Issue #46: S P A C E | Huế, ‘An Art of the Moment’

The artists gathered for this co-created zine are four very curious people.

Art, natural patterns, and words intertwine in a collaboration between them.

 

The nature of art

Lee Moore Crawford, a floral designer and artist, once struck up a conversation about the Japanese art of ikebana when DK happened upon her arranging flowers at a coffee shop in Durham, NC, circa 2011. We never forgot it.

So when DK collaborated with another creative person who takes inspiration from nature to make the cover image of this issue (Dipika Kohli took the original photograph in Huế, then forwarded it to digital processing artist Nils don Sihvola in Finland), we wanted to ask Crawford what her feelings would be. Lots came of this interaction, including a short piece, ‘Bloom.’

To give the collection continuity, we then circled back to former culture editor Michael Bridgett, Jr., whose article, ‘Why I Art,’ opens yet another fresh perspective.

Order it here.

http://gum.co/space-hue-aotm

Thanks ;)

 

How to be part of New Chapters

Alright, it’s starting to get interesting now.

I did this before, with a clunky start, in 2014. Cojournaling.

That was fun, but also, that was a little bit underdeveloped. Naturally.

Who wants to overdevelop something that’s going to be a fail? Let me talk about agile publishing another time with you. For now, I’m just reporting that we are underway with a very new approach to creating new things. With people. In S P A C E.

Talk to me about digital publishing, the use of interactive tools, and even real time conversations online and on calls. And of course in real life. How could I ever pass that up? Yet… somehow… it’s happening. People don’t come to the events I suggest these days, even fewer than before, and it’s not because they don’t want to, I think. It’s… anxiety.

But that’s not my problem to solve. I’m making papers. I’m writing books. I’m sharing stories. I’m doing S P A C E. So I had to adjust.

Honesty

We are here, are we? At the point in the modern era where it’s too hard to even show up in real life. That’s definitely very depressing, in a big way, for me, because I love the improvisation of real life and the jam sessions associated with them that just, emerge, !*, on the spot. But I’ve decided something recently. I’m not going to let that self-stunting that other people may have get in the way of my moving forward and continuing to make. I just have to be a little more resourceful, now. Can’t just show up and see who’s there and make something on the spot, necessarily. (It does happen, but… yeah. Less often. And with less focus. Because everyone has a silly little computer in their pockets. I don’t have one, if you were wondering).

I write. Lately, more private writings, in more secluded sharing-spaces. Still discovering, still learning. Still at it. But, selectively, quietly. In S P A C E.

If you want to know more the best thing to do is subscribe.

More from there about how to get involved in the ‘Trust the Process’ adventure that is turning into quite the ride. I’m jazzed. Thanks to a small group of you, who have helped me learn how to do all the things I needed to do in order to understand this, it’s about to get really good now.

Here we go.

http://chuffed.org/project/spacethezine

Trust the Process, Section D

Co-create a mini-mag, S P A C E, with Design Kompany.

This is a conversation space that is available for subscribers of S P A C E to also have a chance to get to know one another, in DK’s online forums. International. Asynchronous.

Weekly.

Sometimes conversations get very interesting and we invite people to collaborate to make an issue of our mini-magazine, S P A C E.

  • This is our online store.

DK are seeking people who want to write, and connect, meaningfully and in new ways, with one another.

Experience it.

HOW TO TAKE PART

{Note: As of October 1, 2019, we are *only* inviting members of S P A C E to co-create with us.) Learn more  and register by signing up for ‘Trust the Process’. There is a new line item, ‘Trust the Process,’ at our crowdfunding page: subscribe to S P A C E and learn more about what we are making–> Learn more and sign up.

Protected: Writing in my head

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S P A C E | ‘Maslow’s this and that’

From Wikipedia on ‘Self-Actualization’

‘Research shows that when people live lives that are different from their true nature and capabilities, they are less likely to be happy than those whose goals and lives match.’ Abraham Maslow developed a hierarchical theory of human motivation in Motivation and Personality (1954).

