Experiments in Expression · Relational Aesthetics

What is relational art? What are relational aesthetics?

I.
What Wikipedia says about relational art

 

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.”[1] The artist can be more accurately viewed as the “catalyst” in relational art, rather than being at the centre.[2]

Source: Wikipedia

 

II.
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.”

Source: https://www.theartstory.org/movement/relational-aesthetics/history-and-concepts/

 

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.

Source: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/r/relational-aesthetics

Desk Notes

Good night from Ho Chi Minh City

Today has been a remarkable day. I would say more, but it’s kind of difficult to express a thing when you sense it, deeply, from somewhere that resides well outside of the realms of ‘intellectualizing.’ Verbalization. Articulation. The wordsmiths of our time are equipped with the tools of this trade, trading in ‘ideas.’ I guess I’m kind of one of those people, usually. I’m learning, though. Thanks to the place where I was when covid struck—I’m in… a different world. There are things to say and more to say after those things are said, but beyond everything that is spoken, I think, the learning is this.

Feeling.

Must say more about this. Perhaps in the new LinkedIn group, Papers | Cojournal. If you’re on that platform and you’re reading this blog from time to time and you were curious but not sure how to inquire further or, *gasp!*, take part, well. That’s there.

Disconnexion vis-a-vis Real connexion

Done. With internet. I think. For a while; I go through spells. I go offline. I turn things off. I reboot. I stop talking to people I don’t know and pretend, like I told D. today, that I’m in Sweden. Because in Sweden, you definitely don’t go around striking up random conversations with people. Haha, I see JE laughing out loud reading this if he still follows this blog, from northern Finland. [Yo, I made some amazing sandwiches yesterday. Really good. What you said stuck. I thought of you saying it. Thanks.]


What the hell am I writing about Sweden for, you ask? Well. I have to entertain myself out here in my one-year-and-counting journey of Life in Vietnam without Any Idea of When I am Leaving or to Where and When I Will See Someone Who Actually Knows Me Longer than 6 Months. Which reminds me of… Malmoe. No I did not study abroad there.

I just went there. For no reason other than a deep desire to be very far from everyone I know and to be quietly alone. Often. Daily. If I could get away without uttering a word to anyone, that would be grand altogether, like, to use a West Cork expression. Lived there. Three years. Wrote about it in The Elopement. Man. I met two Irish people here in HCMC and they were both, disappointingly, incredibly… boring. I said so, too. That’s not nice is it. But they were, though. See? This is why I need to pretend I’m in Scandinavia.

S P A C E | Malmö, ‘Vakt’

 

I took the picture above in Malmoe. It was at the harbor. I stayed there for a while, just kickin’ it. Took this shot on one of the days towards the end of my time there because… because… you know, I like to wait until I get a feeling for a place before I start photographing it. Which is why I cannot stand those instagram [deleted]… that bug… [deleted].

Timings

Of course [deleted]. And of course, therefore, I want to refrain from doing such, because, guess what? Most people have [deleted] that I am interested in. Truly. I’m so, so over [deleted]… in a country that is cold… then there was the sauna. Dead of winter. No better time.

Sweden, 2015.

Vietnam, 2020-2021-??

Had a good conversation on the pathway to places today. Now I will think it over. It’s nearing 10pm, the Western Hemisphere is going to work. And I’m going to sleep. Good night, then. Good night from Ho Chi Minh City. Where I am, currently, with, perhaps soon, perhaps later, a different iteration of things to come. Internet things. I think. With the space where we make S P A CE, namely, Atelier S P A C E. Er. Yeah. File under: Book of Feelings. Thanks very much to those in my inner circles who have helped me explore this topic. Deeply, not superficially. You know who you are.

That’s a story for another book, though. Maybe Reality & Trust. Maybe.

Let’s seeeee. ;)

Desk Notes

11 February | Designers Korner

A virtual Korner

Gonna try this.

Find me on LinkedIn and send me a message, if you want to join a virtual Zoom call that will see a maximum of six guests. This is a chance to meet new people from DK’s network. An international network, and not just full of ‘like-minded people,’ which I find to be extremely short-sighted, and rather boring. I went to Eastern Europe in 2019 to round out my own understandings of what ‘Europe’ is, and that was gritty and tough and difficult in many ways because it wasn’t the manicured tourist-friendly, dollar-loving streets of [insert any major globalized and no-longer-able-to-describe-itself-uniquely because of course everyone looks like a hipster from that cutout stuff you find online, you know what I”m talking about Western European city]. Plus, racism. Dumb.

Anyway I’ve enjoyed building my international conversations over the years, and value so much the safe, comfortable, and remarkable exchange of ideas. Amongst people who actually care about that. About wanting their lives to be more, for lack of a better word, interesting.

