Desk Notes

Field trip to District 10

It’s a day out for me from my usual routine. Where I go, what I do, whom I meet; these things are all thrown into the air, today, as I do the thing that Situationism calls for: wander. Drift, so to speak. Going where the going takes you. Like this:

I learned some new vocabulary words yesterday: abstract, in Vietnamese. I met someone who understands what that is and that that is a thing, and she told me the word. In these ways, out and about, I pick up on things. Like where certain roads end and others begin. I start, stop, start stop, and at variegated and particular moments, pause for a while like I’m doing now, today at the cafe where the people are nice to their customers because, as I just learned, they are paid to be.

I don’t know how I feel about this. I’m having a nice conversation up until that point. ‘It’s my job.’ Okay, thanks, but it’s emotional labor and I don’t want to hold you to that. So I’ll cut it short and write a blog post about this place I’m on. It’s a new place. A place I don’t know. That’s exciting, when you’re on the road, here in Vietnam, a home away from home (Cambodia), away from home (??). The most accurate picture of home I guess for me, would be:

Drift and the Nomad was a conversation party that I had once in Copenhagen with two guys who were like, Um. Thanks but. I don’t understand this. What is the point of it?

‘Drifting doesn’t have a point, that is the point.’

‘So you came here from Cambodia?’ (them).

‘Yes.’

‘To do what?’

‘Drift.’

‘I don’t understand.’

‘That’s okay. You don’t have to.’

[Curtain]

Found in the Field · The Muse

Mixtape | See you Saturday, maybe

Good evening from Ho Chi Minh City, ladies and gentlemen. Let me share with you the mix tape, ‘See you Saturday, maybe,’ featuring a few musicians I’ve gotten to listen to often and sometimes even chat with in real life (remember when that was a thing?) about art, composition, intrigue, and sharing.

Every time I hear the Cambodian mix I feel a little homesick for one of my more recent ‘homes’ (I have a lot), namely Phnom Penh, hence the song I’m including from Justatee about the feeling of wanting to go home. it’s a good mood, suddenly, listening and feeling. Of course I have to end it all with Punjabi tunes.

Since I’m big into relational aesthetics, I have to acknowledge all the people I was thinking about while making this. HT PS, over in Chandigarh, or?, somewhere thereabouts. Mixtape, ‘See you Saturday, maybe!’, dedicated to my friends NDS, aka DNLD on Soundcloud. And VT. Cool. Thanks, too, for MM for inspiring me lately. And of course MD and AM for always listening when I need to talk. And CS. Gosh. I have a lot of people I can count on in these difficult times. Lucky me. Special thanks of course to Boss. And SJ, who told me to blog more and write what I think, which I appreciate. Though he probably isn’t reading this, I want to say, ‘I hope you are safe, 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 · Mirror2018

19 December | ‘SELF’ Mini-coaching session

SELF is back.

The workshop will happen virtually, over a period of sequenced prompts that you and DK can work on together 1:1. OR, if you are in HCMC and somehow following this blog and curious about things we are doing, PLUS you have been thinking about ‘who am I and what is my life purpose?’ then I have SELF in a mini-coaching session for some Saturdays to come. Because, why not? I’m here.

I may as well share what I know how to do well: give leaders the space to relax, to discover, and to connect deeply with a part o themselves that actually already knows the answers to these questions.

So yeah. What makes me qualified? Well, if you’re reading this blog you probably already have been following my work and story, yes? If you’re not regularly popping over to read this blog, then whatever I say is just me saying it and there’s no way for you to know if I’m telling you what’s real. The internet has made everything weird. So.

Desk Notes · Experiments in Expression · Found in the Field · Stories · The Muse

Issue #103

A members-only issue, this time.

S P A C E | Mito, ‘Shibui.’

Here’s a link.

http://gum.co/space-mito-shibui

Thanks.

HT E. Happy Birthday.

What’s ‘Shibui’?