Maslow’s self-actualizing characteristics

  • Efficient perceptions of reality. Self-actualizers are able to judge situations correctly and honestly. They are very sensitive to the fake and dishonest, and are free to see reality ‘as it is’.
  • Comfortable acceptance of self, others and nature. Self-actualizers accept their own human nature with all its flaws. The shortcomings of others and the contradictions of the human condition are accepted with humor and tolerance.
  • Reliant on own experiences and judgement. Independent, not reliant on culture and environment to form opinions and views.
  • Spontaneous and natural. True to oneself, rather than being how others want.
  • Task centering. Most of Maslow’s subjects had a mission to fulfill in life or some task or problem ‘beyond’ themselves (instead of outside of themselves) to pursue. 
  • Autonomy. Self-actualizers are free from reliance on external authorities or other people. They tend to be resourceful and independent.
  • Continued freshness of appreciation. The self-actualizer seems to constantly renew appreciation of life’s basic goods. A sunset or a flower will be experienced as intensely time after time as it was at first. There is an “innocence of vision”, like that of an artist or child.
  • Profound interpersonal relationships. The interpersonal relationships of self-actualizers are marked by deep loving bonds.
  • Comfort with solitude. Despite their satisfying relationships with others, self-actualizing people value solitude and are comfortable being alone.
  • Non-hostile sense of humor. This refers to the ability to laugh at oneself.
  • Peak experiences. All of Maslow’s subjects reported the frequent occurrence of peak experiences (temporary moments of self-actualization). These occasions were marked by feelings of ecstasy, harmony, and deep meaning. Self-actualizers reported feeling at one with the universe, stronger and calmer than ever before, filled with light, beauty, goodness, and so forth.
  • Socially compassionate. Possessing humanity.
  • Few friends. Few close intimate friends rather than many surface relationships.

‘BUT CAN I DO THAT?’ Further paraphrasing from Wikipedia, there may be a common feeling that the possibility of ‘self-actualization’ is reserved for those people who have been lucky in life and don’t have to struggle for their day-to-day survival in a dead-end job. Notwithstanding, Maslow (2011) suggested that it was very much about the attitude the individual brought to his/her life that might be the crucial catalyst for where one’s life and self-growth goes. There are many examples of when people have been in basically the same circumstances, but have turned out very differently, which might indicate that attitude can have an enormous bearing upon one’s fate…

…”the aesthetic needs” which include a need for “symmetry, order, and beauty”… 

 

Feature Photo: Dipika Kohli, Atelier S P A C E | DK in Copenhagen and Aarhus, 2015

S P A C E | Malmö, ‘Vakt’

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’

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

S P A C E | Aarhus, ‘Janteloven’

A zine about ‘The Law of Jante.’

You’re not to think you are anything special.

You’re not to think you are as good as we are.

You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.

You’re not to imagine yourself better than we are.

You’re not to think you know more than we do.

You’re not to think you are more important than we are.

You’re not to think you are good at anything.

You’re not to laugh at us.

You’re not to think anyone cares about you.

You’re not to think you can teach us anything

This is the law of Jante.

 

Get ‘Janteloven’ when you subscribe to S P A C E. Subscribe here.

Getting more and more serious

THIS MAGAZINE stuff is a lot of fun.

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.

Right.

Let’s get to it.

Pencil-sketching the upcoming edition of S P A C E | Aarhus, ‘Janteloven’, began in a forum of S P A C E called ‘Strange Geometries.’ Conversations happen here across the globe, asynchronously.

*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.

S P A C E | Aarhus, ‘Janteloven’

A zine about ‘The Law of Jante.’

You’re not to think you are anything special.

You’re not to think you are as good as we are.

You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.

You’re not to imagine yourself better than we are.

You’re not to think you know more than we do.

You’re not to think you are more important than we are.

You’re not to think you are good at anything.

You’re not to laugh at us.

You’re not to think anyone cares about you.

You’re not to think you can teach us anything

This is the law of Jante.

Featuring the frank essay ‘Fear and Happiness’ by Aske Pedersen, a member of DK’s S P A C E community who grew up in Aarhus. This and other writings are paired in the 29 January issue of S P A. E with photos taken in Aarhus by Dipika Kohli.