C said once in a green back-alley restaurant in Hoi An, ‘Most people are boring.’

My eyes grew wide.

‘You can find good friends,’ he continued, ‘in books.’

So guess what? I’m reading a ton nowadays.

And also: writing.

***

HT CS, a great call yesterday. In S P A  C E.

 

Choices

Back to the old threads on ‘Choices,’ this month, in Papers. And ‘Healing,’ too. Let me leave you with these few lines from the songwriter, Trịnh Công Sơn

Mỗi ngày tôi chọn một lần thôi
Chọn tiếng ru con nhẹ bước vào đời
Tôi chọn nắng đây chọn cơn mưa tới
Để lúa reo mừng tựa vẫy tay

HT MN and friends of Papers, in S P A C E.

Also, nhớ đeo khẩu trang.

'S' is for Sincerity · A Philosophy of the Moment · Desk Notes · Experiments in Expression

Hello Internet

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.

    • Fame.
    • Fortune.
    • Power.
    • Beauty.

But what about the things they love?

 

Changing tack

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.

Hard.

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).

 

A. Spaice

That is.

Humanity.

Ooh, yeah.

Ask me for a free copy…

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

100 Conversations · Desk Notes · Experiments in Expression

Innovation in Ho Chi Minh City? First learn this.

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.

Obviously, because of rioting and military-trained right-wingers doing things like this, we need a change.

If you think so too, read on.

Play x Innovation x Design x S P A C E

New methods in spacemaking!, that’s fun.

Making S P A C E.

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:


https://www.ilyaskassam.com/tour

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.

Yeah.

 

Edits

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?

By leaving.

Everyone.

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.]

Fun.

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 this and this. 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:

Raising the bar (properly)

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.

To get to know what we create together, you can subscribe to our weekly e-mag here: https://gumroad.com/designkompany/membership.

I’ll share updates there.

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.

'S' is for Sincerity · Publisher's Diary · Stories · The Muse

Why make S P A C E?

Design Kompany’s first office in Seattle, shared space with one of our our clients D+A Studio. Photos by Laura Totten, this was a setup for ‘Dazzle,’ a show of her work at our space. Great moment. Great memories. // Seattle, 2006

We started this studio, DK, in 2006 in Seattle.

So many changes in the way the internet, and the world, is ‘[deleted]… and DeBord’s Society of the Spectacle has *happened*.

Hijacking real life with portrayals of faked imagery.

[deleted]

That’s why I do this. That’s why, with a few friends, I make S P A C E.

[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?

A few people.

Who also.

Care about.

What I do.

Hardly anyone, but okay, cool.
From the Soundcloud, ‘Hi2’…
The idea was to show up, see what happens, and make something cool together.
S P A C E probes deeply in order to look for the new…
Meaningfully, not trivially….
How things will go from here is anybody’s guess..
We are awaiting a new chapter…

Let’s make meaning?

Let’s converse

Here’s how..
Desk Notes · Found in the Field · The Muse

Mixtape!, ‘Osmosis’

One of the more interesting parts of being in Vietnam since February, somehow getting more and more accustomed to the idea of it, is that, um, I’m starting to understand Vietnamese.

Okay, it’s cool that I got some help with that, like, real life and exchanging language and conversation in a casual, light way, but also, it’s relaxing to be able to pick up on a few lyrics for songs now. 
So when I’m out and about and I hear something that catches my ear, I ask about it. ‘What is this? I want to know!!’

Edges and reaching beyond those edges..

You start learning a new language and all kinds of things start to appear in your midst.

Slowly learning by osmosis..

And people I meet really love it when I say stuff to them like, ‘Well, I’m your neighbor,’ or ‘Did you guys meet at work?’ I think it means a lot to people when you make a basic effort, and I’m finding that I can do a lot with just a few phrases to ease more fluidly into a place that, seven years ago when I first arrived in Southeast Asia and Hanoi for the first-ever time, um, I was like, completely unaware about anything really meaningful. Now I can see even when I curate the mini-mag S P A C E for stories set here that there are things that are culturally significant and worth sharing, and other things that are just what tourists would quickly snap and leave having snapped it. you know what I mean?

There is more to say about that, see the stuff below at the end of this post about ‘decolonization.’ I mean, well, no, ask AD. I will put more together about how we can arrange that in some future conversation in S P A C E when I get to that, in early 2021, after finishing up our stories set where I am right now, which is Ho Chi Minh. Another month for Atelier S P A C E // HCMC, and then… maybe make a move to another part of the country. Or. Depends on our crowdfunding. Let’s see.

The mixtape is called…

O S M O S I S

A mixtape

4
friends of
Atelier S P A C E // HCMC

all… around… thế giới

<3
dk

 

I.

