S P A C E | Tampere, ‘Miia’

The zine ‘Miia’ is set in Finland’s Tampere. A continuation of earlier writings by Alexis Jokela. Plus, new photography and poetry. This zine is co-created by collaborating teams at DK. Get it on January 1, 2019, when you subscribe to S P A C E. Subscribe here.

S P A C E | Tampere, ‘Miia’

A designers’ guide to 25 of Singapore’s day-work cafes, art stores, and ‘third places’



AFTER MUCH SEARCHING ONLINE, and even more not-finding, I have given myself a writing commission. Go to Singapore. Walk around. Look at stuff. See who’s doing something interesting. Discover them, drifting towards whomever or wherever intrigues, without too much noise, or fanfare. Talk to people. And see where the cool stuff is going on. The good stuff. Not just what people say is interesting, or pay to promote, or whatever. No advertorials here. No sponsored posts. That is just not what we are into, here. No thank you. We are interested in real, genuine, and authentic conversations, with people who actually mean it when they say things, and who show up, and who are, like us, intrigued by the possible, the new, the near, the now and the next. When I go around town with my marked-up map, checking out some of the cafes to see if they really are the kind of places I would go to and work out of if I were, say, a designer or a writer with a laptop looking for somewhere to lay low and focus, or a place to walk into and get inspired, or a place that just has the kind of vibe you really want to have if you are looking for ‘your people,’ in a city that feels, from what I remember, on my brief past visits, to be… let’s say… distancing? Maybe the world is just like that now, it’s hard to find space for real life. True conversation, connection, connexion. Why do I care about this so much? Relational aesthetics, et al. So many reasons. Sure I can write and write and blog and blog and who cares? If I don’t meet you, in real life and eye to eye, then whatever is the point of it? Really. I’m serious. So I’m going to outline for a few people the 25 places that I will discover. I’m gonna shortlist stuff, and post about things, but not here, not in public space. In forums,like ‘Strange Geometries.’ New mini-guide to Singapore, writ for the discerning and authenticity-seeking who are coming from out of town. No maps or pocket guidebook stuff. Just, a list, and essays, and pics. First release will be to members of our eZine, S P A C E. Join us there if you want to read it. S P A C E posts weekly, it’s USD $7/week.


In Search of Meaning (32): Perfection is the a-ha moment

WHAT DO SCIENTISTS, JOURNALISTS, and artists have in common?

Relentless pursuit.

Artists are in pursuit of beauty.

Journalists (the honest ones, anyway), of truth.

And scientists, of both.


Making sense where there is none

WE EACH WANT TO ARRIVE at the truth of a thing. To make sense of the complexity of the world surrounding us.

To dissect, to question, to pursue and—with any luck—to gain privilege to some kind of understanding.

Art. Artist friends revel in the process of creating. Sometimes there’s a point where you think a piece is finished and then a single, unplanned movement determines a totally new direction.

It is a dance, it is a performance. But the audience and players are selfsame: they are you. Intuition is a guide. Clarity of vision is paramount.

The result can be brilliance: if you’ve stood at the foot of Michelangelo’s David when his crowd wanes and fades, you know exactly what I mean.

Journalism. Lately I’ve been revisiting some of Malcolm Gladwell’s writings. I saw Gladwell speak while touring with Outliers.

I didn’t realize his father was a mathematician, and the inner jacket copy for What the Dog Saw says Gladwell’s is ‘an investigator of the hidden extraordinary.’

I’m no Gladwell, but I was a staff reporter—first for the [DELETED] in southwest Ireland, then at the [DELETED].

In these jobs, I was always looking for the glint of something beautiful and, more importantly, true. If I could illuminate the truth in a thing through a story, I considered it a personal success.

Science. Scientists amaze me. They like to make tables and box their answers. This process of setting up a hypothesis, inventing methods to test it, and evaluating results to arrive at a conclusion reminds me of one of my classes in civil engineering at N.C. State: concrete.

When engineers build roads, they rely on charts and tables. They put in factors of safety. They don’t have any exact solution, but they apply what others have observed and tabulated to be true, and assured it will work the same way tomorrow. It’s inexact. It’s flawed.

But it works, at least enough of the time that we don’t question it or try to invent new methods. Kind of like Euclidean geometry.

Scientists and lovers of science are a curious lot.

That’s why I loved being surrounded by some 250 science enthusiasts last weekend at a conference smack in the middle of Research Triangle Park called Science Online.

For now, I’m still jazzed by the simplicity of the insight.

The a-ha moment

ARTISTS, JOURNALISTS, AND SCIENTISTS are each looking for something.

We mince uncertainty. We peel the superficial layers.

We want to “see” the internal workings of a thing, a process, or a condition of existence.

In other words, we seek—it is our work, our compulsion and even our obsession. Our hands and minds carry us to do the work that we simply cannot not do.

To quest.

Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist style.

Seeking discoveries and brilliant moments along the way.

Beauty is truth, truth beauty / That is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. —John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn

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