP will be our first online zine fair so it will be a different kind of fair, but we’re hoping people are as into it as the IRL fair.
A. Spaice: Any opportunities you foresee?
Beck: I think being able to open up the fair to zinesters globally, in a realistic way, has been a really nice side-effect. Normally we’re happy to take applications from people from outside of Melbourne if they’re happy to travel, but travelling from Adelaide or Perth to Melbourne is way more affordable than traveling from New Zealand or Japan.
The further away you are from Melbourne the more expensive that trip gets, so it’s unrealistic to expect people to spend thousands of dollars to attend a two-day event to sell a $2 zine. If they want to, and can afford to make that trip, then we’re extremely happy to have them, but it’s not feasible for a lot of people.
We’re seeing a couple of names we don’t recognise submit applications, so I think we might be getting a few more international entries.
A. Spaice: Yes! That was our situation, exactly! When we applied from Cambodia. I seriously thought about going there [in February 2020] but ike you said, a $2 zine doesn’t cover the cost of flights, and staying there.
Beck: We were glad to hear that you were able to find someone to table for you…! But yeah, we totally get the financial side of it. We get invites from interstate fairs and often it’s a matter of who is available to go and also can afford to? We’re all really aware that you aren’t really making money with zines, you make zines for the love of it, not to turn a huge profit.
So sometimes you can make a go of an out of town zine fair and sometimes you can’t, the good news for Australians is that there are more and more zine fairs popping up all over.
A. Spaice: And… Covid?
Beck: There was no resistance to making the FotP digital in 2021 because of the pandemic situation. As I’m sure you would have seen in the news, Melbourne has been through a pretty intense lockdown this year because of COVID-19, so for us it wasn’t really something that needed to be debated.
Our top priority is the health and safety of our community, so moving the fair online seemed like the best way to keep FotP alive and not have to cancel it or push it back to an undetermined point in the future.
Moving the fair online will also make it more accessible to people who might not have been able to make it down to the physical fair, so in a way it’s allowed us to open up applications to people= who wouldn’t otherwise have been able to participate.
We start planning FotP around September normally, so this year we were doing that while we were still in the hard lockdown here in Melbourne.
With the way things were changing for us at that time, we weren’t sure if we could legally have a 500-person indoor event in February. Even if we could have it, we didn’t know if our state borders would be open, or if the transmission in the community would still be in such a way that no one would want to risk the chance of exposure to come. The good news is that the lockdown worked and Melbourne is well on the way back to regular programming. But we know this isn’t the case everywhere, and that we could hit a third wave and go back into heavy restrictions if something were to go wrong.
It also means that people with physical or health restrictions are able to attend as well as people who are located interstate or overseas who can’t travel.
FotP is the largest zine fair in the southern hemisphere, and while it’s always free to table at the fair we know that if you’re traveling to Melbourne you’ve got those associated costs to cover while you’re in town. fotp.online is removing those costs for a lot of people so they can attend without having to worry about travel and accommodation and everything that goes with it.
Success, for us, would be to see people excited about the digital fair, come to the virtual events we have planned, and return to the site throughout the year to keep checking back in on artists they were interested in!
A. Spaice: Does it cost ?
Beck: The online nature of the event means that it’s literally cost-free for people to sign up from other locations now, so we’re hoping to see a few applications from people a little further out than usual.
A. Spaice: Thank you for the time you’ve taken to help us learn more. Is there anything else you’d like to add before we close?
Beck: How do we pay for the fair? We get funding from the City of Melbourne! We were just approved for a two year grant, starting 2021, via the City of Melbourne’s Arts Creative Investment Partnerships so we are both appreciative and grateful to them for their support of us and zine culture!!
A. Spaice: Great! Thanks !!
A virtual zine fair..
We just got this really cool piece of news. The Festival of the Photocopier, which is run by the Melbourne group Sticky Institute, will be online in 2021.
Now, we just learned, Festival of the Photocopier 2021, will be virtual.
So I wanted to let you know about this, because anyone anywhere can join for next time. Very excited about this.
