S P A C E | Saigon, ‘Miniparty’

LET’S TALK ABOUT learning. How we discover, find, and make new connections. Ideas, shapes of thinking and the input that comes from places that might not be the ‘usual’ ones. No more boring meetings: What are the containers that make great conversations *happen*? Conversations that lead to better collaboration and better work? Those are important. Let’s not waste time. Let’s make things better, together.

Better and more enjoyable: that’s the key.

How do we design the S P A C E that lets fresh thinking flow?

Let’s consider. Let’s discuss.

‘Strange Geometries’ is our first invite-only salon on this topic. Min 2. Max 6.

WHAT YOU’LL GET. DK will share very short introductions to design and lateral thinking methods, including:

  • Grice’s ‘Maxims of Conversation’
  • Six Thinking Hats, a method of opening dialogue.
  • The Open Space Technologies how-to.
  • A copy of the s eBook, Nostalgia Ca Phe (Kismuth Books)

This mini-conversation will be hosted by DK’s Dipika Kohli. She has delivered seminars at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill on the topic of Design Thinking, a series caled SELF as a 9-week experiential program at Stanford University, and for an architects circle in Seattle DK was invited to present, ‘Just Be You.’

Discovering and designing a new zine: ‘S P A C E | Rīga, ‘Lūdzu’

WHOLE LOT OF STUFF inspired this issue of our Latvia series of zines in S P A C E.

This one is called ‘S P A C E | Rīga, ‘Lūdzu’.

I think it’s the best one.

I always say that about the most-recently published.

A good sign, no?

The issues are in our online store. In real life, there will be a launch party in Rīga on 29 May. All the new works will be available to read.

Launch party in Rīga

RSVP for 29 May by ordering a ticket. Order here >

29 MAY | S P A C E | Rīga. This Wednesday, DK will be sharing the printed copies of this issue (and the three that precede it, all made while here in Latvia. in the last six weeks).  We have been getting to know the scene by wandering around in the city, looking at buildings, picking some spots that have a feeling about them that resonates with us, staying a while, revising, meeting people, meeting them again, getting deeper into the conversations, selecting themes, writing poetry, writing plays, writing and photographing, co-creating with people we have met, discovering the feeling that the place gives us, and wrapping them up in this set of issues. But, as we always do before we close out a stay in a new city, we will gather those whom we have built some kind of genuine connexion with. In a party setting. Just once. For the journeys to be described too much would be to offend them: the unexpected is what we are expecting, at this gathering. Those who inspired the stories. This who shared. Those who welcomed DK. Those who gave time, and cared, and shared with us. Are invited.  I’m excited about this, and will look forward to seeing M, I, S, and T, at least, and a handful of others who might decide to RSVP with us. Very limited seats. Advance bookings only. For those who want to experience this, I invite you to RSVP by getting a ticket. Tickets are 12 euro.

 


How we made S P A C E in Latvia

WORKING OUT OF cafes, borrowed living rooms, and kitchen tables since April 16, 2019, DK and friends are making S P A C E stories in photo essay, illustration, collage, and creative nonfiction. There will be four issues of our international zine collection that will be set right here in Rīga.

They are in our online shop.

  • S P A C E | Rīga, ‘Sunny Side of the Street”
  • S P A C E | Rīga, ‘Drift’
  • S P A C E | Rīga, ‘The Weather Report’
  • S P A C E | Rīga, ‘Lūdzu’

For this collection, the works were created by a unique international team: Dipika Kohli, A. Spaice, Zafar Imran, Alexis Jokela, and BOSS. Special thanks for creative consultation with: Nils Don Sihvola (ig) and S P A C E contributing editor, Mike Dynamo. Big thanks also to Zina Olehnoviča for co-hosting ‘Art of Conversation’ with DK in real life at her shop Tortik Time, and to Samir Shukla for commissioning new writing from us, writing about Latvia, for our ongoing column for Saathee Magazine. Also to D, north side of town, like, way, for showing me around and telling it like it is. Don’t know if you’ll see this and know this ‘D’ is you, but wow, you really helped me get going on this project. Couldn’t have made this without your frank comments, dark humor, and other flat and honest sideways observations.