Get S P A C E | Aarhus, ‘Janteloven’ on 29 January, when you subscribe to S P A C E. Subscribe here.

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

Winter 2018-19: ‘The Work of Art’

Line art by Aubrey Beardsley. DK first discovered these drawings at an exhibition in London 1999. They sent DK inspired with pen and paper, looking for space in flat, matte composition while exploring the negative space in which ‘anything is possible.’ ‘Anything is possible’ was the studio’s first tag line, in 2004.

In search of meaning


E X P L O R I N G _ T H E _ A R T
of
Human Relationship

 

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.


Publication schedule

Into the Quiet

4 December
S P A C E | Kärsämäki, ‘ The Book of Slow Moment’

11 December
S P A C E | Oulu, ‘Kesärakkausjuttu’

 

Finding the stillness.


Encounters

18 December, 2018
S P A C E | Phnom Penh, ‘Angle of Incidence’

 Living in Cambodia: then and now.


Companionship

1 January, 2019
S P A C E | Tampere, ‘Miia’

8 January, 2019
S P A C E | Kyoto, ‘One Moment Cafe’

Alexis Jokela’s follow-up story, set in Tampere, to Jokela’s July piece, ‘A Summer Love Story’


Mirth

15 January, 2019
S P A C E | Helsinki, ‘Coat Check’

22 January, 2019
S P A C E | Brussels, ‘The Work of Art’

A. Spaice goes to Helsinki to discover 16 random strangers and talk to them, at a once-off conversation salon on the theme, NEUROSIS. Here’s what happened.


Enchantment

5 February, 2019
S P A C E | Rovaniemi, ‘Arctic Circle”

12 February, 2019
S P A C E | Berlin, ‘Strange Geometries’

A jaunt to Lapland, unplanned and spontaneous, lands a pair of wanderers at the gateway of an unmistakably enchanted forest. Inspired by H. C. Andersen’s description in The Snow Queen of ‘Finnmark’. 


Subtlety

19 February, 2019
S P A C E | Singapore, ‘The Prospect of Beauty’

26 February, 2019
S P A C E |  Malmö, ‘Vakt’

What makes something beautiful? Looking with a microscope for ‘the remarkable’ in a money-obsessed island.


 Calls for submission will be made through S P A C E. Subscribe to get the details.

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S P A C E | What is “good” internet?

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.

True connection

Images: from the series ‘Distracte’ by Dipika Kohli
// 2016

Offline

READING, today, stories about #deletefacebook, and find myself nodding every time someone talks about how the social fabric is getting ripped apart because people are addicted to pings and hits and likes.

For example, I found these quotes in one of the first articles you get to on google if you search ‘delete facebook’… They are:

And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever. It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology. The inventors, creators — it’s me, it’s Mark [Zuckerberg], it’s Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it’s all of these people — understood this consciously. And we did it anyway. Sean Parker Former Facebook President

I feel tremendous guilt. It literally is [at] a point now, where we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works. That is literally where we are. The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse. No cooperation. Misinformation. Mistruth. And it’s not an American problem. It’s not about Russian ads. This is a global problem. Chamath Palihapitiya Former Facebook VP of User Growth

Ventilation // DK 2014

Of course we can argue about the good things and the not-so-good things about technology. But don’t think you have to have it if you want to live a meaningful, connected, or creative life: you don’t. I don’t have Facebook, not a personal one anymore, and though I’m on the fence about what to do with instagram. But okay, it’s fine. I don’t have WhatsApp, or even a mobile phone.

young cell phone addict man awake at night in bed using smartphone for chatting flirting and sending text message in internet addiction and mobile abuse concept. (Read Michael Bridgett, Jr.’s story, ‘Don’t reach for the phone first — Make art.)

Right.

I should repeat that last one.

I don’t have a mobile phone. Or even a non-mobile phone. Today I’m borrowing one of the latter, though, to meet up with some people in Phnom Penh who might be wondering what the hell I’ve been doing on the northern side of Finland all summer, and something about Malaysia, and yeah.

