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.
But what about the things they love?
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.
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).
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
S P A C E | Dublin, ‘Mary Anne’
A 12-step eWorkshop
TIME IS YOUR MOST valuable asset.
Steer your course into the future knowing what it is that matters.
Forget what ‘they’ say. SELF is for helping you discover and listen to you. You don’t need anyone else to spell it out, but here it is: no one is going to regret it more if you don’t do the work than you. Did you read that article that went viral, a while ago? ‘Top 5 Regrets of the Dying’? >
DK’s next online workshop is SELF. The unique reflection workshop SELF will give you a chance to discover your way to fresh, revealing insights. On you: the inner motivations that are moving you towards your goals, your dreams, and your heart’s desires.
WHO SHOULD JOIN. If you are questioning the goals and methods that you have or are using, then SELF s ideal for you to re-evaluate and confirm your personal values are aligned with what you are doing and making at work.
- If you are in a period of limbo,
- If you are in transition,
- If you have just come out of something or are about to head into a new phase, SELF is a good course for you.
- If you have been through some difficulty or a change,
- Or something has pushed you to question your own goals, vision, mission and values, then SELF is an excellent tool.
SCHEDULE. Posts will be sent weekly. Each week’s is designed to be complete-able within 20 minutes. These are sequenced to help you discover with clarity the pop that makes you very much you, and only you. You will be invited to share also in selected pages of our concurrent conversations going on in very small circles in Design Kompany’s protected-page forums.
WHEN. The virtual course will begin on DECEMBER 15. A Welcome Packet and Syllabus will arrive to you when you confirm your spot by registering here. Thanks!
SPECIAL FEE WAIVER FOR ATELIER S P A C E MEMBERS. It’s free for members of Atelier S P A C E, but if you are not a member, you can register through this link.
What people are saying
HERE ARE A FEW testimonials from guests of THE COJOURNAL PROJECT (2014-2015), SELF (2014-2016) and THE MIRROR (2018-2020)
My writerly friends (those who do so publicly and privately), I’ve been participating in Dipika Kohli’s CoJournal project since just before the new year (2014). It’s a unique project and it’s pretty special. If you’ve been looking for some structure or accountability in your writing – and supportive community in very small groups, this could be for you. Dipika is a compassionate leader and offers some accessible assignments that are helping to shift my writing lens. I love it.”—MH, 2014
“I am writing because I wanted to thank you all for sharing ideas and memoirs, I am very much impressed and really enjoyed the workshop [SELF]. I’ve been working on my writing, and finished one short story which I feel so happy after I finished writing it (it’s in Thai.) I’m working on its English version pretty soon and will send to you all for the feedback. Bottom line is I’m happy to let you know that I’ve somehow overcome my fear of writing, though there’re times when I got stuck with the stories, get distracted, or feel like it’s not good enough – if it was before, I was just going to give up. Now, I feel it challenged me and I find writing more enjoyable. Most importantly, I feel like my writing is getting better too.” –JL, Guest at ‘SELF’, 2014
“I love the space you are creating and holding around the world for deep thought and unusual connection.” —KA, 2017
“Thank you for the opportunity.’ –F, 2018
“Wow, did I enjoy the conversations. So much learning and fresh insights from strangers, old and new friends. If you think you can use some ‘seeing anew’—gaining new perspectives, noticing new sights, becoming aware your blind spots, this might be just what you need.” —AM, 2018
“Warmly recommend it.”–SG,2014
“[This] motivated me more to do what I wanna really do and kick some a**… Thank you, Dipika! —JH, 2016
Qualitative sciences are curious, sometimes. I found something written by Philip Kitcher in his book, The Lives to Come. Not saying that you should read the book, it wasn’t that interesting, but this part was very curious to me. I’ll paraphrase.
The author lists three ways, according to him, that one can evaluate if someone else’s life was ‘with quality’, or not. Why should we listen to him? I’m not sure. I’m not writing newspaper stories these days, just blogging what I wants o I will just say, ‘maybe you can decide if you think the below is interesting and take or leave it.’ I have had it kicking around in ‘draft’ here, for three years.
Let me just tell you these criteria, according to the author.
To paraphrase, they are:
- Knowing what matters. This one is about discovering the journey towards what really counts, for you, personally. Here’s what the questions to ask are: ‘Did the person develop a sense of what is significant? How was the conception of what matters formed?’ I guess it’s important how you got to what counts just as much as it is to know what it is that you put on those blanks, in a list, of what matters.
- Achieving what matters. Related to the last idea, of course, is how did you do with what you knew was important. ‘To what extent is the person’s desires to achieve what matters to her satisfied in a life plan? Did she get there?’ Big questions for sure. But important, right? Looking at what matters to you is fine, but actually taking steps (or having the desire to take steps, to go a step backwards from that), is pretty huge, according to this three-point criteria list.
- Knowing if that arrival was any good. This part was about the levels of real experience the person got to have. I mean, we all have ups and downs, but feeling the feelings through when we do is pretty much what, I think, this is about. One could ask: ‘How did it feel, to achieve the goals set out as that which mattered to a person? What was the character of the person’s experience, the balance of pleasure and pain?’
MASSIVE QUESTIONS, to be sure. What do you think about the above? Would you agree or disagree with Kitcher’s three-point list of what makes for a quality life? Would you add something, and if so, what would it be? If you could eliminate something, what would you take away?