 

 

 

 

Order the zine, S P A C E | Rīga, ‘Lūdzu’…

Meantime, here is where you can order S P A C E | Rīga, ‘Lūdzu’…

 

DK’s picks for ‘Rīga Photomonth’

Update: In the fall of 2019, DK and a new team of friends and co-creators will be posting and sharing about ‘cross cultural design’. The ways we communicate when we are in places where we do not yet know how to articulate ourselves eloquently, for example. A summer 2019 stop in Latvia was, for example, one of these ‘lab’ explorations. We want to update this post to reflect a little bit about how it felt to be there, grasping for meaning, in a world so very different from DK’s own (‘post-Soviet’, et al).

 

YESTERDAY I HAD the pleasure of meeting a smattering of very creative, industrious people at a publisher’s ‘conference’ organized by some people who have ‘conversations’ in their name. Now, if conversations are in their name that means something. So of course, us being conversational types, DK had to go and show up. The first presentation was so dull that DK had to go outside, and pretend to be getting a smoke, in order to pass so many people so obviously, but the slight rain and fresh air helped a lot to take the edge off of what was an ostensible advertisement.

Having the impatience to not go through advertising things in captivity, DK went outside for that phantom smoke. And met… M. (Hi!). And M’s girlfriend, soon thereafter. Both were very kind and looked over our zines from Riga and I hope they will read ‘Janteloven’ from Aarhus because it is pretty good. I gave them the e-link and stuff to get it, and it should be downloadable as a gift, with that, if I got it right.

Lately more gift-giving. More about why, below. After this next section, about Photomonth.

 

Discovering Rīga Photomonth

While bored with the first presentation, I did what Dan Savage used to do when the Seattle International Film Festival rolled around in Sea-town. I did a ‘DK’s picks’ kind of a thing. Borrowed some scissors and rudely cut loudly while the conversation was dead and lecturing at us, and made a shortlist of things I want to go and check out with the wonderful set of options for Riga Photomonth, next week.

The opening week is scheduled for 13-18 May, but the official opening will take place on 15 May at the Museum of Occupation of Latvia.

Here are DK’s picks:

S P A C E investigates, with our field notebook, these events, and so I will show up, I think, personally, to see what I can see. Needed to put them into this calendar, so I have a way of knowing where I should be when, because these programs can be overwhelming to use, and sometimes, when the information design isn’t quite… well, isn’t easy to get a hold of because I think some major things are omitted, here and there, which I only learned because I went t the website to see what things were there and then, yeah, I had to make my little shortlist because who has time to do everything? And I want to see this selfie thing, ‘Lurid Self’ by Honeymoon High, the most. I so do. But also the opening party. That’s gonna be where I start, I think. But yeah. You can find the events in our ‘events’ section that DK picked, or you can just go to the website for Rīga Photomonth, and browse the many, many options and pick something for yourself. But we all know how hard it is to make decisions, so I did the above shortlisting for those who like the aesthetics of DK and will probably like what we had a first-glimpse impression of and said, ‘Yeah, that.’

More about the event. Here is what the organizers say:

Rīga Photomonth is an international photography festival that takes place in the capital of Latvia since 2014. Rīga Photomonth explores and shows photography from Northern and Eastern Europe. The festival’s public programme includes exhibitions, artist talks, workshops, lectures and film screenings. In addition Rīga Photomonth hosts portfolio reviews and workshops for professionals.

Let’s see what happens.

