In real life · Publisher's Diary · The Muse

A sunny day

Dear L,

Cooooool. That was so fun.

Photo: Van Tran

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.

Một ngày nắng đẹp.

Cheers, ladies and gentlemen.

To the journeys, then

PS A week or so from now, I’ll host another popup, maybe. By invitation for those already in my circle, but for those who aren’t, and are reading this blog post, and want to know more, here is a signup page:

Photo: Van Tran, Atelier S P A C E HCMC, Autumn 2020. Atelier S P A C E is supported by crowdfunding, in-kind donations, and Design Kompany client gigs.



Dear K

D: ‘これからどうなるのか、いつVNから出ることができるのかと…’

X: …

D: ‘ぐうぜん多いとよくいわれているひとですわ。’

X: ‘………’

D: ‘ですから、何とかなるでしょう。’

X: ‘なるか。’

D: [うなずきながら] ‘うん。なる、なる。 きっと何とかなる。’

A Philosophy of the Moment

Issue #113

This week’s issue is inspired by many, many conversations of the variety that those who know me personally know I like to go into. A kind of meander. A peer-to-peer ‘let’s just try this’ jazzy improvisational kind of moment. A flurry of them, occasionally you get those. Snowlike. You see. Even this paragraph is what it feels like, to be with us, when we get together, and talk together. In S P A C E. More of this is on the way but just for those who, well. Show up. I’m tired of trying to get people to ‘see the value’ because f it. I know the value, and that’s enough. So here we are. And here we go.

The next thing you’ll see in S P A C E will be art directed by our 2020 collaborators in S P A C E, AD, MT, and MB. And I’m working on that, today, to get set for sunset viewing at my favorite local.

A good moment.

Knowing what you want, and doing those things. Mind, it took a lifetime to learn my favorite things…

This week, I present, S P A C E | HCMC, ‘More together.’ With a cover image by HN. The words on the cover say ‘Happy New Year,’ as we’ve just seen the amazing celebrations, in a lower key than usual owing to a recent covid outbreak. Seems it’s ‘under control,’ according to the news, so out to the streets, cautiously, we may go.

DK | Introduction to Cojournaling

A two-year roving popup ‘zinemaking’ program, Atelier S P A C E, is currently parked in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. From here we are co-creating zines with our new friends and acquaintances in this city who are interested in writing, design, art, graphic design, illustration, and photography. The idea isn’t for us to ‘teach’ these skills. It’s for guests to have a chance to truly collaborate, in the fashion that is uniquely DK’s. In S P A C E.

WHO THIS IS FOR. It takes a very specific sort of personality to show up for our style of collaborations, in our studio’s ateliers. We started in Seattle in 2006 and are heavily influenced by the agile design methods we learned there, mosty by osmosis, at a time when ideas and enterprise and thinking together with our clients and teammates was working really well. Things change, shift, and here we are.

A VIRTUAL PROGRAM. Discover our process, by taking part in a short-run version of our explorations in collaborative writing: the Cojournal Project.


Of two roads

This week, in ‘Papers‘, I’ve shared a prompt. It’s about crossroads. It’s about choices.

It’s inspired by loads of things that have led to this very instance of writing this, typing it now, before the people who come are about to come and that means I have to leave my desk. I like leaving my desk don’t get my wrong, but when I want to articulate a thought and that thought is at the edge of the end of a dream I didn’t quite finish, and stuff, then it becomes, like, a kind of mood thing that makes me want to type a blog post.

You might be saying, ‘What is the value of a blog post, DK?’ or ‘What is this?’ or ‘I don’t understand,’ or ‘What exactly is the objective of your writing, DK?’ or ‘But how do you make money from this, DK’ and if you are that kind of person who asks that kind of question then, obviously, I am not writing for you.

The things you learn

I have learned this the hard way, um.


I have tried to ‘contort this to fit a box of constraints that they want you to fit it,’ as my old friend EC used to say, when we talked about applying for grants. (We did not apply for grants because, me being me, I do not compromise, and that means, well, that means a lot of things but largely it means that you wind up on the edge of the edge, looking out and in at ‘it all’ and being… mostly alone.)

Alone is fine.

Alone is good.

Alone is also… difficult.

Alone, for an indefinite period of time where I am waiting for things to re-open so I can be re-united with the people who know me well and care about me deeply is a little tricky, though.

Stuck in Vietnam? Well…. hm. It’s kind of a long story. Almost a year long, now. Hm.

There is good news and better news, and I’ll save both items for ‘Of two roads,’ which I am going to compose when the folks I’m going to meet will come over, and I leave with them, and we shall talk together about the ideas and feelings that the prompt I sent on Monday…

The Cojournal Project is where I send these from Yeah. I’m happy with the small set of people who are writing with me; over time. It takes time. Sometimes we get together, but it’s gotten rarer and rarer and now the virus is in Vietnam again, so. We. Shall. See. I do really like creating and curating and dancing creatively and intellectually with circles of real-life S P A C E. Which is Atelier S P A C E, and Cojournaling, and various other small projects. Which are coming into their own, albeit much differently in shape than what I had pictured.

Is this what growing up is? [deleted]

Life is good. Letting it be.

Thank you, VT, for being there for me, and Boss, and also AM, MD, and NDS. I am so, so lucky to know you all. Ergo, S P A C E—and the reward that comes from showing up, one designful moment, at a time. Over time. Thank you again.

Here’s to a pleasurable 2021.

Ooh. And there’s a knock at my door—good timing!

'S' is for Sincerity · Publisher's Diary · 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.


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..