See our crowdfunding page for details.
For this issue, DK’s creative director Dipika Kohli worked with A. Spaice and our newly budding creative team in Penang, Malaysia, in November, 2019.
Wrapping a year’s worth of reflections on the idea of growth, change, seedlings and new beginnings, it is a soft version of something that heretofore in our magazine has been rather geometric and angular, in style and attitude. Yet time and sharing, more and more, has opened us up a little more to ourselves, and to a very small section of our innermost hearts.
There, in the quietest places, something new is aloft. Seeds, seedlings and search for new grounds, fallow periods and more make their way into these pages, indirectly and perhaps abstractly, but with, we hope, a feeling that gives itself rather than asks you to pay attention to it.
Here’s a link:
DK wrote a very short new play, which is is in today’s release of, Issue #45, S P A C E | Vilnius, ‘Partial Differential Equations.’
It has a title that looks like this:
Innovations in the form
Writing lately on a particular topic, namely, ‘Trust the Process.’
It’s about how to find our way to more of the variety of philosophy that doesn’t get caught up in itself and make knots, but rather, smooths things in a way that lets us all have more fun. Together.
All the conversations so far have led to this, Issue #45:
S P A C E | Vilnius, ‘Partial Differential Equations.’
Here it is.
Order S P A C E | Vilnius, ‘Partial Differential Equations’…
Just posted this call for interest and shared it around, a bit. Bangkok will be our first stop to discover new creative people. Looking for new voices to bring into our e-mag, S P A C E. Read below to learn about our philosophy and approach to discovering and building relationships with people who have a story to tell. Check out our instagram and follow the story to date. Get in touch with us through the form at our contact page if you want to reach out, and ask questions. Don’t be shy! We’re here to learn, listen, and connect. Thanks ! —A. Spaice
Let’s make space for real life.
RETURNING TO THAILAND to gather: artists, photographers, illustrators, designers, poets, writers, and conversationalists for a brief salon, ‘S P A C E | Bangkok.’
We are looking for new voices to bring into our weekly e-mag, S P A C E, in 2020. Do you have a story to tell?
For us, the process to discover those whose stories are under-represented in mainstream media begins 6 months before publishing new writers. This is because it takes time to build rapport, trust, and gather the momentum to put together something of a quality that meets our standards.
After taking a break from design to focus on consulting projects 2014-2019, DK are returning to the studio style of gathering people and developing themes, to unearth fresh concepts. To do this, we have opened a new wing of DK, a publishing arm, which we call Atelier S P A C E.
In the past, we would work with people who were in the process of discovering their own concept of self, and working with us for a brief time (as clients, DK interns, part-time staff at DK, and occasionally, creative collaborators). Together, we would make short, packed, once-off pieces. You can find many of them in Seattle. Looking ahead, in 2020, we’ll make new and different things. Perhaps short anthologies, or, if things continue with our weekly e-mag, then we’ll carry on with those. Let’s see. See our crowdfunding page to learn more about S P A C E.
S P A C E | Bangkok is free for members of S P A C E.
Min 4, max 8.
Participation fee is USD 16.
Register before 1 June to confirm your spot.
I had written ‘Just Being Honest’ for a year or so for Saathee when I had first gotten going on the road, in 2013, then took a break to write Breakfast in Cambodia which came out of those columns and another one, ‘The Village Report,’ that ran for two years under different editors at Seattle’s Northwest Asian Weekly. Subsequently, I got the idea in my head to do other things like conversation salons that led to things and people and smart, cool moments that reminded me the poetry of writing isn’t in the shaping of words and sentences, but in the connexion that comes of the spontaneous interactions that come up out of nowhere when you just make yourself open to receive them.
Such thinking opens worlds of doors. And luckily, I got to examine a few of them.
That made me do the next thing. Work with a very small team of people who helped me understand this better, clarify it, (thank you!), and then conceptualize the making of our mini-mag, S P A C E. Couldn’t have done this without the new inputs from people I have met since leaving the United States, and discovered on the road, but also, in Cambodia, and learned to be a part of conversations that are longitudinal, carry more weight with the history and time that gives and gives, reminding us that we are not alone but a part of something bigger, after all, even if the struggle to define that exactly becomes unwieldy and eventually falls into a thing that I now understand is ‘post post modernism,’ ie the tossing of definitions themselves, altogether. This is coming into focus for me, in yet another new place, another new country: Latvia. More about that for the next column, of course.