Wikipedia has a lot to say. The source of the following is from this link:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shibui

Định nghĩa shibui hoặc shibusa

Definition of shibui or shibusa

 

Bảy yếu tố của shibusa là
sự giản lược (simplicity)
sự tuyệt đối (implicity)
sự khiêm tốn (modesty)
sự im lặng (silence)
tính tự nhiên (naturalness)
tính đều đặn (everydayness) và
sự không hoàn hảo (imperfection)
The seven elements of the shibusa are reduction, implicity, modesty, silence, naturalness, everydayness, emptiness &  imperfection.

 

Sự giản lược quý phái của shibusa là sự biểu hiện tinh tế về bản chất của các yếu tố trong một trải nghiệm thẩm mỹ mang tới sự tĩnh lặng. Sự quý phái khiêm nhường là điều hiển nhiên trong sự thanh thản u buồn với một chút lấp lánh.
The aristocratic simplification of the shibusa is the subtle expression of the nature of the elements in an aesthetic experience that offers tranquility. Humble nobility is evident in the sad serenity with a hint of sparkle.

 

Như các thuật ngữ mỹ học Nhật Bản khác, ikiwabi-sabi, shibui có thể áp dụng cho nhiều đối tượng, không chỉ là nghệ thuật hay thời trang.
Like other Japanese aesthetic terms, iki and wabi-sabi, shibui can be applied to a wide range of subjects, not just art or fashion.
Shibui (渋い) (tính từ), shibumi (渋み) (danh từ), hoặc shibusa (渋さ) (danh từ) là những từ tiếng Nhật chỉ một khái niệm mỹ học đặc biệt về vẻ đẹp giản dị, tinh tế và không phô trương.
Shibui (渋 い) (adjective), shibumi (渋 み) (noun), or shibusa (渋 さ) (noun) are Japanese words for a particular aesthetic concept of simplicity, sophistication and unobtrusive.
Shibusa là một sự xuất hiện hoặc trải nghiệm được làm phong phú lên (enriched), được làm dịu đi (subdued) của phẩm cách tốt về mặt bản chất với cơ cấu về hình thức, liên kết và nỗ lực, mang đến một sự tĩnh lặng vô tận.
Shibusa is an enriched, subdued appearance or experience of intrinsically good dignity with a structure of appearance, association, and effort, providing an endless silence.
  • Shibusa bao gồm những phẩm chất thiết yếu sau đây:
  • Đối tượng có shibui xuất hiện với sự đơn giản về tổng thể nhưng chúng bao gồm các chi tiết tinh tế, chẳng hạn như kết cấu, mà cân bằng sự lược giản với sự phức tạp.
  • Sự cân bằng sự lược giản với sự phức tạp này nhằm đảm bảo rằng vật đó không chỉ gò ép vào một đối tượng shibui mà còn liên tục tìm ra những ngữ nghĩa và vẻ đẹp phong phú mới được tạo nên bởi quá trình phát triển những giá trị thẩm mỹ qua nhiều năm.
  • Shibusa không nên bị nhầm lẫn với wabi hoặc sabi. Mặc dù nhiều đối tượng wabi hoặc sabi là shibui, không phải tất cả các đối tượng shibui là wabi hoặc sabi. Đối tượng wabi hoặc sabi có thể khắc khổ hơn và đôi khi cố ý thổi phồng khuyết điểm đến một mức độ mà chúng có thể được làm một cách nhân tạo. Đối tượng shibui không nhất thiết phải hoàn hảo hay không đối xứng, mặc dù chúng có thể chứa đựng những phẩm chất này.
  • Shibusa duy trì một sự cân bằng đồng đều giữa các khái niệm thẩm mỹ tương phản nhau, ví dụ như thanh lịch và thô kệch, hoặc tự phát và có tự chủ.
Shibusa includes the following essential qualities:
  • Objects with shibui appear to be simplistic overall but they include subtle details, such as texture, that balance simplicity with complexity.
  • Balancing this reduction with complexity to ensure that the object not only presses against a shibui object, but also continually finds new rich meanings and beauty created by development. aesthetic values ​​over the years.
  • Shibusa should not be confused with wabi or sabi. Although many wabi or sabi objects are shibui, not all shibui objects are wabi or sabi. Objects of wabi or sabi can be more austere and sometimes purposely inflate defects to such an extent that they can be artificially made. The shibui objects are not necessarily perfect or asymmetric, although they may contain these qualities.
  • Shibusa maintains an even balance between contrasting aesthetic concepts, such as elegant and crude, or spontaneous and autonomous.

