TODAY WE ARE SHARING the last of the 12-week set of zines in the S P A C E | Winter 2018-19 collection, ‘A Philosophy of the Moment.’ This was created with new and different others in our digital zine project, S P A C E. The last zine in this set is S P A C E | Malmö, ‘Vakt.’
A new series, S P A C E | Spring 2019, ‘The Book of New things,’ is set to begin on 5 March. This is thanks to crowdfunding support. No ads. 100% member-supported. No endorsements, no BS. Learn more about S P A C E and how to subscribe, as well as see our schedule of upcoming issues to be co-created in S P A C E through June, at our crowdfunding page, here.
S P A C E | Malmö, ‘Vakt’
‘Trust the process’
Special thanks to Joji Minatogawa, a very creative person and an architect. I just added him to our contact page under ‘mentors,’ after clearing it first with him over the phone. I really am glad we can still call around the world and see what people are up to, and let them know that we are still here, still curious, still interested, and very much appreciative of the old conversations that went places. Because now, together, here we are. Some of us are still at it: asking the big questions. Questing one another, and the ideas that might come out for a very special, very quiet, very intimate sort of dance. Now, learning to quietly add the right bits and take out the wrong ones, until further getting that good stuff, the good stuff that’s left. Refinement. I am noticing, reading, listening, and still curious. Thanks for the conversations so far. It’s getting really good, now.
‘Design is making meaning. Art is making connexion:’ A. Spaice
Feature photo: ‘Internet I Hate You’ popup installation by Dipika Kohli, at Noir Kaffekultur in Malmoe, November 2015
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’
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.
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.’
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.’
Today, in S P A C E, we share S P A C E | Rovaniemi, ‘Arctic Circle.’ Discovery. Connexion. Recommencements. And starts. But most importantly: showing up for the I-don’t-even-know-what-it-is-yet.
‘Arctic Circle’ is heavily inspired by a conversation that had begun in a southeast Asian locale, in autumn of 2016, and moved around in cyberspace before recommencing in the north of Finland almost exactly, if my calculations are accurate (and they’re only perfectly accurate 4.85% of the time) two years thence. A very important thread, for me,
I’ll refrain here from too much wordage, as is my unwieldy, cumbersome and ‘getting murky with communicating, DK’ habit. That’s why for this issue, I made a fresh commission. This one, a photo essay. ‘Arctic Circle’ is a set of images that are interpretations of what I had shared with BOSS.
Including, but not limited to: zines, bits of leaf, some twigs, a large wooden button, thin strips of the trunk of a birch, Queen Anne’s lace (pressed, flattened), black tissue paper, words, glyphs, and… um. Moss. (I was worried they wouldn’t let me pass through immigration with this last.) His photos turned out to be more than I could have put together in any kind of series myself: owing to the fact that the new and different emerged. Fresh eyes. Listening.
Read more about the way this story came into shape, in the first place, or get a copy of the issue, S P A C E | Rovaniemi, ‘Arctic Circle’ at either of these links at the end of this post.
Special thanks to Sanna Upola at KärsämäkiLibrary for challenging DK to make this set of writings from Finland more interesting than it could have possibly been without your input. Atelier S P A C E | Finland benefitted greatly from our conversations, for sure.
After, I met more helpful people briefly at an intriguing section of art books at Korundi Art Museum, and amidst all the great natural lighting flooding insets where I could probably have stayed for years, quietly writing and reading and musing about Art and Design and Architecture, at the Rovaniemi City Library.
Wow, the famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto‘s design has exquisite sunken insets and exciting natural lighting. No wonder a handful of architecture students whom I asked about what they were doing observing and making notes and documenting strangers with photos were up to, at first a little skeptically, then more convivially, chatting them all up and asking not to be photographed while also inquiring about natural ventilation. They’d come all the way from Japan, made the trip, specially, to study it. Thanks also to Arktikum for press passes to help DK research and find context to make Atelier S P A C E | Rovaniemi.
And speaking of putting a thing together after contemplating it, here’s how to get the issue itself… ‘Arctic Circle…’ It’s free for collaborators and current members of S P A C E. Also available as a single issue download (USD $7). Click this pic to below to order it at our online store. Delivers instantly.