 

Gift-giving and gift-receiving

Why give gifts? Because wow. What goes around comes around, sure. And in recent days, I got three lovely gifts, myself, here in Riga, since I landed. First, a comic book. Next, a painting. By Z. Amazing work. Then, some purple flowers on a simple stem, the very ones I was admiring earlier that day, and they were given to me without any hint of shyness whatsoever (how refreshing) by a young lad who could look DK in the eye. That was sweet. I put them in water, as he instructed, and got off at my floor. The work is coming into shape, too. The presents are making me more present, if you will. I like writing when I am drinking a lot of things: water, milk, and coffee at the moment. I am also in the throes of a new book. I haven’t been this inspired to write in flow like this since 2015 when I was at work at the French house (not really a French house, but occupied, and I do mean occupied, by five Parisians, which was a headache, for me, personally, in that they didn’t get it that one who writes stays home to write when everyone else is leaving and doesn’t have time to run errands because ‘you look like you have so much free time,’ ahem), well, yeah. Okay, rant aside this is the story about Rīga, right?

So yeah. Yesterday. Was good. I met so many people I wrote a bunch of notes and promised myself I would do a complete writeup on the outpourings of wonderful feelings that come when you show up in a place that is ready to receive you, ready to entertain your wacky suggestions of conversation salons (like that time I tweeted to P, ‘I have an idea’), and things get to happening when you get responses. (If you don’t get responses, you have to stop taking it personally, I learned, and move on to where you get them. In this entire country, jazzy as it is without knowing that, or how post postmodern it is, and teaching me what the hell that even is, by simply being it, and cool about it, so cool in that it doesn’t even know it, or profess to be anything, which I think, ‘undefined’ is the whole thing about PPM. And we did have some weird converstions int he salon, ‘Postmodern Nomads,’ but they dwindled to a natural ending and I left them there, closed that door, opened this one, and whoa.) I’m in the world of things that are new and spirited, at least to the underinformed eye. With this eye, I take the pictures, and put them into S P A C E. The third issue in the series S P A C E | Latvia is almost done. I wrote the story last night, and today, and tomorrow, and probably the whole week to come, I’ll work on it more and more until it’s ready. But then, another week, and another issue. Such is the life with a weekly e-mag. Shazam!

Photo: Rīga Photomonth

Atelier S P A C E | Riga

Make a ‘zine’ with DK. Get to know more about the DIY-style of publishing a mini-magazine. Techniques, templates, samples and demonstrations are all part of this short, sweet creative workshop that has been traveling Southeast Asia and N. Europe since 2017.

Discover S P A C E, the conversations and the zines. Make, take, converse, and enjoy. Learn more about DK’s Atelier S P A C E and couture zines at instagram.

Workshop fee: €15, includes workshop materials + 1 coffee or tea.

Max 8.

Art of Conversation

Meet DK in real life for conversation about whatever we discover about one another, when we make time for real life. And some really incredible cakes. Join DK for this short and sweet real-life popup conversation party. Small. Cozy. Relaxing. No need to prepare anything, come with an open mind and a story to share. Your ticket includes one cake + coffee or tea + a surprise mini-gift like the small book, ‘The Book of New Things,’ pictured below.

Explore, together, the lost art of conversation. If you are creatively inclined, come to the event and while you are here ask us about opportunities to be published in our weekly magazine, S P A C E. Currently writing a series of fresh issues each week, which are set in Latvia. You can learn about this work to make a mini-magazine every week, at our website. Questions? Get in touch wtih us through the form at our contact page.

Languages: English, Latvian

Update: Find ‘Art of Conversation’ event on FB.

Art of… Cake

If you know me, you know I like quiet, off to the side places, where not that many people go, and if they do, they’re super regular and super local. This discovery of what I feel, personally, makes a great space (ie S P A C E), is something that I understand now is a particular thing and not a general thing. A few people, an immersion in the moment, the conversations being the focus and not the other jazz that distracts from that. Hours can go by. But we will budget two. For the real-life popup in the city of Latvia that DK will be in on 7 May to host ‘Art of Conversation.’ Details. Free for members of S P A C E, else, there’s a small cover but it includes a drink + cake  + a mini-gift from DK.