 

Màu sắc của shibusa là những màu “lờ mờ” (muddy). Ví dụ, trong thiết kế và sơn nội thất, màu xám được thêm vào những gam màu chính để tạo một hiệu ứng ánh bạc, mà gắn các màu sắc khác nhau lại với nhau thành một sự sắp đặt phối hợp. Tuỳ thuộc vào mức độ của màu xám được thêm vào, màu sắc của shibui trải dài từ những màu pastel tới tối. Thỉnh thoảng, một mảng màu sắc tươi sáng được thêm vào để tạo một điểm nổi bật.
The colors of the shibusa are “fuzzy” (muddy). For example, in interior design and paint, gray is added to the main colors to create a silver sheen effect, which binds the different colors together into a coordinated arrangement. Depending on how much gray is added, shibui colors range from pastel colors to dark. Occasionally, an array of bright colors is added to create a highlight.

 

Get S P A C E | Mito, ‘Shibui’

‘Thiếu’…

The value of a thing is the amount of life we are willing to trade for it.

Let’s discuss ‘lack,’ or ‘thiếu.’

But softly, quietly, and comfortably.

 

//

Hi.

I hope to find at least 4 people to make this *happen*. If we can, I will do this. I think it’s a big, big topic and worth exploring.

If you think the page is ready to share, I’ll be grateful if you can help me discover some new people to invite…

Here is the detail.
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/thieu-tickets-127583821645

The Book of Feelings

An interactive 2-hour workshop hosted by DK over Zoom. Onetime only event.

About this Event

This new short project, ‘The Book of Feelings’, was inspired by DK’s September conversations in real life in HCMC with new collaborators who make, draw, write, paint, make books, and discover. With us. Together.

 

A nice description of what The Book of Feelings might be came up, in a spontaneous way, when DK’s close collaborator in Papers and S P A C E, Phnom Penh-based vocalist and writer Michael Bridgett, Jr., gave a beautiful overview about S P A C E at the San Francisco Zine Festival. Here is a clip. https://designkompany.com/showandtell/

Max 4. Application required. Apply here.

This is a way, if you are curious about us, to see how S P A C E-making at DK begins. No experience necessary. Ages 21+. Thanks.

DK | Short course, ‘The Mirror’

An 8- or 12-week online workshop, 100% email correspondence. No meetings.

About this Event

THE MIRROR is a workshop.

It’s 8 weeks or 12 weeks. Select the option that’s right for you.

The workshop is virtual.

DISCOVER THE MIRROR. DK’s Dipika Kohli writes all prompts and hosts dialogues in The Mirror. The idea is to shape a safe space for online salon-like exploration and co-discovery. If you would welcome a chance to try new things with others, and focus on reflection, this is the workshop DK are making for you.

HOW IT WORKS. THE MIRROR begins with an orientation packet, containing a syllabus and work plan.

There is a participation fee. The fee starts from USD 160.

Application required.

To apply for consideration, fill out the application form.

Here’s a link.

designkompany.com/apply

'S' is for Sincerity · Found in the Field · In real life · The Muse

Issue #86

S P A C E | Đà Lạt • ‘Tìm Mình Trong Thế Giới’ is the next in our weekly e-zine series. It is set to release on Tuesday.

DK Director Dipika Kohli made the drawing on the cover this week. The drawing’s title is: Chúc Ngủ Ngon & Chào Buổi Sáng / Good Night & Good Morning.

A line artist for many years, Kohli has rekindled her old style of drawing by putting pencil to page again. This [cover] drawing is part of a series of more than fifty new pencil and colored pencil works. These were created in quiet moments, on the spot, in several cafes and brightly lit atelier spaces she discovered while in ‘The Great Lockdown’ (so far) in Đà Lạt, Việt Nam. Kohli had plenty of time alone to write, draw, and reflect, whilst also working on a new book, End of the Rainbow (Kismuth Books / forthcoming 2020).