‘Art, at its best, is a conversation. One in which sender and receiver are locked in a timeless, wordless space, the quality of which only they can know:’ –Dipika Kohli, S P A C E | Palo Alto, 2014, in a conversation with the people who inspired S P A C E the zine.
As consultants, DK’s work is about discovering a strong concept of ‘why’ one does the work that one does. We use a lot of techniques to uncover that exact main idea, but the biggest tool we put into practice is dialogue. On a more personal note, DK’s founders and collaborators are generally curious, and interested in the art of conversation, so together we host events to gather in one moment those whose paths might not have otherwise crossed.
ART OF CONVERSATION. Central questions of identity, possibility, and search are the points from which DK’s inquiry takes its departure. Who are we becoming when we venture to places, and engage with cultures, the rules and shape of which we do not yet know? Dialogue is at the center of DK’s take on leveraging the best of the creative process, and it lies at the heart of all that we do. Whether we are in a client meeting or getting acquainted with a potential new friend, we are listening as best as we can. Through time, and sharing, there comes a moment when we arrive together at a conceptual ‘a-ha’. This is the breakthrough, and from here, the poetry of the connection becomes refined, nuanced, developed, and… more interesting.
DK was founded in 2004 in Seattle, WA, USA. Since that time, DK has worked with 100+ business owners of companies both large and small, as well as international development organizations. See what people say about working with DK.
Be a part of things to come
Are you ready to take part in something very new, and very much about exploring the ways to connect, and interconnect, new and different others? The best way to be part of DK is to support our work, first. To do that you can become a subscriber of S P A C E for USD $7/week, or make a donation, at our crowdfunding page. Or, show up in real life at any of our events. New projects ahead for 2020. KIT when you support this work to make more and better S P A C E.
In 1996 Michael Haerdter of Berlin’s Künstlerhaus Bethanien called artists ‘post-modern nomads’ or ‘wanderers between cultures’. Migrating artists, he said, ‘belong with the many transcultural messengers of a world whose keywords are nomadism and globalism.’ Goes on to say the fact that we see the invention (and spreading about) of residential art centers relates to the need of artists ‘to experience the world and its many environments and cultures, to realise in situ research and projects, to be temporarily part of creative communities, and to profit from the opportunity they offer for exchanging ideas and know-how.’
‘Postmodern nomads’: new salon
Let’s talk about it. Let’s meet, converse, connect and discuss, and get to places because of progressions and continuity, which can only come with a longitudinal axis of trust-building. Over. Time. Are you ready to begin this kind of trek with us? This one is a build on what we had begun in early 2018, with ‘Notes.’
It’s a special online salon about postmodern nomadism, or whatever else we want to talk about there. Note: eligibility; this open invitation is for those who are new to DK this year.
Starting in March, there’ll be much more to say. In online forums. These happen every week when I share prompts, in our online community, through email. It’s pretty straightforward and it works well, because it’s just a handful of us, for each conversation space. Curated because of the gut-feeling that ‘this works with that, I think,’ or ‘maybe so-and-so would enjoy meeting so-and-so,’ and that’s how t begins. In the style of ‘N’, and other of our events, workshops, ateliers, and gatherings, it’s about who shows up more than it is about what we each have to say… listening is the point. Seeing what emerges. That’s how each topic got started, in fact. Breakout sessions when a certain thread or strand was developing. Asking members and guests-who-could-enjoy-membership-if-they-let-themselves-make-time to weigh in with 2c bits and pieces. The new things are starting. It’s a lot of fun, already, in preconversation salons that are getting things into alignment.
‘No! I don’t like that company ! The way they treat people and–‘
‘Listen. Amazon’s not going to change and people are still going to use it, whether or not you have qualms with the way they treat people. So why not just use it? Why not make money on the side while you’re doing these other things?’
‘Nobody buys my books ! Hardly.’
‘Well somebody does, right? Somewhere, sometime.’
‘Usually if I meet them, then yeah, it’s so… interesting… it’s like this one-click thing and…’
‘Well, yeah. And why not let yourself benefit from that, instead of just keeping everything on some obscure website in a hard-to-use way, because you disagree on principle with Amazon?’
‘The man’ vs the individualist
‘I see your point.’
‘Yeah, yeah. Selling isn’t bad. But I just don’t wanna use Amazon. I don’t like how they put me next to the other titles and I totally don’t want to be in those pigeonholed categories. So I’ll just make S P A C E. Every week, and see what happens and get to know more about it and see, you know? See.’