POLITICS x ART. I was going to write more here about how there are political events that are happening right now that are disturbing and upsetting, especially in countries that don’t even care about human rights (including my own country of birth). But I realize that I’m not informed enough to be able to comment on those things. Still, the state of the world and the oppression of voices of illuminating people who could be the ones who bring humanity towards a better, more equal place is upsetting to me, as it might be to many others who are, at heart, poets. I’m writing from a wild, wacky place right now in Latvia that’s fancy and has ‘Poet’ in its title, like for real. Where, there is one very chatty person who has been asking me a torrent of questions about why I write, how I decided to be a poet (does one decide?), whether I believe in knowledge (nope), what I think about my home country (which is where, again?) and what I might do to sell my books (‘I don’t sell’). Ask me about the boiled egg. It’s too funny.
Funny things are going on, around me, left and right, and reminding me of the absurd that I clung to for so long in my writing, and comics-making, at some point, during the late 2000s when I wanted to try my hand at ‘visual artist’ as, say, a job title. That was short-lived, soon as I found out that the reception for the art show, where people met one another in real life because there I was hosting the show and people were there because of the show, but for me, what I found out, for example at the reception for Today I Love You (2012, was it?) and later, the launch party for Breakfast in Cambodia (2016), it was the mix that was most intriguing to me. Real life. The stage of being there,e together, in a framed moment… a box, kind of, a box of ‘where’ and ‘when’…
Which was how I hit on the idea of framing the moments, altogether discarding the art show, the books, etc. Let’s have parties. Let’s call them S P A C E.
Hosting one tonight, in Latvia.
Here we go.
Off to the new chapters, discovering and running into the next.
War, climate, politics, fear mongering… these things are there. News is bad, people don’t care about each other, the modern world is one of disparity and ennui and disruption of the harmony that can come when we are able to enjoy each other’s differences, instead of parrying one another for no reason other than to fill a void, internally, that could have been prevented if we had had better parenting. Societies begin there, right? Good parenting. And here I am, opining. I don’t mean to do this, really.
But really. I can go on and on and on…
But I’ll spare you.
To the work of making art, which is the only thing, I think, that a poetically inclined person can do in this era to stay sane…
Atelier S P A C E is a two-year roving popup zinemaking atelier. It’s a project of the boutique studio, Design Kompany (started in 2004 in Seattle – presently based in Phnom Penh). On the road since Sept. 2017 from: Battambang, Cambodia, Atelier S P A C E co-creates a weekly zine. This is done with people DK discovers on the spot, in the locations where the popup zinemaking workshops go. DK invite others to co-create the zines. So far, some of the places we’ve been to make zines with others in this way are: Sheffield, Helsinki, Hanoi, Berlin, Seattle, Kuala Lumpur, and Phnom Penh. Stop by. See what’s up. Be a part of the experience at Atelier S P A C E, where some of us will be on hand to write, print, collage and sew with some of you a fresh zine, to be made on the spot: S P A C E | Tokyo, ‘Osananajimi’. Learn more about DK’s Atelier S P A C E and couture zines at instagram.
S P A C E | Tokyo will be a ‘yomikai’ get-together for those who want to read what we create, together, at Atelier S P A C E | Tokyo.
Request more info about either event…
IT IS FORTY past five. I’m in Hanoi. The time is good to pause and write. ‘Trust the process’ I tell all our clients and the people who are signing up now, in a more personal way, to get ‘in’ on things we do around here behind the scenes. It’s not for everyone but it’s a lot of fun. I’m good. I’m well, actually, really well. Caffeinated, happy. Put the finishing touches on a piece of writing that has been in the works for two years. I know. THat’s a lot. sometimes you write real fast and publish (blogging, for ex, like this), and sometimes you stay with the story until it feels right enough, more or less, and wait for that magic to happen that says, ‘This. Is the kernel of it.’ Hemingway said to write true sentences, and to Fitzgerald he said to write a story based on a true sentence. As in, one true sentence to hinge the story around. BOSS and DK were reading ‘A Moveable Feast‘ and then DK fell kind of ill and had to lie in bed and was worried about dying and then BOSS said you’re fine and DK joked that this was like that scene in AMF, and you should call reception and ask for a thermometer. And then, no no, you should go down to the lobby and ask because probably over the phone ‘thermometer’ wouldn’t communicate—it’s not obviously a thing people ask for from the fifth floor, is it now. Then they laughed and rested and BOSS gave DK a lot of water (six glasses. Dehydration), and things were fine in the AM after quite a number of minutes of good rest. Rest can really help with so many things. And water. I guess this has nothing to do with Hanoi, or the process. Damn. I guess I’ll just get back to the story-writing, and story-finishing, so that I can share it in real life, here in HN, this Thursday. The true sentence, by the way!, is this: ‘No one really knows anything, for sure.’