This  effort has come out of the slowing down, a natural outcome  resulting from the first and second waves of covid19-related measures to maintain social distancing, and self-isolating, in the era of this, the Great Lockdown, so far. Kohli has been in the Central Highlands since April—and continues to discover and make. In bursts, that is. And only when inspired by the chance encounter and surprisingly enriching dialogues with the people in the places where she goes. S P A C E is a weekly zine. It is created by Design Kompany, which was started in 2004 in Seattle and today is based in Phnom Penh. DK are intrigued about how to design the space for an aesthetic moment to happen, on the spot, for unexpected and random connexion, with the people, objects, and places where they go, in S P A C E.

You can order this week’s issue.

Here’s a link.

http://gum.co/space-dalat-tmttg

Thanks! ;)

16N · Experiments in Expression

N: ‘NOTICING’

I thought I was done with ‘N’ for a while. I thought I had these rules around it: the old page for it and my best attempt to share the story so far, is here. (I had some other side sites going to “document the journey,” or whatever, but that became tiring. People wanted me to do that kind of thing, because they said it would be good, so sure, I was new at experience design project S P A C E jam stuff, back then,  so I tried to do it their way.) Kind of went like this:

Them: ‘You need to explain it, DK. Don’t you have pictures? So they can see what it’s going to be like? You have to sell it to them.’

Me: ‘WTF, it’s art. You don’t explain art. You experience it. Then you decide for yourself what it means.’

‘…’

‘…’

‘That’s going to be a hard thing to pull off.’

‘So? I want to do it like this or not at all! I’m looking for the people who are looking for… me.’

‘……’

‘Why am I even.. asking you? Gosh. You’re just not. Getting this, are you. F, f, f.’

‘Maybe I’m not that clever enough…’

‘…’

‘…’

‘You want to be spoon-fed or something?’

‘Yes! Tell it to me like–‘

No.’

UNDOCUMENTED. So mostly, there are no pictures. I think it gets in the way of the intimacy of the space. I do have one 16-persons-in-a-pic ‘N’ selfie. I did take a few shots in Phnom Penh and London, because, wow, it was just… beautiful to have the whole 16-way blind date idea in real life and so yeah, documented those but they’re like not that great of pictures because, iPad?, and also, dark. So? I have them. I have the memories, though, and I cherish those far, far more. I don’t have to share them anywhere. So yeah. I didn’t keep up with the whole side site journal documenting thing. Things like that to ‘maintain buzz’ and ‘include people who couldn’t be there’ got to the point where the mood to do that just… ended. So I casually was okay with it if I forgot the passwords or maintaining it got too hard and I just… let it go. These things happen, too. I said, after ‘N’ Penang: NOSTALGIA, that I was done for a while. That I would take a break.

But, then… I fell in love with a venue. Yeah, I did.

It just has that vibe.

It’s perfect, for ‘N’.

Yup, I found a crazy cool venue, with an ‘N’ in its name, in a city that has an ‘N’ in it, and *these are among the criteria* that I look for when I choose to throw an ‘N’ party. An ‘N’ party is a big blind date where 16 people show up to meet each other, in real life, to talk about a topic that starts with… guess what letter!

So yeah. I’m here, and I’m starting to go through the old conversations in old emails and seeing who might like to be part of ‘N’ in the secret city where I am going to be when it might happen. Yes! I am going to decide later! I am going to leave it open, for now. I am going to confirm, when I feel like it, when it’s closer to then, if it is happening or not. (To everyone, that is, who isn’t already ‘in’ on the conversations, where we confirm stuff and send agendas and meetpoints and homework. Not everyone needs to know. So I’ll be vague and casual and noncommittal with anyone who is not, of course, actually saying ‘yes’ to my direct invitation. If you just got email from me, this is the jam.