‘But, what you really need to be doing is writing another book.’
‘I feel like just making more zines though.’
‘A book is a commitment. And no one reads my books.’
‘You don’t know that.’
‘That’s, um. That’s true.’
‘So what are you going to do?’
‘Write. And let it happen. Whatever it is, it is.’
Get our weekly zine S P A C E, sent directly to your inbox every Tuesday at 7AM USEST. Subscribe here.
I’m enjoying searching around about typography design, lately, for example. My old typography consultant kind of ‘ghosted’ on me, which is a tough thing to accept but I have to move forward, so I’m looking up things on the internet now*. It’s so funny. The first vid I watch about typography and layout design looks like something he would have hated, because it’s all about really modern type, and I still remember asking, ‘Did you watch that movie Helvetica?’ and him going, flatly, ‘I hate Swiss type.’ Truthfully, though, I’m a teensy bit disappointed that we couldn’t carry forward working together on the zines that DK and our newer teams in S P A C E are making now, see our crowdfunding page for more about that, but I suppose that we are doing something kind of experimental and less formal but also more curious, and maybe that kind of ‘free jazz’-like stuff just isn’t his cup of tea. Or he got married. Or had a kid. Sometimes people disappear when either of these two events take place.
2002-now: New directions
SINCE I’M NOW making more and more stuff here at DK’s S P A C E with cool contributors from far and near, I’m realizing I better up my game with type, and graphic design. I’ve always been a fan of layout and was a staff designer for a while at a small community newsweekly in southwest Ireland with the very great and wonderful Mary O’Brien (heya Mary!), lucky me.
I got to do all kinds of things there in the way of figuring-it-out-as-you-go, but it was with a heavy heart that after we did a lot of issues together I decided to part ways from the new adventures that she and others were beginning, and are still going very strong with now, it seems, with what’s today called West Cork People. Fair play, lads.
It always makes me smile to see that it’s still going, as they say in West Cork, ‘from strength to strength.’ At least, it sure looks like it. Anyone who works in publishing, though, knows that we have to keep on keepin’ on. But what I’m learning from my friends in the field is that print is not dead.
Print, in fact, is more in demand than it was not long ago because, as Saathee Magazine Editor Samir Shukla, whom I’ve mentioned over here, put it, ‘it’s slower.’
After Cork, Seattle and Phnom Penh: S P A C E
BACK TO THE STORY. Leaving Ireland was a hard, hard choice. It was, after all, the land of the green hills and we were by the sea and the people were the best in the universe, and so many other things. But I felt like, at that time, after three years there, that it was time for me to move on. To where, I didn’t know, but I just knew it had to happen or I’d stagnate and goodness knows that is the worst thing ever for someone who constantly needs new input. So what I did was google around and see what might work out for a job. Like, a 9-5, not for a scruffy startup, this time, but an established publication. Which was fine, for a while. I did that. But it was too established. It didn’t start a blog the whole time I was there, and this was the early 2000s, and I realized, in my gut, that that wasn’t going to be ‘home’ for me, either. But I didn’t leave Seattle after the job at the newspaper (I’d gone to work on staff as an editor for a trade journal, a daily newspaper in Seattle, for two years. And after that, Akira Morita and I co-founded Design Kompany. Ran that together for a while, then sort of let things taper off and it organically switched into a design consulting boutique. Still does that sort of, sometimes, when the client is the right kind of client for DK (not for everyone). And yeah. This site isn’t a design studio’s site, anymore. It’s a magazine.)
Time, as always. To change it up.
DK are reinventing. Nothing new there.
Now, I’m back to publishing.
I’m so into this digital publishing stuff and geeking out again about layout and InDesign and Illustrator, but bringing other people’s voices to the space of publishing is my new work, here. So far, so good. Making it up as we go, but taking into account years of experience, too, in: design, collaboration, teamwork, sharing stories, conversation-hosting, salon making, and more stuff that some of you reading might be aware of that I’m not, because this is the stuff that is the thing that I do, and not what I analyze, but the point is to get better at everything so as to design and continue to create more and better S P A C E. That’s the work, then.
Let’s get to it.