Update: Find ‘Art of Conversation’ event on FB.

S P A C E | How to co-create with DK

For the spring of 2019, DK and friends are co-creating the zine series, ‘The Book of New Things.’ Everything that we made so far in S P A C E has been a collaboration with people who have *shown up* for: events, ateliers, online programmes, and conversation parties—for at least two years. It takes time to develop. To progress. To build trust, rapport, and find continuity in a theme and give it enough space to grow. We learned through trial and error about this, because sometimes things go really well (but that’s just 1% of the time). And by ‘really well’ we have a pretty high bar: you have to be able to feel great about the collaboration, which means, being able to trust each other and say ‘this isn’t working, let’s improve it?’ and not worry if that means they’re going to get annoyed, offended, cry, spit at us, or go away. But of course those things happen too. Including spitting. Yes. Sometimes people just really don’t like it that you are doing your own thing, impolitely going against the grain and bucking the status quo. They really have a problem with that: and you know what? It’s not our problem. Frankly, it’s, well…it’s drag. In basic high school physics we learn about the coefficient of friction. Kinetic friction, static friction, whatever it is, it’s friction. And drag. Letting go is a thing. Letting. Go.

 

Lighter load, quicker step

ATTENTIVENESS. With this attitude, especially of late, I have personally lost a number of acquaintances and ex-friends along this journey: mostly due to a lack of alignment in vision. We are seeking S P A C E and quality, connexion and meaning-making, discovery and much, much more–see the ‘why’ in the outline below.  But sometimes you have to let go of things in order to invite the new and next. FOMO has an opposite: I will be sharing about that, when up to 16 guests will join us, for the orientation session for ‘The Book of New Things.’ Starts 5 March. Read more about how to get started.

 

 

‘Let’s make something’

Crowdfunding page with full details of the back story of S P A C E the zine

S P A C E MAKERS. Some of the people we co-created with to make Atelier S P A C E and the 12-set zine collection ‘A Philosophy of the Moment’ are acknowledged on our contact page. Many special thanks also to all of our fiscal supporters, whose names are at our crowdfunding page. To KIT with DK about co-publishing books, join this mailing list for a short overview of what’s coming up this year.

The invitation

Atelier S P A C E | Finland, 2018

MOVEMENT. New and different. Fresh and original input. Wide perspectives. As DK continue to find out more about new places, new people, and unearth as best we can the very stories that connect us all, we are ready to invite new guests to join in the co-creation journey. But… one step at a time. This is why we’re starting to invite new and different others to connect with us in a meaningful way, and this new project is a light first step towards doing that. It’s called ‘The Book of New Things.’

‘Fade’ // DK // Northern Finland // 2018

Here’s how it works.

WHAT IT IS. A digital mini-magazine, published every week and shared with DK’s international network of creative people in the community called S P A C E. The idea is to create a platform for a self-selecting, highly motivated set of people to work on: developing a piece of writing; finding a way to connect with editors, photographers, illustrators and designers; networking; working in collaboration under the artistic direction of Atelier S P A C E at DK in order to create a finished piece that has real depth, complexity, meaning, and… art. An example of something co-created in this style is the poem about New Year’s in Vietnam, which you can read (in Vietnamese only) at this page.

WHERE. This is an online conversation.

WHEN. The online conversations begin on 5 March 2019.

MEMBERSHIP IN S P A C E. For those interested in developing a 1:1 conversation with DK’s creatitve team for advice, customized feedback, and tailored direction and consultation as we go, we invite you to become a member of S P A C E. The membership signup page is a crowdfunding one, and you can find it here.

WHO WE ARE. So far the creative team and co-hosts have been an international set of people that love to converse, connect, and talk over time to get to know each other and to find introspective moments, both individually, and together, too. Big thinking, big picture. You’ll be invited to any real life events taking place near you (we will be in Tokyo, Hanoi, and Riga). Here is the contact page at DK that tells you more about our team and collaborators.