 

No phone

HONEST. I used to have one, in the mid 2000s, when I was living in Seattle and had ‘a business,’ which of course was DK in its first iteration—solid brick and mortar shop, complete with $800 laser printer, fax machine, cool phones that I still kinda miss because of their button design, giant computers, a reception area, a conference room, swivel office chairs: the works. But what I didn’t know then that I know now is that none of it was that important. Social media presence? Not a big deal, because DK sold itself through one-on-one interpersonal interactions in real life. We got gigs in Seattle. More, later, elsewhere,  too. But not because of the online stuff, or the appearances of something big. By being good. Really. That’s how it works. But being good is only part of it. You also have to be easy to work with. Not that easy to work with and not that good? Forget it. (Unless, of course, you’re cheap, and fast. But who wants to work with people who are just trying to penny-pinch and don’t care that much about the quality of the output?)

More thinking. More reading. More turning the clock back to think about where we’ve been and what we were doing. I am glad to say that it’s through the building of relationships that we are here, where we are, and continue to develop. Not that I’m the  greatest at this, in fact, I’m pretty shite at it. It’s DK’s Akira Morita, who took the time to build the networks and keep in touch with the people here where I am writing from (Phnom Penh) in order to begin that lattice-formation that has come to be one of the most important things we’ve ever had in our orbit. Social orbits are big: I was writing and thinking about these things quite a lot in recent days, conversing in S P A C E forums and real life and on voice calls. Less email. Less writing short. And the next podcast (!) will be about the internet—about the love-hate relationship with this thing that connects us (and keeps us from truly connecting, at the same time).

True connection starts, I’ve found, with showing up. Commitment to a person, idea, or project, or a job, well, commitment is what leads to trust. Trust is huge. You have trust, and you have all you could possibly ask for in a relationship. Trust the process, sure, but trust other people. Sure. It’s hard. Of course it is. Relationships are work. Did you see that thing I put here about George Vickers? How about Moominpappa? I feel like here at DK, Akira is the former, and I’m the latter. We’re interested in relationships, but he’s better at that, and I”m interested in possibility, and exploring to the edges: scouting the new and the next. Together, we’re still at it, officelessly and houseless-ly. We’re moving around the world looking for people who are ready to try new things, be they NGO-sector officials, small businesses, innovation-minded larger groups, individuals, or colleagues, or co-creators, or even friends. Are you ready to try to get to the next, whatever, or whatever, it turns out to be? Then that’s it. Talk to DK. Let’s play.

 

Reclaiming space for real life

I’LL LEAVE YOU  with this bit from the Guardian article, ‘Be a pioneer — delete Facebook’, by Jaron Lanier. And comments are open, if you’d like to say ‘hi.’

… these deleters are indispensable. They should be celebrated. We all benefit from them.

The primary value of a boycott in this case is not mere protest to damage Facebook, but to invent what life can be like today without the social network.

A deleter must reconsider how she holds her social life together. She will therefore rethink what a social life is.

Is having a publicly broadcast number of associates a good thing, or does it foster a meaningless sense of social competition? Does Facebook’s method, which combines user tracking with stimuli calculated to foster addiction and behaviour modification, really reveal the most beneficial options for her? Does an experiential feed constructed by algorithms serve her, or other people who are paying to modify her behaviour? Are the components of the Facebook experience severable or not? Can you have a modern social and professional life without the manipulation? Is it even conceivable? Who will ask? Who will find out? The deleters will!

And they already have. Making space for real life interfacing, for remarkable human connexion: that’s the whole thing, for some of us, writing, connecting, meeting, sharing, and, hey, living. Online is fine. I’m online to post this. Online is fine, but online isn’t the only place it’s at. Real life is out there. Let’s go get it.

Zine launch: S P A C E || Helsinki

A zine. Printed, limited edition. Ready to share these with members of S P A C E who pre-order by 29 Sept. Don’t miss the chance to get a printed zine in the mail that tells the story ‘Julia Set’.

JOIN DK and friends at the launch of the zine, ‘S P A C E || Helsinki,’ a creative nonfiction short piece that will be distributed in very limited editions on the day. Your ticket comes with one copy of the zine, whose pages are filled with words and collages DK gathered in real life in Helsinki in June and August, 2018. The zine’s lead story is ‘Julia Set,’ based on a conversation with a mathemetician about possibilites and multiple dimensions, but there is also a more low-key dialogue in ‘Exit Vantaa.’ Find out more when you check out the related blog posts, liket ‘Exit Vantaa,’ DK’s music ‘mix’, at this page, and more is also online about DK’s zines in S P A C E.