I just submitted my application–sent!
Here’s my idea, for if we are accepted. I am going to angle the next few issues of S P A C E’s December collection, ‘Trust’, to an international audience. Of course they will be co-created with our friends and guests in Atelier S P A C E popups here in HCMC, so look out for some cool new bilingual issues to share in real life here, and also, hopefully, on the virtual international stage at FOTP 2021.
So, our agenda for December is this..
Discover new voices here in Vietnam to make S P A C E with
Design and publish 4 new issues of S P A C E in Vietnamese & English
Tell the world about our S P A C E programs in Vietnam if we get selected to participate in Festival of the Photocopier in 2021’s virtual event
On the same day as the festival, we’ll host a real life event. A reading. It will be from the issues we make here in HCMC this month. We’ll have an Atelier S P A C E // HCMC launch party. It’ll be a chance to share our printed zines with the friends here who are creative, imaginative, able to think out of the box, and ready to try new things who have helped us so far to make some cool and fun issues already. I have a good feeling about the series to come.
I’m excited about the potential to launch the Atelier S P A C E // HCMC creations at the Festival of the Photocopier in Melbourne next year. Hopefully we’ll get ‘in’ and get to put on a great exhibit for people to see just how unique a hyperlocal perspective on ‘art from Vietnam’ can really look. [Aside: Ask us about ‘decolonization sometime!’. No, wait, ask AD! A zine about that, being art directed by AD, a member of ‘Papers‘.]
Here is a pic of our Phnom Penh reading from issues of S P A C E. I hosted this on the same day as our debut at the Festival of the Photocopier 2020:
And here’s the bit about how you can apply to be in the Festival of the Photocopier in 2021…..
If you make zines
Apply for the Festival of the Photocopier! It’s free to apply, so I just wanted to share this with those out there who might be wondering if they qualify. If you make zines, you qualify, is my understanding. Here, I’ll just paste in what I got in the email from Sticky Institute earlier this week…
Our digital fair will be hosted at http://www.fotp.online and applications are currently open for stallholders … facilitated by Sticky Institute!!!
As this is a digital fair, applications are open to zinesters located anywhere in the world. If you have a pen pal located outside of Australia, feel free to forward them the link so they can apply! There is no cost to have a digital stall on fotp.online and the website will be live for at least a year.
This has been a bit of a spiel but we’d really love for you to check out fotp.online and submit an application to be a stallholder or join FotP-Swap!. Applications will close on the 10th of January, 2021 and we don’t want anyone to miss out!
We know this is going to be a very different kind of zine fair but we’re hoping you’ll be there with us, on the other side of the screen!
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I am revisiting our digital archives, and curating new issues of S P A C E, this autumn. This, in parallel with Atelier S P A C E // HCMC, in which we also start our art books in real life installations and popup workshops, in Ho Chi Minh City.
‘Let’s just start’
Lots to see. Lots to make. Lots to discover.
But the drive to make our work is always the same…
Let’s just see what happens.
This week, ladies and gentlemen, I give you, S P A C E | Shirahama, ‘Let’s Go Somewhere’
Georgina Quach writes: ’[Filmmaker] Hong Khaou’s thoughtful drama Monsoon speaks to those of us who have lost our political origins and geographic home, but are now finding homes of our own creation… [It reveals] how home is found in all kinds of spaces; in food, love, place, memory, song and family. Returning to the site of your childhood can release a complex barrage of emotions…’
Atelier S P A C E // HCMC is an Autumn 2020 project of DK’s that is co-created by photographer Van Tran and DK Creative Director Dipika Kohli.
‘Studio Day’ by Van Tran / Ho Chi Minh City, Oct. 2020
.. this page used to be a notebook for a grant application that I was going to apply for…
There are so many important questions that pop up when someone who knows how to ask you if the thing you’re making is deserving of wider attention can ask.
Atelier S P A C E // HCMC’s collaborating team is loose and changes, and the people who come bring what they like to the tables. We started to share more there about ideas, mostly philosophical things related to space, time, distance. A-ha!, that’s it. Questing.