WHY. Because some of us are still interested in depth, quality, conversation, connexion, and… meaning-making. Because some of us can see through facades and are bored with them. Because some of us love collaboration, whereby something better than we each could have made together gets made… in S P A C E. To KIT with DK about co-publishing books, join this mailing list for a short overview of what’s coming up this year.

‘The whole is something other than the sum of its parts.’

 

Currently: Making S P A C E in Việt Nam

DK are on the road. Indefinitely. Again.

Putting all the stories together in-situ, both for friends, for editors I know and whose work to help me make things better is very much welcome and valued, and for the guests who are part of our online forums and are subscribers to our online community, S P A C E.

Progressions

Without S P A C E conversations, things wouldn’t develop or progress: we wouldn’t have richness and complexity, and continuity, without which stuff just stays superficial and boring and rah-rah ‘be like me’ style of blogging or lifestyle crud that doesn’t help anybody in any way at all, if you really look at it underneath the veneer. Who wants to read a blog or writing by someone they don’t know? Think about that. That’s why I’m focused *only* on writing my very bestest stuff for S P A C E. And friends. And, of course, collaborators.

Coming up to the middle of February and we’ll start sharing the on-the-road zine-making progress in real life at popup salons in cities and towns around Việt Nam.

First one is set for 19 February. Today I’m inviting a handful of curious people I’ve met in recent weeks, who are based the city of… well. You can click the link.

 

Next

I’ll be editing and cutting, pasting and sewing, these into miniature books and sharing those out by postal mail—yes!—since the service is excellent here, at the end of my time in this country and before the next one. So as to make more and better—and different-er—S P A C E. Follow the story–and be a part of it (interactive forums starting soon)–when you subscribe and get our weekly zine.

 

 

S P A C E | ‘What is important to learn and know about?’

‘THAT IS EPISTEMOLOGY.’

‘Hm?’

‘Epistemology.’ [The branch of philosophy that studies the nature of knowledge, its presuppositions and foundations, and its extent and validity.]

‘Um.’

‘Do you know what that is, DK?’

‘No.’

‘Oh.’

‘…’

‘Well we should have coffee sometime. What you’re saying is very interesting. I’d like to continue.’

‘Well. I’m not doing coffee dates these days. I get tired of all the admin that comes with setting them up and moving them around. I like hosting stuff where you just combine everybody, now. Or trying to get a really intriguing discussion going, like a salon. Did that in India, a six-part series, talking about modernity and change in Sikkim… Beautiful place, have you been? Hm? Oh, Gangtok. Really great. Oh! I also really liked taking about the creative process in a thing called ‘MAKE.’ What? Yeah. I do. I really do. I like titling things. Concept art is that, really. You set it all up before hand and the art happens when it starts… you let it just play.’

‘…’

‘But yeah. Salons. Fun. Plus, placing people together in a highly designed space, S P A C E, I call it now, is, um, waaaay more interesting to me. To share and connect across well, chords of a circle, in a way. Hm? Chords? Sure, I can explain. Like this, wait. Let me show you.’

[Takes out sketchbook and a black pen. Draw this:]

 

 

 

 

‘See? Isn’t that more interesting, now, than just one li’l ol’ chord, on its own?… I really prefer the relational aesthetics, to just this thing. I kinda talk about it a lot more on my website. But yeah. Chords. Remember geometry in tenth grade? Wait, here. Where’s my red pen… Oh, there. Okay, I’m ready:’

[Draws:]

 

Chord: ‘A line segment connecting two points on a curve. The red line segment connecting two points on a circle’s circumference is a chord. Note: when the chord passes through the center of a circle it is called a “diameter”. Different, la.’

 

 

[Nervously] ‘Uhhh… Well I was thinking just coffee.’

‘Coffee dates with me tend to go on for two or four hours. Not even kidding. And with some people, 10 hours. And….’ [Smiling] ‘… once, for like, twenty days. Two years ago? That was fabulous, rare, beautiful, artful, insight-making, maturifying, two years on… even better. And we’re still talking. We talk like hell. It’s weird. I love it. But yeah. And I’m trying to get a new venture started, right now. A magazine called S P A C E. So, no? Besides, we just met.’

