S P A C E | Brussels, ‘The Work of Art’

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 E  culture 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. •   

How to get S P A C  E | Brussels

Get this issue when you subscribe to S P A C E this week: learn more at our crowdfunding page.

Contributors

Michael Bridgett, Jr.
mikedynamo.wordpress.com

Jānis Žguts
janiszguts.com

Dipika Kohli
dipikakohli.com

S P A C E | Brussels, ‘The Work of Art’

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, in other words, so we can all live more pleasurably.

In this issue, new photography from Brussels, taken by S P A C E art director Jānis Žguts, is paired with the line artwork of DK’s Dipika Kohli. It’s a collaboration that began in 2016, at the  conversation salon, ‘Rooftop Philosophy,’ held in Phnom Penh, and has continued from what began as a simple question: ‘Who wants to talk about this with me?

‘Richness and complexity’ are one of the things we design for in S P A C E (ask me for my 7-point checklist if you are a member?), so it makes sense that from there,  a  journey of conversation and discovery about the things that philosophy invites us to mull over continued in both short bursts of extended query, or over monthslong quiet spaces where the team could reflect, both separately and with others, too.  

Such conversation spacemaking is exactly what this zine is designed to invite. I

In fact, this zine is part of a series of art books,  photozines, and creative nonfiction works  by international, collaborating teams at DK. Just underway since December 2018, the project will continue as long as people are engaged, curious, and joining our subscription list to say ‘yes, tell me more.’

Get to know us and others in S P A C E. You can learn more about S P A C E and how to be part of these online and real life conversation salons, as well as read the digital zines we are sharing every Tuesday,  at our crowdfunding page.

 

Slowing down to see

Trying new things. Nurturing our community. Building something real. Together. In S P A C E.

Pictured is a zine, one of our limited-edition ones that DK had made over the summer of 2018 in the long days of light in northern Finland. A bunch were on display for a time on International Zine Day, at our new friend Eveliina Karsikas‘ Cafe Onni in Kärsämäki. I got to know her because of lots of things, starting promptly with a shared interest in bright colors. The place was brand new, and she was just getting going. Being me (but only when I find a place and person that I really enjoy chatting with), I offered a zinemaking workshop, not often done around there. Surprisingly people actually came, we had cake and coffee and made zines together, and colored into miniature zine-coloring-books while mostly just enjoying real life and real time, together.

The gifts

THEN, the zine traveled with me, north to Rovaniemi.

Which was where I met Karoliina Erkinjuntti, of the curious and talented collective Alice in Northernland. Out of the blue, on a rare whim, I offered her a trade. Could I give her this zine, in exchange for some of her postcards?

She said yes.

So, cool. We were gonna trade our art pieces. I haven’t done that since art school.

Or maybe writing all those letters, they were like little pieces of art, back in the day between a particular spot in North Carolina and wherever I was in the world. But that was… the  1990s. Still, from those early days of sharing mutually of ourselves and our expressions through our words and papers and collages and drawings, I know that whenever my artist friends trade things with me, we actually take notice of it, and then, it’s valued.

(Aside: Earlier in the summer of 2018 in Finland, another person, an artist from Belgium, a painter, had asked me what I do with all of the things I make because aren’t there sure a lot and I said yes and I don’t know really just keep ’em around mostly but try to share them if I can, too, and she said some other things and then something about burning the works. Burning them? That seems… awfully… well.)

In Rovaniemi, at that moment, in that spot, winding down from my journey through the experience of three very bright months in the most northerly place I’ve ever been, inspired and recharged, I remember it was nice. The feeling that we could get along in this world without something as crass to quantify our works as silly things like green pieces of paper. Or colorful ones, this being euros we were talking about, in Finland… I guess I got into that little argument mostly because of this feeling. That work is work: and money is not a quantifier of what makes something good. Money is just… oh, but that’s another jam.

So big. And we’re so brainwashed about so much of it. ‘Money’s value,’ work, art, that thing’s value… there is a lot to unpack here. I remember talking a lot about this when I first met Michael Linton of Open Money; he was a speaker at something in Seattle and later he and his team consulted with us about brand design, and brand messaging. Which was also a trade, I think, or maybe we just… well I think… it’s not like it matters… I learned a ton from his team. And on Open Money’s website it says it straight:

Money is just information, a way we measure what we trade, nothing of value in itself. And we can make it ourselves, to work as a complement to conventional money. Just a matter of design.

Awakenings

I THINK EVERYTHING changed, for us, here at DK, philosophically and in the way we approached new projects and people, when we heard Linton say, ‘Money is a vector. It goes up and down.’

With that short proclamation, which drew sharp intakes and gasps from the hundreds gathered there, for me, the  accumulation of green pieces of paper and that’s what I call them, you know, well, yeah, this stuff, which is what some of us have been programmed to think is what is desirable, became far, far less important, and going broke (or below) wasn’t such a big deal or even a point of shame, either. Despite what one might think. What is value, what is work, what is art? This coming Tuesday we’ll share in S P A C E | Brussels, ‘The Work of Art’ some of the gleanings from recent dialogues on the topic of value, work, and art.

Good fun. I’ll save the deeper discussions for the private spaces of our forums. Some of us are already well underway talking together in a forum called ‘Strange Geometries.’ In a small, inner circle of S P A C E. Which of course is what I had promised, at the end of 2018, when the earliest adopters of it joined DK in S P A C E.

A final note: of gratitude. Thank you Karoliina and Eveliina. For trusting me, and sharing your time and art. That’s it, isn’t it? That’s trusting the process. (If you see this, someday, know that I’ve not forgotten our exchanges. Maybe we can continue one day. I’m thinking of getting back to Finland for 2019…)

Comments are open, for a bit…