‘Đi Về Nhà’

 

JustaTee

I kind of just really adore this one. I really do. I don’t know what it is but it just makes me feel good vibes. The theme is ‘home’ and going there and going when you feel all kinds of feelings. Good ones and not so good ones, you can just ‘go home.’ It’s a nice idea….

II.

‘Vì Một Câu Nói’

Hoàng Dũng

https://www.nhaccuatui.com/bai-hat/vi-motv-cau-noi-hoang-dung-the-voice.VPj4uQ0t00eU.html

A pretty voice, I heard this and got intrigued. Especially because I could understand the line that repeated over and over again, and stuff like that. I thought about going to see this person who is going to be in HCM in concert very soon but the idea of sitting in a room with a ton of people with their smartphones out taking video doesn’t sit right with a music-lover like me. I’d much rather go to a small venue where the people who are there really want to just listen, and not get caught up in recording everything and themselves so they can tell everyone how ‘cultural’ they are. I found a new local venue that I think fits my criteria for that, and got to now a couple of kids who love jazz as much as I do, over there, a few nights ago. Well, well. If it wasn’t a pleasure getting to hear Sonny Rollins coming off strong on the very first number! Wow. Made my whole year. HT T, K, lookin’ at you.

III.

‘Kẻ Mộng Mơ’
Reddy

 

https://zingmp3.vn/bai-hat/Ke-Mong-Mo-Reddy/ZO00DD9W.html

I got to hear this one and really admired the song, the voice, the earnestness. I think there is a lot of emotion in the male vocalists I get to hear on these occasional bouts with getting to see, um. Karaoke. Even if I can’t understand everything I really love the feeling of just being swept away in someone’s heartfelt telling-it-all-and-laying-it-out-there. Up in Dalat, when I hung out on one of my last days with DSP, he told me that writing Vietnamese lyrics is really hard because of all the things that you have to pay attention to with the ups and downs of tones and stuff. I guess that’s something that people who grow up listening to English lyrics really never had to consider as a technicality to building something song-wise. You know, writing this down here makes me feel like I’m some kind of musician, or something. I’m not. I just like what Iike. Is all.

IV.

‘Hà Nội Mười Hai Mùa Hoa’

I have to put this one in, because it’s something that VT told me about. We were talking about ‘culture’ and all this kind of craic as we used to call it when I lived in Ireland (and became very much a fan of Irish musicians, songs in Irish, people from Cork and the songs they gave us, and many more stories related to stories, pints, stories, and did I say stories?) Music and stories and time together. What else is there?…. Yeah..

Anyway! Aside from this one about the seasons of Hanoi which takes you into a different kind of space, in the way it feels when you leave HCM and go to HN, perhaps, because of the abrupt formality you kind of walk into, well, yeah, aside from that, the songs above came from those, ‘What is this!!!’ kinds of questions that I put to people like bartenders, baristas, and fellow guests of whatever place I happened to land in.

Winging it, and making S P A C E..

I’m still in the city of Ho Chi Minh, still exploring and making forays hither and tither to discover, and share, what I find curious and interesting and the people whom I meet, too, to invite them to co-create with me. Always a fun task. Most people don’t want to make a commitment and that’s okay, but it’s my work to show up for the people who want me to make space for new thinking to invite itself into… well, S P A C E. Discovery and design our our themes. Let me expand a little.

ATELIER S P A C E // HCMC. Part of DK’s work is to discover and insist on making and pressing out S P A C E. I know. That’s a lot of vagueness. Still if you are familiar with DK, you know what I mean. We make S P A C E for the new and different to engage and interact with themselves, in a flat hierarchy not a Western-lens thing that tells you what to think about everything. I am working with my good friend AD in the cloud, in Papers, on a zine about ‘Decolonization’ right now so it’s on my mind, this idea. Anyway! So here I am, writing to you, the Internet, an those who read this blog, about what I found out. In case you want to know what contemporary Vietnamese choosers-of-music like to hear that isn’t that old school stuff that is like only just the old love song stuff. Besides that, what is there. That stuff makes me so sad. So I enjoy these things. One is a rap. Really fun. HT VT, QN. Fun ha.

Photo: QN, Atelier S P A C E // HCMC, December 2020
This year kinda reminds me of my life in Kyoto, years ago, when I started to study Japanese. This was my favorite part: going to independently study, by renting CDs from Tsutaya, and singing what I could at karaoke. Those were fun days, and these are, too. I’m recalling what it’s like to slowly get wind of things, by osmosis. You learn. That way. A lot. Loving that the words I know keep showing up, words about ‘home’, and ‘us’, and ‘dream’, and ‘together’, and ‘happiness’, and stuff like that, I am happy when I can ask what a thing means and understand what is written down. Coolio.

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