*Note: In my work at DK 2004-2018, I got into a habit of delegating people for things. But now, it’s not client work I’m doing, it’s member-supported and member-inspired work, in S P A C E. Co-creating zines. One day, if a person in the graphic design fields joins us in this community, I’ll definitely have a lot of side gigs to share with them. That is, if we can grow it to that point. As is always the case in the beginning, it’s lean, nimble, and very DIY. I guess that’s the spirit of zinery. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to up the ante. Designers and typography whizzes are most welcome to join us in S P A C E. Though I must admit there’s a period of get-to-know-you that a lot of people don’t really stick around for, which means… Well.
Philosophy is sometimes described as the conscious examination of life, so we humans can be aware enough of what surrounds us in order that we may make qualified decisions. By so doing, we can choose to exclude or include certain experiences or design our societies. Yes: design them, so that we (plants, animals, et al, too) can all live more pleasurably.
How DK are making S P A C E
In this issue, new photography from Brussels, taken by S P A C E art director Jānis Žguts, is paired with an essay by S P A C Eculture editor Michael Bridgett, Jr., and line artwork of Dipika Kohli that’s been curated by BOSS. It’s a collaboration that began loosely in 2016, at dk‘s conversation salons, ‘Rooftop Philosophy’ and ‘True Connexion,’ both held in Phnom Penh, and has evolved from the seed of a simple, open-format invitation: ‘Who wants to talk, in real life, together, about this, perhaps with other people we don’t yet know?’ (From there, new conversations about what philosophers invite us to mull over emerged, evolved, and expressed themselves in short bursts of extended query, or over monthslong quiet spaces where the team could reflect in permutations, both separately, together, and with others, too.) Such conversation spacemaking is exactly what S P A C E is designed to invite. •
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*? Cnversations 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 4. Max 7.
WHAT YOU’LL GET. DK will share:
Grice’s ‘Maxims of Conversation’, as introduced to us by Eric Chuk, who studied narrative ontology
Six Thinking Hats, a method of opening dialogue.
The Open Space Technologies how-to.
Free eBook, ‘SELF’, by DK’s Dipika Kohli (a USD $95 value).
Application required. Apply below.
This workshop 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.’
N. Cool. I left you a note. I hope you get that, and this. I’ll see you in Riga, maybe. (One hundred percent serious).
I have to hold myself back from going into advice-giving mode, but I can’t help but write that thing the way I wrote it, and also, this:
There are good people running about in the world also asking questions, as you are. Don’t worry: we’ll find some of us, some of each other eventually, and then it won’t seem so daunting and crazy and big and hard. At least, that’s what I’ve noticed.
You left a great impression on me: thanks for that.
Lately I’m finding a string of chance encounters with young women who are reminding me of my earlier goal to put together a body of work designed to help teens, mostly, figure themselves out… or rather… to begin to frame the space that lets you discover yourself fully and completely and not quit in the middle because of some pressures to conform to some things that when you really think about it (as I see you are) really run counter to that. We are taught to be something, a certain way, a certain style, without investigating our way towards something… that we don’t even know what it is yet. Letting the journey come towards us… I remember my friend P in Durham NC saying to me that there’s a Native American tradition that says when a woman turns forty she chooses a name for herself…
Will do more thinking about what we said when I take the time this week to get away from ‘it all’. Or, wait. Maybe just not-think for a spell…
To the journeys, the new, the near and the next. See you in the up.
E X P L O R I N G _ T H E _ A R T
Times, shifts, curiosity about new people and new ways of thinking, and the general crisscross of emails and vague fragments of thoughts are what we write and share about in S P A C E. Works are creative nonfiction short stories, co-created with members of Design Kompany’s team both in Phnom Penh and in the places where we are going to discover new and different voices ‘out there,’ in the field..
Where are the new and unusual perspectives, hiterto underreported or cast aside as ‘ethnic?’ Let’s go find them. Let’s write them, share them, co-create them. In S P A C E Meet us there? Introductory offer: subscribe for just $4/week.
S P A C E posts every Tuesday at 7AM USEST. When. you subscribe, you’ll get it every week by email, plus these exclusive PDF zines, too. Themes change but the idea is that we get closer to the study of what it means to look, listen, discover, hear what we are able to piece together when we make a space for quieting, and noticing, both one another, and ourselves.
