A party. A good party. Fun. If it wasn’t fun, what was the point? That’s the philosophy around here. Let’s play.
And now, something I found, to share with you.
Art critic, curator, and historian Nicolas Bourriaud coined the term “relational aesthetics” in his 1998 book of the same name. He’s pretty much inseparable from the concept itself, so chances are you’ll see his name attached (or quoted) wherever you see relational aesthetics pop up. In the book, he defines the term as:
A set of artistic practices which take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than an independent and private space.
Relational aesthetics is still redolent of the 1990s that it came of age in — the beginnings of internet culture, instant communication, and the instantaneous gain and loss of celebrity, but without the same cynicism we’ve developed today. Relational aesthetics pits the artist as experience curator and, I think, has contributed to the destabilization and popularization of the term. Relational aesthetics also carries the baggage of artist-as-celebrity. [Editor notes that it’s not important really what art critics say]
Art critic Hal Foster pointed out in the 1990s that with relational aesthetics, “the institution may overshadow the work that it otherwise highlights: it becomes the spectacle, it collects the cultural capital, and the director-curator becomes the star.”[Editor notes that it’s nice to cite people named ‘Claire’ thus leaves this citation unstricken] Claire Bishop, Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics, pg. 54-55).
Nicholas Bourriaud’s “Relational Aesthetics” (1998)
I love this stuff, like what’s in the picture, just above. So fun! The movie ‘Reality Bites’ comes up sometimes when I read about the academics talking away about ‘relational art’. Dunno why. Or the movie ‘The Wall.’ Or.. well. I’ll talk about it in the series of S P A C E that I’m working on right now, set to be published in the autumn.
Almost all of my events and workshops have places like this embedded in them, for people to engage and interact and connect… with themselves, and the objects that are just… there. I could put some pictures here now to prove that? Maybe I’ll put a few below, whatever’s already been uploaded, okay here they go. Pasted. Also I could point you to the list of all my favorite such ‘installations’, at dipikakohli.com. I called them ‘conversation installations’ sometimes, or ‘salons’ or ‘workshops’ or ‘experiential learning workshops’ or ‘opportunities’ or whatever. I just think they’re fun, though, and when I feel like doing them, I try. I invite. I invite and include widely until the time comes to start. Then the doors close and latecomers will not be admitted. A guest once said that was what was unique, to her, about this stuff. ‘You include a lot of people at hte start of something and then, when it begins, it’s very exclusive.’ Well, yes.
How many emails have I sent to people now inviting them to something in S P A C E? The ratio of the number of people who I’ve invited to become members, a subset of that large group, is very very small. I mean I’m talking less than 1%. Maybe less than 0.1%. I send a hell of a lot of email, as anyone who reads this blog and gets my emails and is like, What is this for?, might wonder. about why, sure. You are included at the start, but not later. Because it takes showing up, for me, to make it be a good moment for the people who make the time and effort to be there, with me, and with each other. For me ‘N’ was about that. Watching the filters do their job and people self-select to be at ‘N’. I love ‘N’.
Okay here are a few pics, below. Excellent. Now, let me get back to writing this week’s issue, working on a sequence for the fall, on ‘Relational Aesthetics.’ See editorial calendar here. Accepting submissions, but from members of S P A C E, which includes anyone who took part in Papers in 2020-21. Cool. See you in S P A C E.
S P A C E started out as a reaction to the mainstream media’s castings of peoples and places that are ‘exotic’ as something ‘other’, to be exalted or observed rather than commingled with.
Maybe it’s colonization that got us perturbed, or the high school British Literature and American Literature course syllabi that were insisted up on us as ‘literature’ without the global context of so, so very much more that can round out one’s perspectives, and challenge one’s beliefs. That, to me, is real travel.
More room for dialogue, more scope for relating, more opportunity for discovering Self in Other… that’s what I wanted to set out to explore and co-create and then record in weekly e-mag format, in this collected series. In the end, or at least, one chapter’s end, it was to spend a great chunk of time uninterrupted in Vietnam (pandemic) in order to find… Solitude.
The series has been going since 2017 and began in Cambodia with the first sequence, ‘A Philosophy of the Moment.’ Here are some of the other collections, made in popup ateliers in the places where we’ve been, looking for the real and the now. In other words, true stories.
The people who tell their stories to us, directly. In the way they speak. After a period of time in which to build trust, and establish rapport. Not everyone is open to it. But a few are. And when I find them, that’s where we do the Atelier S P A C E jam. To make the zine, and our own, co-created and highly curated arrangements, of S P A C E.