[Hurt] ‘But… but… I don’t get to have conversations like this ! You’re making me think. About things. In new ways. I can’t talk like this with my best friend, or my wife, or my colleagues. I really want more of this… Can we? Aren’t I just amazing? Besides, I’d like to get to know you better. Personally.’

‘Best thing to do is join one of our online programmes, ‘Philosophy of the Moment Section B’ starts soon, or come to one of our events. Or join the mailing list to see what’s going on. It’s all kinds of conversations like this. These are the active spaces. Meet me and everybody.”

‘Um. Well I only have a little time. So I could meet for coffee.’

[Ad-lib. Repeating the part about events and mailing lists. Elaborates on why. Goes into depth about the meaning of social spacemaking] ‘…. whatever remains after a set of  ‘get to know you’ seasons, I like to make something. With them. S P A C E is the thing I’m interested in. S P A C E quests S P A C E…’ [Smiling]

 

 

 

‘Well. That sounds hard and time-consuming.

[Stubbornly] ‘Nothing worth doing should be an instant gratification. If quality is important, I mean. To me. To me, it’s like this: Art. Takes. Time.’

‘…’

‘…’

‘Are your parents Marxists?’

[Laughs]

This is part of a series, 100 conversations. Underwritten by members of S P A C E.

Zinemaking workshop: Atelier S P A C E || Phnom Penh

Meet new people. Make a zine. Share the journey of the creative process over this unique, once-off weekend conversation salon cum real life workshop. We’ll meet three times over the 3-day weekend workshop. Date, time, and place to be shared with those who are selected to take part. We’ll add the final works to our S P A C E || Cambodia collection, which has featured at the Singapore Writers Festival and the Georgetown Readers and Writers Festival, in 2017. Discover more when you apply. Apply here.

Popup art installation in KL: ‘Art of the Z I N E’

A party. A popup art installation. A conversation, or a set of them, in something we like to call S P A C E. This time, DK and friends are gathering for an informal party to share with new guests the feeling of going into the unknown, looking around, finding a story, and sharing it out. We’re celebrating zines and zine culture.

We’re connecting with people we know already, and inviting new acquaintances to join us. DK makes Connecting and interconnecting you. A remarkable, once-off event lies ahead–the question is, will you experience it? Take the S P A C E challenge. Meet us in real life for a special event like no other on the 2F of FEEKA. Explore, experience, connect, and discover. That’s what we’re doing, at 15 September’s party ‘Art of the Z I N E.’

Zines. Conversation. Real life.

***

Art of the Z I N E

 A popup art installation

#atelierspace

“ZINES” adalah koleksi artikel pendek yang disebarkan dengan quantiti yang kecil. Dalam era dimana berita internet yang boleh mengelirukan dan tidak benar #fakenews, “Zines” boleh membawa gambar dan kata-kata yang benar dan tidak ditapis. “Zines” juga membolehkan kita menyampaikan pendapat dan cerita antara satu sama lain.
***
Zines. Conversation. Real life. In an age where the internet can confuse and lie to us, ‘zines’ (xeroxed short publications we make ourselves and give our friends) give us a tangible grip on the *here and now*, and remind us that at the end of the day, *we* get to create and write our own stories: the stories of our lives, the stories that remind us who we are. Eat. Drink, and relax with us and others interested in zines, zine culture, DIY publishing, meeting new people, and trying new things. Hosted by artist Dipika Kohli, Design Kompany.