Side note: if you are in North Carolina, keep up with the journeys of DK when you read ‘Kismuth & The Way’ each month in Saathee Magazine. They’re out of Charlotte–this time I’ll write about HN. HT: Samir Shukla & Jade Hotel Huế
Feature photo: Hanoi by DK, 2017
Tuesday in S P A C E we publish the zine, S P A C E | Đà Lạt, ‘In the flowers’. This was a co-creation between Dipika Kohli and BOSS in January 2019. (So yes! Quite recently… just a few short weeks ago.) Something about making them up as we go, publishing while still in the vicinities that have inspired them, is a lot of fun. The energy is good. Momentum, too. We’re jazzed to open a new chapter in S P A C E, Spring 2019, ‘The Book of New Things.’ The title came from a very intriguing and cool, unexpected series of events that led to an unusual place, which is how all beautiful beginnings begin. Surprising new departures. More about S P A C E | Đà Lạt, ‘In the flowers‘.
Order S P A C E | Đà Lạt…
BOSS is reading Sherlock Holmes. (I’ve never read it). BOSS has read ‘The Merchant of Venice’ and a number of other Shakespeare pieces*, which he remarks upon from time to time, saying random things like, ‘That’s just blank verse.’ I, for my part, am amused and bewildered that someone with his capacity for ingesting volumes at a time of words should be my partner in ateliers on the road, here, while I am in Việt Nam. Yes, those are the accurate feelings. Wildly curious, and like a leaf that’s fallen in autumn without any idea of how it got there. (Hat tip, S P A C E guests who might have seen that page in ‘Vakt.’)
*BOSS: ‘Isn’t it Shakespearean?’
Look: making things that people want to read is not easy. making things that are artful is not marketable. But why not keep going? The road is where we are, at the moment. Hanoi. Then Tokyo. Then, ?, and ?, and ?, and then Riga. To connect. Together, in S P A C E. Designing and discovering, but learning in the short stops and the long spans in the moments of *a-ha*. He who doesn’t love the creative process will not engage with us, to be sure. But if you read and detect and find the clues, which don’t show up by stumbling upon them by chance, as BOSS says, but by reasoning your way towards the things that make themselves line up in a way that says, ‘There! That is the direction to go!’ then yeah. Look for more from us.
‘Thwarted by a woman’
BOSS: ‘The reason I like The Scandal of Bohemia better is because he was thwarted.’
Me: ‘Who’s he? Whose plans?’
BOSS: ‘Sherlock. Holmes’.’
BOSS: ‘Because his plans were… thwarted by a woman.’
..And that was how a great scandal threatened to affect the Kingdom of Bohemia, and how the best plans of Mr. Sherlock Holmes were beaten by a woman’s wit. He used to make merry over the cleverness of women but I have not heard him do it of late. And when he speaks of Irene Adler or when he refers to her photograph, it is always under the honorable title of the woman. —‘The Scandal of Bohemia,’ in The Best of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Wordsworth Classics: London, 1925)
For the spring of 2019, DK and friends are co-creating the zine series, ‘The Book of New Things.’ Everything that we made so far in S P A C E has been a collaboration with people who have *shown up* for: events, ateliers, online programmes, and conversation parties—for at least two years. It takes time to develop. To progress. To build trust, rapport, and find continuity in a theme and give it enough space to grow. We learned through trial and error about this, because sometimes things go really well (but that’s just 1% of the time). And by ‘really well’ we have a pretty high bar: you have to be able to feel great about the collaboration, which means, being able to trust each other and say ‘this isn’t working, let’s improve it?’ and not worry if that means they’re going to get annoyed, offended, cry, spit at us, or go away. But of course those things happen too. Including spitting. Yes. Sometimes people just really don’t like it that you are doing your own thing, impolitely going against the grain and bucking the status quo. They really have a problem with that: and you know what? It’s not our problem. Frankly, it’s, well…it’s drag. In basic high school physics we learn about the coefficient of friction. Kinetic friction, static friction, whatever it is, it’s friction. And drag. Letting go is a thing. Letting. Go.
Lighter load, quicker step
ATTENTIVENESS. With this attitude, especially of late, I have personally lost a number of acquaintances and ex-friends along this journey: mostly due to a lack of alignment in vision. We are seeking S P A C E and quality, connexion and meaning-making, discovery and much, much more–see the ‘why’ in the outline below. But sometimes you have to let go of things in order to invite the new and next. FOMO has an opposite: I will be sharing about that, when up to 16 guests will join us, for the orientation session for ‘The Book of New Things.’ Starts 5 March. Read more about how to get started.