Pre-order S P A C E || Helsinki here.

Eavesdropping in Kuala Lumpur

‘Not a suit. But suitlike.’

I’VE JUST ARRIVED. It’s twenty to one. A man in a nice cotton blue suit-jacket, not quite a suit, mind, but a suit-like thing, was hanging around momentarily. Ostensibly waiting for his coffee to be made, fresh for a take-away (a pet peeve of mine, personally, the take-away cup). But there comes a woman. Equally well put-together. Both wear light cotton pants, hers are white, his are a little less white, but still, nicely offset by the blue. I think I mentioned the blue already. Yes, yes I did. I think I was thinking about the color emerald green… yesterday… I was thinking about a certain otherworldly Northern Europe color palette, a tendency towards the muted colors. Yes, I like those, too. Had gone through a phase of that. Bluegreys. Seattle. One of my homes. Another one is turning out to be Kuala Lumpur. Keep coming back here to host things, it feels like. And I love the atmosphere, the color, the texture, the city vibe. And all this great teh halia, too. See stuff DK and friends have hosted here, at this page, DesignKompany.com/Malaysia. (HT TS: ‘Don’t ask me where I’m from, ask me where I’m local.’)

 

Beyond the edge of the world

Seattle

SEATTLE. I remember. A lot of rain fell, and then, the cloudburst came, in the form of ‘The Dive,’ (Kismuth Books // 2012), which I realize I must have talked about a lot, in many places, but in short fragments, a lot of things come in short fragments, don’t they? And then you go into the quiet zones, and stay there. Perhaps too long. Because when you forget how to speak up, speak forward, speak without muting your voice too terribly much for fear you’ll be chastised, chided, critiqued, questioned, challenged, humiliated, or otherwise made to feel bad about the fact that you are you, and you alone, unique as DNA, then being purposeful and insistent in holding out and sharing with others the very you that is you becomes, well… hard. Because you’re worried. Anxious. Uncomfortable. It’s uncomfortable to be the very you that is you. Of course it is. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t—it’s okay and it’s easy to say and words are cheap; sometimes they are, of course at other times they are very exquisite, not cheap at all, not cheap… but then there comes his coffee.

One now. Almost the time for the office workers to come in. I’m taking up two tables. I better collate this stuff. Maybe get going. Too many people; it’s uncomfortable. I might say I’ve become more Finnish, in this regard, but I think it was always there, and underscored when I had lived in Seattle. A tendency towards being more alone, than with others. Wanting a lot of room around me. Not liking the oppressiveness of being in the airspace of too many people in too small a room. It’s happening. I’m starting to feel it. Suffocation. But, wait. It’s not that bad. It’s still Malaysia. It’s still developed. There isn’t going to be a lot of noise and there won’t be dust or dirt. The people will shuffle in, and as quickly, shuffle out. They will. They are in motion. They are on the clock. Time. Time is a thing, for some people. I get it. They have to go punch in, punch out. Me? What am I? Slowing down. Slowing in the moment. But maybe this is the wrong environment for that. I’m wishing I could be in Melakka, too. I was there. I liked it there. The weekdays are a better time to be there. But I’m here, preparing for Phnom Penh. Sounds odd, writing that. Haven’t I tried, many times, to ‘move on’ from there? But… the question is a real one, and smacks and smarts: to where? Where is the next home? It’s a big, open field, and you can go in any direction. Instead of getting lost in the amorphous not-knowing, though, I’m learning to embrace it. The field is one of my homes, too. Like the road. And North Carolina. And Seattle. And, and…. Phnom Penh. Four years is a long time to be parked there. Four years, writing nothing much, really, except for, oh yeah, Breakfast in Cambodia. A two-year anniversary of that little book just passed. I’m happy about this. I can try again, for something different. Maybe finally finish ‘Socheata’s Comb.’

Back to KL. Back to right now.

