We will host something different, this time.
NEXT is the topic.
It is going to be a conversation in the cloud for those who register and confirm their spot. Details when you ask for them.
As an artist, it is important to create work that genuinely comes from within. This is the only way that a new and unique point of view is found. It is an easy trap for an artist to generate work she perceives her audience will like. True, the viewer ultimately determines the greatness of an art piece—great art impacts a vast spectrum of people. But a volatile audience cannot be predicted, hence great art is rarely a calculated guess, it is often an accident. The only way an artist can introduce new perspectives is continuing to be curious, ask questions, and explore. Seeing the world through curious eyes leads to new discoveries
Our own ‘N’ is going to be part of International Jazz Day…
Here’s the official link.
See our listing under ‘Vietnam’…
16NA jazzy, co-creative evening of poetry and music. Meantime, our playlist will feature contemporary jazz artists from around the world, in a special mixtape curated by DK.
It’s been a hell of a morning, D. I know you probably are like, why are you writing me a letter on your blog? Well. That is the nature of ‘N’. And I am inviting you. Starts here. The picture? That was me with a ticket from ‘N’ London, hanging out at a pub there, no wait, Sheffield, it was, right, just there, just talking to no one in particular, and, well… waiting for people to ask me, ‘So, what’s that?’, so I could invite them. Haha. (Yes, I do things like this.)
The journey of ‘N’, which began in 2014 in Phnom Penh, involves this sort of brute-force method of simply doing something, in this case sending point-blank invitations like this, over and over and over and over until you get it to ‘take.’
I must have invited 116 people to that first ‘N’, and in the end we had a lovely group of opting-in people who made our 16-person blind date one of the most memorable ones of the lot, so far.
The people who come to ‘N’ are exactly the right people. I’ve hosted this in Bangkok, London, and Copenhagen (kind of), and so, now, here I am. In Vietnam. Again. Did it once, in 2017, in Hanoi too, forgot to say.
It’s not about who’s the most this or the most that. When I make these invitations, and yes, there are a lot of them, there is one thing that all the guests who say ‘yes’ will have in common. They are curious people. They want to know what it is. They want to take a chance. Maybe just once, this year, ‘go out of my comfort zone,’ as so many people tell me. ‘N’ is something people talk about, or hear about, and it changes some of us (me, included) and we go on with our lives like, Huh, that can happen.
In a world overwhelmed with communication channels but void of deep relating, in my opinion, I made ‘N’ because I wanted to host a space for people to really be there, together, really and truly in a way that I love: which is simply being there, being included, being seen and heard, and being welcomed. Welcome. That’s me: welcoming you to ‘N’. Not just you. You and about 30 people I have mentioned this to in Ho Chi Minh City, of whom, I hope, 4 will say ‘yes.’
One of them I met in the very place where I met you, for example. Another I just wandered in to her place of work and struck up conversation. This happens often for me. I did this also to invite the guests who are part of that 30-person list and today we will close the registration because I like advance bookings and if I know everyone personally I will host it at my house. Cause yeah. Personal. And I will make snacks. If I can find out what dietary preferences… and that’s why, too, I like to have plans in advance… who is coming, what will we make for them? Planning and anticipating, for me, is as much of the fun of making something happen as the thing itself happening. I guess that’s why I love ‘N’ so much.
And why, you may ask, is it it designed like this? All ‘just once’ and for ‘just four’, and stuff? Because: personalizing it, and small scale. I like that. It’s usually in semi-public space but I am getting tired of public spaces in Vietnam and my house has a semi-public spot in it, the Common Room, which is where I’ll do this. There is also some art. Art that isn’t mine. So yeah. Come and talk to us. It’s just… people showing up to talk. Together. But briefly, and once.
Want to join us, D?
If yes, email me.
Did I invite you? Cool. It starts here.
*Secret date* April 2021
A lot of conversations happen at an ‘N’ and this time was no different. We are ready to share, meaningfully and not trivially, in the online follow-up sessions. They’ll be virtual so our ‘N’ guests from ‘N’ HCMC, which *happened* in the magic way only ‘N’ can, can see and discover others in our S P A C E programs, as we network, together, one designful moment at a time. It’s been fun, HCMC ! Thank you.
This is the week we host ‘N’ in HCMC!
And it’s also where we found out quite a bit about… who we each are, individually, too.