The hosting of an ‘N’

The people who come are the right people. The things that happen are the only things that could have. It starts when it starts (but we’ll probably say 7PM), and it’s over when it’s over (this can last years), and the last thing is, if you’re not having a good time or learning something, you can leave. That’s ‘the law of two feet.’ I didn’t make these up; these are the basic frame making rules of what’s called Open Space Technology, HT MC, who left the book Open Space Technologies on purpose for the random passerby to find it, in her cafe in Battambang, where said passerby (yours truly, DK) chanced to go (solo trip! Battambang 2014!!) and see it, read it, and begin to host everything in Open Space style, from that point on.

So… Who got my email? Email me back and I’ll send the next e-note in that sequence. I wrote it in 2014, but it still fits the mood of this cookie, and I’m ready to do an ‘N’ jam, again, with 16 people who are going to like what they see when they read this invitation and follow through the links.

Are you there, curious, reading, listening, and wondering? People have come from out of the city and out of the country to join ‘N’, so please get in touch if you are resonating with this. We’re looking for you, if yes. If you got the invite and said ‘no,’ that’s cool, really, it is, but, um, no way ever am I going to ‘keep you updated on future things!!’

‘N’ is a filter, for me. What kind of people say ‘yes’ to this wacky, crazy invitation to show up in real life for something that you don’t even know what it is yet?

My kind of people.

S P A C E kind of people.

Artful, curious, and ready-for-the-things people.

With that set, there’s no way that you can go wrong, as a host. Because the people who come, like Open Space says, are the right people. Guess what? We don’t care how popular or good-looking or smart or rich you are. We just want you to want to be part of it. That’s it. That’s the whole thing, the center of it. ‘N’ quests you.

Agile. Agile design, agile publishing, and agile ‘N’.

This is how we roll.

Comments are open for a bit, in case someone wants to say something about all this ? Email also open. The new new address, not the old new address. Tx.

‘N’ London: NOTEWORTHINESS ticket, 2015
Found in the Field · The Muse

Issue #62, S P C | Bangkok, ‘Step a Little Closer’

Today we share our Bangkok issue, S P C | Bangkok, ‘Step a Little Closer.’

This title of this issue is from a 2015 poem I wrote,”Step a Little Closer,” for someone who helped me understand what S P C was trying to become, before I even knew myself. HT MT.

This week’s issue of S P C contains an excerpt from the freshly completed eBook by Dipika Kohli, called Step a Little Closer. 

SPECIAL EVENT TIE-IN. To mark the publication of SaLC with a live event, DK will be reading from the new book at Neilson Hays Library in Bangkok on Wednesday, for a special discussion about this city, its “as told to DK” stories, and how anyone who wants to write their own stories can do that, too. More about that once-off 27 Feb event is here: http://salc.eventbrite.com

 

Order S P C | Bangkok, ‘Step a Little Closer”

It’s an exclusive for members of S P C.

Start your membership when you order S P C | Bangkok.

Here’s a link…

http://gum.co/space-bkk-step

Thanks ;)

Publisher's Diary

Issue #52, S P A C E | London, ‘A Walk in Regent’s Park’

This week in S P A C E, a little science fiction.

DK and friends in S P A C E are  kind of on a kick, what with the latest Soundcloud. (HT VV). The below image is Issue #52’s center spread (pages 8-9).

 

Our zines are all 16 pages, so you can easily download, print, and fold them at home. Plus you can add your own flair. Here is a short explainer on how to do that.

This is partly due to new influences in the myriad backchannel conversations in the other blog posts, you’ll see a lot of them have ‘Protected’ on the front. That’s because we are using passwords to keep things more selective, more invite-only. Quiet is good. Small is beautiful. Access codes are shared with our S P A C E members and from there new dialogues begin.

So yeah. One of the threads in the protected-page conversations is going towards… science fiction. Because of legendary sci fi author Octavia E. Butler‘s incredible short story, ‘Speech Sounds,’ in part. [Read it here].

But other things, too.

Which is why this week, I typeset my own 2016 story. It’s called ‘A Walk in Regent’s Park.’ It was the first in a series called ‘Uncertainty.’  Was really cool to put it in the form of a zine. With graphical updates.

Checkit. Here’s a link.