FEEKA Coffee Roasters
19 Jalan Mesui
Wilayah Persekutuan
Kuala Lumpur 50200

Saturday, 15 September

6-9pm
Ages 16+
RM 10

R E G I S T E R

***

Dipika Kohli

About Dipika Kohli

This event will be hosted by our founder and creative director, Dipika Kohli. She is an author and artist. She was an editor for newspapers in southwest Ireland and in Seattle, WA USA. Dipika was a speaker at TEDx (watch) and a guest author interviewed live on NPR (listen). Lately, she’s hosting Atelier S P A C E to bring people who love to write, talk together, and learn new things into conversation salons and workshops in which they can co-create short, 8-page zines. Discover the collection, S P A C E, at http://designkompany.com/space-the-zine.

 

DK 2018 | Finland

 

** Special thanks to KJoe Wong for his help on the Malay descriptions.
Also to Alex Anthony at Feeka for co-hosting Atelier S P A C E | KL events with us.

Learning Finnish

KATSOTAAN.

‘Let’s see.’

That’s Finnish, ‘katsotaan.’

Not sure why, but it sure seemed to come up a lot in conversations. And maybe that’s why the next word I learned was ‘maybe.’ Things are always, it seems, in a kind of flux. You just have no idea what’s going to happen. You live in a countryside town, and you’re a farmer, say, and the things that evolve in the day have nothing to do with what you might have imagined, at the start of it. Staying flexible and being open to things suddenly veering is part of the everyday mindset. It’s actually kind of beautiful: you let things happen, you don’t go in there with an agenda and a list of things ‘to do.’ Summer in Finland and these things became clearer and less intense; the idea that you have to ‘produce’ is somehow out the window. For better or worse. Some of the new people I had met told me how they feel like it’s a bit of a drag, sometimes, like not having ambition could be a way you perceive this lack of momentum or the lack of some kind of urge to ‘do something.’ Thinking about things sometimes substitutes for doing things, as I learned, on my last night, talking away to the last person of the series of many, many chance encounters that informed the conversations that led to the knitting together of a new narrative. I’ll tell you more about that, tomorrow.

Meantime, let me get the final edits done.

There are a lot of people I wish to acknowledge, people who contributed to the making of this series, and I had first mentioned them at this page. Doesn’t hurt to underscore my gratitude, I think, by sharing again. So here we go. Many warm thanks for the great conversations to: Eveliina Karsikas, Asta Sinerva, Sirpa Heikura, Simo-Sakari Niemelä, Fırat Taşdemir, Johan Engström, Maria Raasakka, Sanna Upola, Rastislav Somora, Seo Jin Ahn, Ana-Maria Ovadiuc, Charles Tirkey, Saarah Choudhury, Benjamin Nwaneampeh, Joanna Ohenoja, Paavo Heinonen, Reijo Valta, Eero Österberg, and Merja Vedenjuoksu. 

Northern Finland II // Photo by DK, 2018

 

 

Not chatting up strangers, but then, doing it anyway

‘Going digital’ // Art by Dipika Kohli, 2012

AT A CAFE. In between meetings. Next to me there are two people in good conversation, in English, but occasionally Japanese. This is my other language. I am resisting, it is hard, the urge to say something to them. I have this weird and occasionally surprising knack for chatting up strangers and somehow, making solid acquaintanceships in a very compact space of time. Why this is probably has everything to do with the charm of my father, which I think has a lot to do with finding the silliness in the everyday moment (at least, when my mother allows it). Rest of the time they are both pretty serious, or pretending to be. When I think back on the most extraordinary and fulfilling times with my folks, I always feel like we were in transit somewhere, far from the social programmes and mores of the places and communities in which we were rooted. Movement became the kind of thing that set the stage for engaging. Deeply. Curious and different others were somehow very attractive; sometimes my mother would hold back and let my father fly into his own world of talking away to people he didn’t know about topics ranging from thermodynamics and entropy to the kinds of things that one talks about in the middle of a trip from Away to Home, whatever those things were. I don’t know. I would just be hanging out playing cards or something with my little brother; the topics and their content were irrelevant. What mattered was the people who were there, smiling with my father, smiling away. Being in real life. Being in the throes of it. Being noticed. Noticing. For a moment, the shared space. Which nowadays I design for in my own world, making architecture of social spaces, and remarkable human connexion, in the thing that happens online and in real life in the project that since 2016 I’m calling S P A C E. It’s nerdy. I know. So? I like that. And the mentor for this was, of course, my dad. I still remember my father trading postal addresses in the 1980s with total strangers he’d chatted up at, say, Frankfurt Airport, on our way to and fro. My mother would kind of be like, ‘What the hell?’ But, I wish she could have just noticed it. My father likes the new and different. is curious. Is open to trying new things. That is the spirit of innovation, really, isn’t it? Going to the edge, and past it, and exploring to the next-to-now. It’s actually quite in-demand, now. This business of being open to the new. It’s called ‘innovation consulting.’ You go around the world a few times and you start to find ways to make your skills work for you in weird and curious ways. Be open. Say yes. Show up. Try new things. You just have no idea where the next gig is coming from. Just around the corner, you’ll find it, if you’re open to it. The gems. Staying put is boring, for the likes of people like me. (Dad, are you reading this? I think you should go on a trip sometime, maybe with me, maybe with Mom, but really. Trips are where we flourish.)