To those who received the invitation, checkit.
‘N’ is like nothing else.
Is getting designed. It will take place this month. It will happen in HCMC.
I’ve sent, by now, more than 20 invitations here and there through the internet to people and most of those, of course, have gone unanswered. Though there is always the magic of the follow-up note, I’ve found, in my past explorations in hosting ‘N’ in other cities. Phnom Penh, to start, and then London, Copenhagen, Bangkok, Hanoi.
‘N’ is your masterpiece, DK
-AM, 2017, Phnom Penh
‘N’, an invitation, is here, if you are curious. I’m always open to hearing from people who just simply find out about it and get in touch. Cool! That’s what I do! So yeah. Most welcome to initiate a conversation with us, if you like what you see at the link.
You try it, you find out what works, what doesn’t. You adjust and adapt the next set of things so that you optimize for what you want. In the case of ‘N,’ right from the start, I was designing for: making it happen. Who has time to send 67 emails trying to meet for coffee? Not me. So I just invited 16 people to meet at the same time and at the same place so they could all have the guesswork and admin time neatly removed from their lives and simply show up for a party. That. Was. The idea. And it still is, six years later.
If you have already been in touch with DK about this, at some point in the months of September or October, when we hosted our small four-person meet ups, then you can come to this one and see what you missed. If you got an invitation, and were wondering, here is your second-chance. I don’t usually do that, but due to covid, 16N has been recast as a series of mini-parties instead of the giant ‘big blind date for 16 people’ that it used to be. Still and all, I’m curious to see what will happen when we do this, again, this month. Some are registering. Some are going to be there. Will we see you? Let’s find out. Email us back if you got the invitation, or just go through the links from the invitation page.
The page is here: http://designkompany.com/16n
Let us know.
‘Tell me more, DK.’
‘What do you want to know?’
‘Like, what would be the hashtags?’
‘#whynot #sayyes #play16n.’
Photo: DK / Atelier S P A C E Mito, 2019
Update: Thank you for your feedback.
It’s a big day, here. I’m making gifts to give to our guests for the first-ever ‘N’ in HCMC. It’ll be just four people, instead of the usual 16, which works some of the time but not all of the time (Helsinki! Looking at you). That’s okay. We enjoy what emerges, as it begins, because each moment is unique. That’s the conversation I had last night with K and A, who are two very close, longtime friends. They met when they were six years old. And today, cool, I’m lucky to be able to converse with them, too, go into the spaces of unusual, remarkable conversations. In many ways, it was K who had first taught me how to do this, back in the days when we were students… in Kyoto… More there, much, much more, to share and talk about. Perhaps at the next ‘N’. (I’ll talk more about that, if you get in touch, with an invitation-request. Ask me anything. The way to do that is through the form here.)
‘N’. Not for everyone. Lol.
But for those who say ‘yes’ and come, it’s… well. It’s ‘N’!
See you tonight: you know who you are. (I hope you got the program password by email yesterday all right). See you in the alley. I’ll be there.
I have sent the first invitations today to an ‘N’ for HCMC. Used to have this page to share about updates but now you know what? It’s easier if I just tag a few posts with ‘play16n’ and search the archives here for what I’ve already written about it. ‘N!’, one of my favorite-ever installation art projects… why? Because it’s about framing ‘onceness.’
If that’s a metaphysical handful, I totally get it. We can just leave it there, at that, for now. Or you can hang out with me and some new people I am working on things with here, where I am. Metaphysics is kind of my jam, these days, and more and more, quieter and quieter, offline, without design, agenda, or even a plan for the day. I’m writing from a cafe with wifi that I came into because I got lost and needed directions (I don’t have a smartphone), so yeah, and start making the invitations for this thing because ‘N’ is so, so great when it *happens*. And *making it happen* is my particular gift.
This picture? These were the sixteen tickets for ‘N’ when I did that, in Bangkok [updated], in 2015. We had 16 that time, as we did at ‘N’ in Hanoi. But I’m trying something new, here. A series of 4. Just four people each. It’s a different style, but I guess I was influenced by social distancing, ergo, a social distancing version of ‘N’.
That’s it for now.
It’s invite-only, but you can go to this page and see how it works if you are curious.