‘Let’s make something’
S P A C E MAKERS. Some of the people we co-created with to make Atelier S P A C E and the 12-set zine collection ‘A Philosophy of the Moment’ are acknowledged on our contact page. Many special thanks also to all of our fiscal supporters, whose names are at our crowdfunding page. To KIT with DK about co-publishing books, join this mailing list for a short overview of what’s coming up this year.
MOVEMENT. New and different. Fresh and original input. Wide perspectives. As DK continue to find out more about new places, new people, and unearth as best we can the very stories that connect us all, we are ready to invite new guests to join in the co-creation journey. But… one step at a time. This is why we’re starting to invite new and different others to connect with us in a meaningful way, and this new project is a light first step towards doing that. It’s called ‘The Book of New Things.’
Here’s how it works.
WHAT IT IS. A digital mini-magazine, published every week and shared with DK’s international network of creative people in the community called S P A C E. The idea is to create a platform for a self-selecting, highly motivated set of people to work on: developing a piece of writing; finding a way to connect with editors, photographers, illustrators and designers; networking; working in collaboration under the artistic direction of Atelier S P A C E at DK in order to create a finished piece that has real depth, complexity, meaning, and… art. An example of something co-created in this style is the poem about New Year’s in Vietnam, which you can read (in Vietnamese only) at this page.
WHERE. This is an online conversation.
WHEN. The online conversations begin on 5 March 2019.
MEMBERSHIP IN S P A C E. For those interested in developing a 1:1 conversation with DK’s creatitve team for advice, customized feedback, and tailored direction and consultation as we go, we invite you to become a member of S P A C E. The membership signup page is a crowdfunding one, and you can find it here.
WHO WE ARE. So far the creative team and co-hosts have been an international set of people that love to converse, connect, and talk over time to get to know each other and to find introspective moments, both individually, and together, too. Big thinking, big picture. You’ll be invited to any real life events taking place near you (we will be in Tokyo, Hanoi, and Riga). Here is the contact page at DK that tells you more about our team and collaborators.
WHY. Because some of us are still interested in depth, quality, conversation, connexion, and… meaning-making. Because some of us can see through facades and are bored with them. Because some of us love collaboration, whereby something better than we each could have made together gets made… in S P A C E. To KIT with DK about co-publishing books, join this mailing list for a short overview of what’s coming up this year.
‘The whole is something other than the sum of its parts.’
Order the zine…
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.
‘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.
‘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.
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.
What: A zinemaking atelier. Once-off. Conversation salon cum cuttng-fabric-and-zining workshop.
Hosted by: Marine Ky
Tickets: Euro 20, including workshop fee, homemade lunch with tea, and zinemaking materials. Payable at the door. Max 6: very limited seats.
How to RSVP: Details to follow, for RSVP’d guests. Read more and RSVP at this page.
** Apportez de chez vous ce que vous souhaitez partager avec nous pendant l’atelier. **
Best part of making S P A C E is the chance encounters, stories-in-the-field, and finding out of things that happen when you simply create a bounded box of ‘where’, and ‘when.’ To show up. And see. What the things that are there (and also within, and so many more things to say about this), can tell you. ‘See what making S P A C E can reveal to you about… you.’ That’s what I had once written and shared on a website page that existed far away from this one, in another time, another moment, when I still believed that most people want to do the hard work of reflection. And trust me to help them do that. But what I found is it’s far too hard to do this, let alone subscribe to someone else’s method, and when all that happens, you also have these moments of deep metaphysical questioning, and sometimes that gets a little tricky because we have a lot of things to bring up and some of the time it’s not comfortable.
Talking about business and talking about ‘tasks’ and talking about ‘things to do in order to reach success’ are more often toted into the public spaces of conversation. (Which I find terribly boring.) Rather, what if we could make more S P A C E for connexion, on a different level. Talking about ‘purpose,’ for example. ‘Values,’ and ‘drive.’ Where this picture was taken is where for a little more than two weeks Design Kompany designed, hosted, dialogued about, and conversed deeply about things related to these latter. Who we are and why things matter most to us, in these instances of sharing in the bounded box of time and space, for the Atelier S P A C E that invites us to look at things but also to let go of the looking, and just engage and enjoy whatever falls into the space, too…
This one was really good. I’m going to write about the things we uncovered in a future zine, set in the town where this picture was taken, and made in this very space. Writing. Designing. Editing. And most importantly, thrashing ideas about. But then, letting go of them, too, and feeling the way towards the rightness of the things to share. Sharing.
More is awaiting. In the ateliers to come. And in the conversations shaping up through the online zine S P A C E, and its attendant small circles of communities too. To the journeys, then. The near, the now, the next.