A Philosophy of the Moment, Winter 2018
The Book of New Things, Spring 2019
Vietnam and Japan
In the Vernacular, Summer 2019
Latvia, Slovakia and Poland
Trust the Process, Autumn 2019
Malaysia and Vietnam
Uncertainty, Winter 2019
In the Flowers, Spring 2020
Start with Something Simple, Summer 2020
Here & Now, Autumn 2020
Trust, Winter 2020-2021
Comfort, Spring 2021
Summer of Design, Summer 2021
Solving for I, Autumn 2021
Relational Aesthetics, Winter 2021
See all issues from these sets in our online shop:
Are you in transition?
Avail of DK’s short course ‘Design Brand Identity’. Six days’ daily prompts for discovering the core question: Who am I? This is for business owners. Especially those looking to re-center, whilst in a period of transition. It’s based on Dipika Kohli’s 20 years’ experience in: journalism, architecture, memoir writing, self-concept discovery and brand identity design.
Application required. Fees apply, on a sliding scale of USD 65-120. Scholarships available for candidates who fit. Be sure to tell us you’d like to be considered for a full or partial scholarship, in your application.
Feature photo: Bernice Melis
‘Seeing’ No. 1 is a conversation about the art of delivering emotion into one’s photography. What you see is what you get attitudes towards making pictures, we feel, doesn’t get close to the root of what great art can show us. Get to know a person before you snap away their photo. See how they see. Learn how they learn. Love how they love. Then it gets truly… real.
That is thật.
About this event
Learn our top 6 go-to resources for you to discover how to build your brand, from scratch.
In a short course that will begin on Tuesday, we will share our top 6 modules that have worked well for more than 80 small businesses and organizations whom we have worked for in Seattle, Durham NC, and Phnom Penh. DK has created brand identity designs for small and medium-sized businesses since 2006.
You’ll be able to learn, and apply right away, the lessons from our past experiences by working with these exact six tools to figure out your core story, and how you can best tell it to the world.
Today we share an update about #NewCuizines..
I told you about it? About #newcuizines? I’ll be curating here and there some of my favorite food-related [various media pieces] and original stories from the kitchen-atelier of our studio itself. Atelier S P A C E, because. Cooking. Is happening. It has to. There are no take-aways allowed and so, um, you have to prepare things.
I’m glad I have a kitchen, to do that. I’ve made some [deleted]… but these look pretty good…
Yes, you know I am not a foodie. But I do like good food. I mean, eating it. How could I not after three years in the gastronomic paradise of West Cork, Ireland (thank you lads). Well. After all that, I am in Vietnam, one of the most brilliant places to be for food especially if you want to see how creative everything can get with texture, color, composition. Style. I’m enjoying it. Continue reading “I <3 New Cuizines”
Today we share a story that will be published in a July issue of S P A C E. ‘Ready for Anything’ was written by Anonymous in response to a prompt that was part of our May series of ‘Papers’. ‘Papers’ took place over email and in asynchronous, international conversation threads. Anonymous, author of the below, wrote the following in reply to a prompt called ‘Arrivals.’ With permission, we publish it here for you..
Ready for anything
For those interested in finding out more about what sorts of personal ideas that list might include, Anonymous recommends several courses if you are inclined to teach yourself how to do things, and learn online, because everything is ‘just there.’ For those interested in teaching themselves things online, for free, Anonymous suggests this site called ‘online courses club’. Interesting! More soon, about DK’s new project, an online gallery. Watch this… S P A C E.
Researching today for a post sometime soon about social sustainability, especially in Vietnam, I found this on Wikipedia about ‘LOHAS’ lifestyles.
It reminded me of 2006 in Seattle, when DK had just gotten started and when we had, way back then, as we aim to now, I feel, patronized other labels that also support environmentally (and especially socially) sustainable ideals. Truly and sincerely doing this, I mean. Not greenwashing or BS or nonsense. Just. Doing. Good things, in good ways. No one is perfect and of course we all have to make money to live; but that doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice things. Things like, for example, taking the time that it requires to nurture relationships that add value to our lives in other ways, or do the work it must require to foundationally, and bolsteringly, build the communities we want to be a part of because they help us grow. You need to have a structure in place for a form to work well; the structure is the engineering bit. The form is all image-y these days and lacks substance, I feel*, which is why I’m getting back to my core work in Engineering and related fields (environmental work, sustainability, et al). It’s not something I can talk about publicly yet, but maybe, maybe I can later.
[*Aside: For further reading, refer to Guy DeBord’s Society of the Spectacle.]…
If LOHAS came about in the mid-2000s, what about ALOASS. A Life of Authenticity and Social Sustainability, for 202Xs? Hrm.