It’s been three weeks since I got to Hồ Chí Minh City. I think. I’ve lost track of the days. There is good news, and better news. I’m happy. Things are going more curiously than they were, up in the Highlands, but maybe that’s because I’m changing. Not the world, but me. Inside-Outside Self was a prompt for ‘Papers’ this past few months, and writing about that, with others in my communities, both in real life and online, has been nothing short of transformational.
They say that happens, when you make time for reflection. I made time for that all my life, but now, it’s like, super turbocharged, or something, because… six months in a block in a foreign land where no one knows me longer than 1 year, et cetera. That’s different from other stuff. I’m reminded of Seven Years in Tibet, a book I really liked, and also, Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance because the author of the latter had spent, what was it, ten years in India?… wandering around… the wondering is the the part I’m doing now, whilst not-wandering, on account of… hi, the pandemic? Yeah. Whilst staying still, I had this idea…
Decided to bring ‘N’ into shape here where I am. Decided, also, to make it a four-person four-part series. Why? Social distancing, for one, but also, the place I have in mind, which, naturally, has an ‘N’ in it, is going to be somewhere that would get overwhelmed quickly with any more than 4 guests at a time where we would meet. That place reminds me of my favorite cafe in the world, Joe Bar, in Seattle. I miss it. I miss the feeling of there. Of going over there just whenever, often a Sunday evening around seven, playing cards with whomever I’ve met through the week and invited to join me, if not this Sunday, then next, why not. I get tired of these things where people are flaky and can’t make a decision about making time for talking in real life. I got tired of trying to make appointments with people largely because I found most people dull (being honest) and I much prefer conversations amongst mixed groups now. So, no more 1:1, for me, not really. Instead: N. Cause, yeah. Just go and host a party, gosh, make the magic moment *happen*. And only amongst those who say ‘yes’ to the invitations to show up for, we-don’t-even-know-what-it-is-yet. That kind of person is my kind of person-I-want-to-talk-more-with. I found a lot of them, too, through ‘N’: London, Bangkok, Phnom Penh was where I started it… and Hanoi, too.
A topic, this time, for this edition of ‘N’, is ‘Nhà.’
Which has emerged, naturally, from conversations of late.
HOW IT WORKS. Slowly, I’ll find the right guestlist for this. It takes time. I’ll just invite the people who seem the most likely to be a fit, as I discover them. Today, V. Wow. That was a great (and short, densely packed) conversation. *Thank you!* Also. Yesterday, T., who may or may not read this (T: if you are reading, it’s really just a small conversation party amongst people who I choose to invite, not so much of an elaborate thing, now that we are doing the social-distancing four-person four-part series version of ‘N’). Yeah…. It’s a conversation, anyway. And an invitation. And U? Did you get my email? Checkit.
This is the invitation.
For the first one of the four-part series, let’s talk about ‘Nhà.’ (Cool? Hard, but let’s do it.)
‘N’ Hồ Chí Minh City: ‘Nhà’
By invitation only
(Date Place Time to be confirmed amongst registering guests)
Who wants to know more? Get in touch. The form is here.
Feature photo: KGM // ‘N’ Phnom Penh, 2014
This week, a fresh co-creation in S P A C E. This is in collaboration through extraordinary conversations with photographer Văn Trần.
He is the feature artist for our 15 September issue of S P A C E.
DK had bumped into him while on the road in one of our usual quiet moments, reflecting quietly and apart from the hubbub of noise and people, in Đà Lạt, Việt Nam. He told us he enjoys cooking and traveling, and, we soon found, also investigates philosophical questions. This is where we found rapport. Like many things in S P A C E, this particular issue was designed, and re-designed, added to, informally printed, tested by sharing it with others to see if there was resonance, and finally, came into the shape that it is today. More specifically, some poetry. A remarkable set of photos. Mix that with a pinch of metaphilosophy, and you have this edition of S P A C E..
‘Some people say my photos are sad, but I don’t think they get it,’ says Trần, defiantly. ‘These are my photos. I love them. They tell my stories.’
You can get this issue, print it, fold it, and make it a little bit your own. Here’s a video, made by DK’s close collaborator in Melbourne Nicki Duncan. You can see how it works when you take the PDF, and print it, to make S P A C E wherever you are in the world.
Where do you get the PDF for S P C | Sài Gòn • Một Buổi Tối Mát Nẻ?…
In our store…
Here’s a link.