Into the Quiet
S P A C E | Kärsämäki, ‘ The Book of Slow Moment’
‘Epistemology.’ [The branch of philosophy that studies the nature of knowledge, its presuppositions and foundations, and its extent and validity.]
‘Do you know what that is, DK?’
‘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:’
[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.’
‘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?’
This is part of a series, 100 conversations. Underwritten by members of S P A C E.
IN A STRANGE, curious, wonderful arrangement of things related to times, shifts, curiosity about new people and new ways of thinking, and the general crisscross of emails and vague fragments of thoughts that belong to, well, S P A C E, I’m having a moment. A moment of learning. Of wild-eyed awareness of what it is we do. In S P A C E. Not because I haven’t done things here before that I feel have merit, but because I wasn’t able to pack it into a short, concise, easy-to-relate-to, and most importantly, fast, little sentence. A ‘blurb,’ if you will. A ‘marketing blurb,’ ugh, cringe, bleh. And yet. You have to. Berelatable. If you want to be related to. Only in recent weeks, practicing by doing this, more and more, the making of space in which new and different others can find remarkable connexion, sure, in the salons and workshops and ateliers and popups and even now, in the co-created works we are publishing soon in miniature printed zines, too, it’s happening. The awareness of the what, after so many years of practicing how, and theorizing about why. ‘What’ has been important, of course, in the big way it always is. But when people asked me, ‘What is this, DK?,’ I wanted to run. To Sweden, to hide on a boat, say. Or bury myself into books. (Described both experiences in Breakfast in Cambodia). But I have to answer the question now. It’s taken a while, but I know how, now. About the ‘what is it’ thing. I know. Ask me? Here’s a form.
JOHANNES KEPLER was a tortured mystic, they say, but was interested in seeing if he could find ‘the harmony of the spheres.’ Platonic solids, this and that, but there’s more. I’ll say more later, but for now, just this video. More about Kepler, next.
[HT Mike Dynamo…Thanks for sharing it with me. See you and the others at this.]
LATER ON TODAY. The first conversation in S P A C E that’s actually in the cloud. A conference call. Connecting members. Across distance, and from spots of time that are disparate, for me. We met in 2011(?), (when was it, S.?) at a bar called James Joyce, for example. Or we met at a place that had a lot of people on laptops and not-talking so we started talking-talking because why not make that happen instead of becoming a zombie. ‘Play a game of cards with us?’ ‘Okay, yes.’ Thanks, MB, for being part of this long journey.
S P A C E | The Book of New Things. It’s not exactly a planning meeting, but you might call it that if you were a planny-planny type, which, believe me, is not my usual nature, but it is, kind of, also. Sometimes you get that side of me that’s like, ‘Right. We have the design intent. That’s 90% of the work, ladies and gentlemen. Now, let’s get crackin’ on this thing before we lose interest, scope creep sets in, someone has a personal crisis and drops out, or expectations get fuzzy and no one knows what the hell the thing is about anymore. Momentum, you could say.’
Which reminds me of this…
A building of momentum: the product of velocity and a critical mass
Why make this kind of S P A C E? Well, for one, it’s terribly difficult to host the online workshops now. It’s just too much. Email is work. People hate it. People are busy. No one has time. I’ve heard all the excuses, and heard them again. A year goes by. ‘Not this time, DK!’ Another year. ‘I’m sorry ! I’m just really busy right now with my own things.’ Then, fair enough. Let me, also, become busy with my own things. Let me deepen the connections that are already blooming. Then, let me focus on tending these small and fragile things–relationships–while introducing the ideal into the new equation… the ideal being quality and authentic and genuine connexion. Human connexion, built over time. This is not an ordinary group of people. And this is not an open invitation. You have to have known me for 2+ years now, for this set. It’s crazy, saying that. (With one extraordinary exception: Stacia Yearwood, of PaperPassages and IHopeThisMessageFindsYouWell. Of course. Because she is an immaculate poet. Need beautiful words to express an emotion? Hire this extraordinary talent.) Maybe we’ll see S tonight. S gave me a great poem. And inspired the Epicurus-moment that we’ll be building in 2019, in S P A C E, which will take to the road. (BH, are you reading? BH, you should most certainly be part of this cookie. Seriously.)