Much, much more to say about this. Soonish, or whenever it makes sense to share, I’ll get to it. If I want. For now, this is this. Here is this snippet, a kind of footnote for my future post. This bit’s from Wikipedia…
Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) is a demographic defining a particular market segment related to sustainable living, “green” ecological initiatives, and generally composed of a relatively upscale and well-educated population segment. The author Paul H. Ray, who coined the term Cultural Creatives*:“What you’re seeing is a demand for products of equal quality that are also virtuous.” Included in the cultural creative demographic are consumers of New Age goods and services.
Just under half of the CC population comprises the more educated, leading-edge thinkers. This includes many writers, artists, musicians, psychotherapists, alternative health care providers and other professionals. They combine a serious focus on their spirituality with a strong passion for social activism.
Green “Cultural Creatives”
The more secular and extroverted wing of the “Cultural Creatives”. They tend to follow the opinions of the core group and have more conventional religious outlooks. Their world views less thought-out than the core group and less intensely held.
Ray and Sherry Anderson created a questionnaire to identify “Cultural Creatives” in Western society. The characteristics below were identified as qualities of a “Cultural Creative”. Agreement with 10 or more indicates status as a “Cultural Creative”.
- love of nature and deep caring about its preservation, and its natural balance.
- strong awareness of the planet-wide issues like climate change and poverty and a desire to see more action on them
- being active themselves
- willingness to pay higher taxes or spend more money for goods if that money went to improving the environment
- emphasize the importance of developing and maintaining relationships
- emphasize the importance of helping others and developing their unique gifts
- volunteer with one or more good causes
- intense interest in spiritual and psychological development (personal growth)
- see spirituality as an important aspect of life, but worry about religious fundamentalism
- desire equality for women and men in business, life and politics
- concern and support of the well-being of all women and children
- support spending more money on education, community development programs, and the support of a more ecologically sustainable future
- unhappy with the left and right in politics
- optimism towards the future
- involved in creating a new and better way of life
- concerned with big business and the means they use to generate profits, including destroying the environment and exploiting poorer countries
- unlikely to overspend or be heavily in debt
- dislike the emphasis of modern cultures on “making it” and “success”, on consuming and making money
- like people, places and things that are different or exotic
Ray and Anderson: “Values are the best single predictor of real behavior”. The list below outlines the values dictating a “Cultural Creative”‘s behavior:
Authenticity, actions consistent with words and beliefs
Engaged action and whole systems learning; seeing the world as interwoven and connected
Idealism and activism
Globalism and ecology
The growing cultural significance of women
Core “Cultural Creatives” also value altruism, self-actualization, and spirituality.
The concept of “innerpreneurs” to denote persons who create a business that focuses mainly on their own inner goals and development was first introduced by Rebecca Maddox in her 1996 book Inc. Your Dreams The “innerpreneurs” concept is also central to Ron Rentel’s 2008 book Karma Queens, Geek Gods and Innerpreneurs, in which he identified the “Cultural Creative” subculture in entrepreneurship. Rentel named entrepreneurial “Cultural Creatives”, “innerpreneurs”.
While entrepreneurs use their business for monetary gain, “innerpreneurs” use their business to find personal fulfillment (creatively, spiritually, emotionally) and create social change.
“Innerpreneurs” have the defining characteristics of an entrepreneur:
- high need for achievement
- high need for independence
- low need for conformity
- internal focus of control
- love of ambiguity
- propensity for risk-taking
- obsession with opportunity*
[*Editor’s note: Super true, for me, here. Ahem.]
In 2008, there was much discussion in the Western media on the ‘creative economy’ and the importance of the ‘creative class’. Richard Florida published a series of books on this identified ‘creative class’ and their upcoming economic importance. Bill Gates spoke at the World Economic Forum 2008 on the need for ‘creative capitalism’ as a solution to the world’s problems. They theorize that being creative and inventive will be the key to business success in the 21st century and that a country’s economic success will be determined by its capitalists’ ability to mobilize, attract and retain human creative talent. See Douglas Rushkoff for an update on how this evolved.
Use of the term integral
Ray gives the term “Integral Culture” to the growing subculture. He also refers to this as transmodernism, which he refers to as the “Cultural Creatives”. They are concerned with ecological sustainability and in the case of a core group have a commitment to personal and spiritual development. These are individuals who can meld the best of traditionalism and modernism to create a new synthesis, having a cognitive style based on synthesizing varied information from many sources into a big picture. This term can also apply to integral theory, a conceptual framework expounded by Ken Wilber.
Products and services
The marketplace includes goods and services such as:
- Organic and locally grown food
- Organic and natural personal care products
- Hybrid and electric cars as well as city bicycles
- Green and sustainable building
- Sustainable or Ecotourism
- Energy efficient electronics/appliances
- Socially responsible investing
- Natural household products (paper goods and cleaning products)
- Complementary, alternative and preventive medicine (Naturopathy, Chinese medicine, etc.)