 

Kuala Lumpur // DK 2018

Real life is the stage

I AM READYING to make a move. Or maybe not. If they leave, I’ll stay. If they stay, I’ll leave. She is asking him something. He is saying something else. They are acquainted. They talk about weathers. Not the hurricanes, like I am doing in emails with people in North Carolina, because of the flooding in the east of that state, but about… well, the sun and Melbourne and smalltalk. Smalltalk is nice, has its place, at times. No? Of course it does. Work colleagues, maybe. I try to assess. They are cordial. Do they work in some kind of fashion retail outlet? Perhaps they are middle managers. Perhaps, perhaps.

My mind makes up stories. Connects dots that aren’t quite there, but might appear to be in places if, after some amount of time observing the stage of real life, always the most exciting, could become rather realistic. Reality. The strangest sort of fiction. Or is fiction real? I don’t know. What am I talking about? These are the kinds of things that gather momentum here, when it is not yet lunch rush and the caffeine is starting to find its jolt. The jolt that makes the story. The sentences place themselves, one in front of the other. I go back to writing, perhaps. The man leaves, in a hurry; it is abrupt. She is not worried. She is not even moved. She barely acknowledged him, anyway, I noticed, at the start. No one was trying too hard to start talking. That’s okay. That’s fine. You don’t have to talk all the time. Gosh, if I didn’t learn that in Finland.  She was on her phone. So was he. Both of them distracting themselves or pretending to. Looking at things. Texts and so on. He had tried to make eye contact. That is a thing unknown to some of the younger ones. They may dress impeccably, but they don’t notice the noticing. And that’s where the breakdown begins, isn’t it? Of communicating from ap lace that’s honest, real, raw, and unfiltered. Facades get in the way of relating. And I guess that’s why, for the first time in a long time, I’m okay writing again, in first person. More on the way. More to share. More, in the form of short books, long books, poems, novellas, plays. And, best of all, co-creations.

Listening in to other people’s conversations… stories of: moneymaking plans, insurance, school and work, weather banter, international transit, general exchanges on the exchange of services and goods, rubber, fear of other, mistrust, putting up with things, and, of course, celebrating a new government, with an optimism. The kind that says, ‘Some glimmer of things to come shan’t be smothered, now.’ That’s the feeling, this go around, here in Kuala Lumpur.

Back in November, for this.

Join S P A C E and be part of the international, asynchronous forums and online salons from October. (Which is when we begin again with a select set of candidates from around the world newly discovered, for the salon, ‘Philosophy of the Moment.’) Scholarships available. Application required. Learn more here

Salon: Origin

ORIGIN: ‘What is fromness?’ is inspired by ‘Ask me where I’m local’ by Taiye Selasi: ‘When someone asks you where you’re from … do you sometimes not know how to answer?’ Selasi speaks for “multi-local” people. In other words, people who feel at home in the town where they grew up, the city they live now and maybe another place or two. How can I come from a country?, she asks. How can a human being come from a concept?’

Origin: What is ‘fromness?’ Join Design Kompany in an informal setting for a conversation salon, ‘Origin.’

We’ll be talking about questions that help us all reflect on self-identity, whereness, and the notion of ‘where I am from.’ The program is light, and a slight redesign of our 2014 Origin conversation salon in Phnom Penh, in which 16 people gathered for an unusual experience of talking with complete strangers about close-to-the-heart questions. Since then the event has also been seen in Bangkok and Hanoi.

Come meet people from a wide mix of backgrounds. People whose paths you might not have crossed. Who are interested in taking a good, honest look at questions like: Who am I? Where am I ‘from?’ Who is my family? Where is my home? Questions that, we learned in 2014, truly open the heart. And help us learn more about one another, as well as ourselves.

  • ‘I never imagined I’d meet so many different people.’
  • ‘I wish we’d had more time! Thank you.’
  • ‘Weird and interesting!’
  • ‘Refreshingly honest.’

This event is for members of S P A C E and their guests. Learn more about how to become a member of S P A C E here.

S P A C E || Finland

Printed set of limited-edition zines from the new collection, S P A C E || Finland. For members of S P A C E.

Join S P A C E here.