These are the kinds of things that we talk about, in ‘Papers‘.
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.
S P C | Sài Gòn • Một Buổi Tối Mát Nẻ / A Cool Evening
Where do you get the PDF for S P C | Sài Gòn • Một Buổi Tối Mát Nẻ?…
In our store…
Here’s a link.
My first book, The Elopement, was about running off to Ireland to get married. Kind of. I didn’t mean to run off, and I didn’t mean to get married. Lots of things happen in the course of, well, youth.
Reflecting. Writing. Sharing. Namely, about the 20-year journey in the time since the events of The Elopement . Putting the final touches on to my new book, End of the Rainbow. It’ll be published next week.
Time. Sure. Flies.
The writeup about this book is at my writing website, Kismuth. Here’s a link to the page about End.
The lead story here is by Quân Nguyễn. Nguyễn writes about his time abroad Denmark, at a ‘Julefrokost’ party in Aarhus.
Anyone who has struggled with life away and the uncanny unsettled feeling that comes from returning may be able to relate to his story.
It’s called ‘Unnecessary Jackets’. Cover art by DK Creative Director Dipika Kohli.
Here is a link.
S P C | Hà Nội, ‘Bittersweet’
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.
I’m just gonna tell you what it was like. Being out here, where I am. Over… lockdown.
Being known to someone and seeing that person or set of people regularly: that’s been absent, these last four months. It’s a curious and intriguing opportunity, though. To find out things, totally solo, with no agenda, no history with anyone, and even kind of forgetting about the old histories. Which is liberating, too.
My balcony hotel room on the fifth floor was a gift, for three solid months. I am lucky. I think my favorite part was the amazing wifi. I also had a view of the sky, and some stars, on the days before rainy season got going in full swing. Part of why I left there, finally. Also, you were allowed to move around again. And so, me being me, I got in a taxi, then a bus, then another bus. [deleted]
The only things missing are the balcony, wine and the pistachios. Also my Zoom kind of broke. A bit of a story, but… I prefer it this way. [deleted] I’m happy writing. And, a lot. And zining, of course. Setting things up for 23 June and 30 June‘s issues. They’re called ‘Continuous Partial’ and ‘Start with Something Simple.’
Also, I was playing new music, while talking to old, old friends on Zoom and asking after them, also just snacking away on pistachios, because these are good. And it felt quite cozy, too, because this reminded me of a different moment, in another hemisphere, and another decade. Seattle. And with pistachios, that time, too. Also, water. I didn’t have wine, then. I was just so happy, that day. Played some of my favorite music, enjoying the simplicity of it. Knowing what feels good, and setting things up. (HT… well, you know who you are… it’s been more than a decade since we met, wow. I suppose that’s how it goes sometimes.)
It was good, then, and it is good, now.
The next things are coming up now. Wineless, pistachio-less, and balcony-less and even kind of zoomlessly… but what that does is… it…
S P A C E.
HT Guests of ‘Papers‘. Thanks for being there and sharing so, so much. I appreciate it! <3
Today we are working in the cloud to wrap up a very fun, light and intriguing issue of S P C. It’s called S P C | Sài Gòn • ‘Continuous Partial Attention.’
It’s ready for pre-order. Here’s a link.
This issue’s title is ‘Continuous Partial Attention,’ a term that was coined, according to Wikipedia, by Linda Stone. Special thanks to Stone for allowing DK to quote from her work on the center spread, of this zine.
Why this topic? Well! Glad you asked. As anyone who knows DK personally knows, we prefer attentiveness, intention, selectivity, and, of course, our signature personality trait: focus. Exploring deeply into this topic of ‘continuous partial attention,’ we decided to go back and pull a favorite old story from our archives to redistribute this week.
The lead story for this issue is, ‘Undefined,’ by Michael Bridgett, Jr. His work features in other issues of S P C, including Issue #46 ‘An Art of the Moment’ and many more, as he was a contributing editor and early collaborator in helping DK find its footing towards the making of more and better S P C.
Michael Bridgett, Jr.
‘I believe in the power of spontaneity and improvisation–the creation of something powerful in the moment,’ says Michael Bridgett, Jr., also known as Mike Dynamo, a multi-disciplinary artist based in Phnom Penh. ‘And possibly never to be seen again. It allows me to be fully present. When I perform, I draw on the energy of the crowd and the people around me, amplify it, and give that energy right back, ten-fold. It’s my superpower… In my writing, I strive for honesty, speaking about things that many don’t like to talk about. I want to make people think about their assumptions, because assumptions are a direct result of not being present and not engaging with what is in front of you. Of course, sometimes I just want to riff on video games, comics, and movies I love and analyze.’ mikedynamo.wordpress.com
S P C | Sài Gòn • ‘Continuous Partial Attention’ is ready to share !
It’s due to release on 23 June.
It’s ready for pre-order. Here’s a link.
New graphic art and poetry, this week in S P A C E.
Very simple, this one.
Reason is, I’ve been reading about backwards invention and this is kind of the application of that. It’s where you remove features and then you get to something that is less complex and more refined. This is nice, this is working, I think.
Here’s a link.
Are starting to come into shape, now.
Science fiction crossed with zines, and a graphic art that is starting to become the signature style of S P A C E in recent issues: all of that.
‘Static on the Line’ is this week’s issue, with cover art by Dipika Kohli and a science fiction piece by A. Spaice included in these pages, too.
Here’s a link.
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.