- Fair trade products
- Literature in the Mind/Body/Soul, Holistic Health, and New Age genres
- Cortese, Amy (July 20, 2003). “They Care About the World (and They Shop, Too)”. Business Section. New York Times.
- Everage, Laura (October 1, 2002). “Understanding the LOHAS Lifestyle”. Gourmet Retailer Magazine. Nielsen Business Media. Archived from the original on 2015-02-21. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- Judith Rosen (2002-05-27). “Crossing the Boundaries:Regardless of its label, this increasingly mainstream category continues to broaden its subject base”. — Publishers Weekly.
- David Moore (June 17, 2002). “Body & Soul, yoga w/o the yoyos”. Media Life. Archived from the original on November 13, 2002.
- Cohen, Maurie J. (January 2007). “Consumer credit, household financial management, and sustainable consumption”. International Journal of Consumer Studies. 31 (1): 57–65. doi:10.1111/j.1470-6431.2005.00485.x. S2CID154771421.
- Halweil, Brianink =; Lisa Mastny; Erik Assadourian; Linda Starke; Worldwatch Institute (2004). State of the World 2004: A Worldwatch Institute Report on Progress Toward a Sustainable Society. W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 167. ISBN0-393-32539-3.
I found this quote in our 2017 short anthology, S P A C E | ‘Circumference.’
The student then asked, “What should I do next?”‘
‘Oh, look at the fish,’ professor and zoologist Jean-Louis Agassiz said, and left the room.’
Later the prof would say, ‘That is right. A pencil is one of the best of eyes… Facts are stupid things.’
This week in Atelier S P A C E we’re in ‘social distancing’ week three in Ho Chi Minh City. So I have even more time than I did when I was merely doing the existing-today stuff of, um, waiting. Waiting for the pandemic to end. Cause now I can’t really hang out and peoplewatch, even. So I’m home. Naturally. Okay, no problem. I’ll search the archives, then.
Right. Back I go, to Dropbox.
Two years ago in an email that was the precursor to the e-mag, S P A C E, I had shared this by H. Murakami.
‘Today, when the world is growing ever smaller through the spectacular development of the Internet and the increasingly rapid flow of economic interchange, we find ourselves in a pressing situation whereby, like it or not, our very survival depends on our ability to exchange cultural methodologies on an equivalent basis.
‘To turn toward a stance of national exclusivity, regionalism, or fundamentalism, in which nations become isolated politically, economically, culturally, or religiously could bring about unimaginable dangers on a worldwide scale.
‘If only in that sense, we novelists and other creative individuals must simultaneously broadcast our cultural messages outward and be flexible receptors of what comes to us from abroad. Even as we unwaveringly preserve our own identity, we must exchange that which can be exchanged and understand that which can be mutually understood. Our role is perfectly clear.’ —Haruki Murakami, 2006, in an introduction to the collected stories Rashomon and others, by Ryunosuke Akutagawa
After that I had posted an invitation to co-create with me in the Cojournal Project, which led to things, that led to other things, and now, here we are. S P A C E is changing. That’s its nature. But the next things are next, and they involve… food. See Zines & Cuisines? The gallery is at this link: https://www.behance.net/gallery/120909493/Zines-Cuisines
If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.
Right on the money.
Next Monday in Papers, let’s talk about this. Not part of it but curious? See ‘Papers’ at: http://chuffed.org/project/spacethezine.
… Và có lẽ ta nên dành ít thời giờ ở trường đại học làm đầy đầu óc của sinh viên với các nội dung qua các bài giảng, và nhiều thời gian hơn thắp lên sự sáng tạo của họ, sư tưởng tượng và khả năng giải quyết vấn đề của họ bằng cách thật sự nói chuyện với họ.
Mục tiêu của bất sự phát triển của bản thân cũng nên tập trung vào tăng trường bền vững dài hạn chứ không phải lợi ích ngắn hạn. Trong kinh doanh chẳng hạn, ‘hack tăng trưởng’ tập trung vào tối ưu hóa tài nguyên cũng như tạo ra khách hàng tiềm năng. Nếu hoạt động kinh doanh của bạn là một cái xô và khách hàng tiềm năng là nước, bạn sẽ không muốn lãng phí tài nguyên bằng cách đổ nước vào một cái xô bị rò rỉ.
Phương pháp? Atelier S P A C E:)) Đây là những gì chúng ta làm…
‘Giải quyết vấn đề, khả năng đối phó với sự phức tạp và giao tiếp. Nhiều chuyên gia trẻ thiếu các kỹ năng mềm và cứng cần thiết để quản lý và thực hiện các dự án một cách độc lập. Tại Atelier S P A C E, mục tiêu của chúng tôi là giúp thu hẹp khoảng cách kỹ năng đó.’
Xem thêm: chuffed.org/project/spacethezine