 

Starting all over

KEEPING THINGS IN CHECK, maybe, by not getting too carried away with being too joie de vivre-y. Sure. This is more normal, I suppose. I guess that is just a self-limiting thing. You have to do what you have to do in order to maintain a kind of decorum, ‘in the eyes of society,’ Words of the pragmatists, who used to be friends, who have been slowly but confidently let to drift on a long, loose line and not quite cut from my current life but, well, yeah, I guess more or less cut.

Here’s the thing. Caring about what society thinks… you think that you have to. But what if you don’t? What if you don’t have to worry about that? What if what other people thought about you, and what you say, and what you do, and how you do it, and even more importantly, what if you yourself stopped caring about your image, what your words are perceived to be (by you perceiving the predicted perception—you see how this is a little unwieldy?), what you do, and how you do it? What if, what I’m saying is this, now, what if who cares what the reaction is to your self-driven initiative to go out into the world and see what’s there?

What I’m saying is, ‘What if you could just be yourself, the real you, the honest you, the totally unedited version of you. The one you were when you were, like, 8.’ What if? Would you find it easier to chat up strangers? Or, would you come to the realization that it’s not even that important-–the most important thing is knowing what you care about.

You don’t have to pretend like you are some kind of a big deal just because you can get into a conversation with anyone. Even E., on a crosswalk yesterday, on her way from Sydney to England via everywhere that she wants to go in between. (Hi, E.! Yes, I was listening).

Making friends in the cafe.

Making friends on the bus.

Making friends in the…. crosswalk.

Well, so?

I love that.

Let’s keep it going. Let’s keep the conversations in flow.

Let’s chat up the strangers. But not now, not today. Today I’ve got to finish some books.

Here’s to the journeys, the new, the near, the now, and the next.

***

OMG. I couldn’t help it. Chatted. They are so nice!

At rest while in motion

CHECKING IN. Catching up. Conversing. In real life, on voice, through the space that is the forum ‘Slow Moment,’ and, in this odd but one:many way, through the blog. It was 2006 when the blog began; I remember. I had been to Gnomedex, a bloggers’ conference (HT CP), and while everyone else was on laptops typing and talking on twitter, I think, (‘this is the backchannel conversation,’ someone informed me, educating me on this digital stuff like no one had at my newsroom), I was there with an old-fashioned reporter’s notebook and a pencil. The notebooks had been in the closet in the storeroom at work. Work was a newspaper. A daily. I went daily, to write things. But the things that we were writing had, I saw fully and clearly, no relevance or bearing on this other group of people. The people who were writing what was going on now. In new ways. Ways that I hadn’t been even remotely aware of. Those of you reading who are digital natives, be forgiving. I am ill-adapted to the modern modes of communication, sorry.

 

 

This used to be ‘high tech’.