It’s like having the kind of party that I most enjoy: gathering the people whose work I admire, whose conversations have inspired me, and whose art is good, for a brief intersection of paths and closing off of other channels so as to focus, notice, and be right here now. So far, three of us have confirmed being there. That means showing up at weird hours so that an international call can work; from Australia to the western edge of N. America, invitees to this poll were going to either say ‘yes’ to the showing up to the call, not knowing what at all might happen, or say ‘no, thanks.’ But since we’re talking about people in S P A C E, and not just regular people I happened to run into yesterday or something, not that that’s bad, I quite like that, too, and ZM and I’d met the day before one of our salons, in London, that was pretty cool, and TE, too, who said, ‘What are you doing tomorrow? I’ll guest list you for my show’ which was by far one of the top 5 I’ve been to (following Sun Ra Arkestra back in Durham NC when they came through, OMG, and a couple others I can’t say out loud here because, they’re personal, and I care about them, and I don’t like oversharing) but I’m getting sidetracked–
–Back on track, the thing is this. It’s different. When you know someone. Trust is there. I’m inviting people only whom I’ve been in close conversations with throughout the last six months or more, mostly in the online spaces of S P A C E forums. ‘Slow Moment,’ for example–and expanding that out into a call in thirty minutes is the idea here. So esoteric. So abstract. So WTF. But so? I’m doing this because these are the people who are like, ‘Okay. What time?’
90% of it is showing up. Since we’ve built relationships and had quality connexion and trust and many, many dates together thinking, writing, conversing, talking, learning, sharing, showing up for each other, and discovering more about all that intrigues us, outside of the normal bounds of ‘this is what we do for work, this is what we do outside of work, this is what I studied’ blah blah who cares what do you think about multiple universes, there, good chap, or have you ever seen the northern lights? That Phish song–always comes to mind–when I think about the northern lights. But the new things, the Book of New Things, is deep influenced by the recent trip up to the northern part of Finland, up, past the Arctic Circle, where, if you hold your breath and hope, you might get a glimpse of them. And yeah, if your eyes are closed, too…
New photography by Dipika Kohli, in mostly black and white. All from the Atelier S P A C E series in Finland, and inspired by the amazing guests in DK’s concurrent online programme, ‘Slow Moment.’
That twelve-week sequence designed for people to connect and converge in S P A C E was about: slowing down to ‘see’, journal, note, and ‘be.’ Says DK: ‘How do you do that? Just start.’ Cover photo styled by artist Kathelijne Adriaensen. // DK 2018
PHOTOGRAPHY. DK’s creative director Dipika Kohli began her freelance career in 1998 with a gig for the then Raleigh newspaper, Spectator Magazine. The conversation with editor Stephen Wissink on that first popping in led to a yearlong photography assignment to capture restauranteurs’ best arrangements of plates of salad, desserts, light entrees, and fancy drinks. From there, Dipika continued to take photographs, but began to focus more and more on architectures, and cities. The urban landscape was always her favorite. Two grants from the Japan Foundation had led, in the 1990s, to a 500-picture series, ‘Japanese Lines’. Curating large collections of snippets of 3″x3″ prints, she exhibited these at the N. C. Japan Center. She co-founded DK in 2006 in Seattle, after working as a staff editor and sometime-photographer for the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce. Special thanks: Kathelijne Adriaensen for artistic inspiration and Benjamin Nwaneampeh for the fun interview we got to do with him for ‘Don’t Just Document, Make Art’, the S P A C E podcast conversation about photography..
CAN THE INTERNET bring us towards true connection? How do we get there? Listen to find out.
DK’s Dipika Kohli and Mae Rosukhon, a Sydney- and Bangkok-based member of our inner circle of S P A C E, are talking together about ‘the internet.’ Quality of life, health and relationships that are built on trust: these are the things. ‘It’s social isolation that really gets people down, especially in the later years of life,’ says Rosukhon, who has a background in government and health. Are the stream of constant notifications getting in our way of building real trust?
‘In this contemporary world and searching for the new, new experiences, new contacts… there’s an upside and a downside, right? [But] the trust between your friends, it’s that solid foundation that will always take you through and that’s got strong substance underneath.’ –Mae Rosukhon.
Read about Mae’s recent thoughts on life, meaning, and connection at this intriguing article she wrote, by hand, about death.
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.
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!