Issue #47: S P A C E | Kärsämäki, ‘The Field and the Horizon”

For this issue, DK’s creative director Dipika Kohli worked with A. Spaice and our newly budding creative team in Penang, Malaysia, in November, 2019.

Wrapping a year’s worth of reflections on the idea of growth, change, seedlings and new beginnings, it is a soft version of something that heretofore in our magazine has been rather geometric and angular, in style and attitude. Yet time and sharing, more and more, has opened us up a little more to ourselves, and to a very small section of our innermost hearts.

 

Quiet places

There, in the quietest places, something new is aloft. Seeds, seedlings and search for new grounds, fallow periods and more make their way into these pages, indirectly and perhaps abstractly, but with, we hope, a feeling that gives itself rather than asks you to pay attention to it.

Here’s a link:

http://gum.co/space-karsamaki-field

Thanks ;)

Issue #44: S P A C E | Rovaniemi, ‘Blank Sky Checklist’

Emergence

Lots of conversations. Lots of back and forth. Lots of email, discussion, redirection.

All of it goes into the current week’s issue, S P A C E | Rovaniemi, ‘Blank Sky Checklist.’

Cover photo by BOSS.

 

‘Art takes time’

This week, we publish Issue #44.

It’s a cocreation between Alexis Jokela in Finland and Dipika Kohli, our creative director and editor of Autumn 2019’s S P A C E collection, ‘Trust the Process.’

DK  had spent three months in the north of Finland in summer 2018. ‘The whole thing is getting kind of interesting now that the conversations are weaving over themselves and inviting new people to join them, too. That’s because, I think, it’s because, mostly, I love to keep things moving, keep things in progression, because it’s more fun than starting from zero. Art, like I wrote in A Place Called Home, art takes time.’ For DK, the best part is that things are starting to place themselves in such wonderful ways that people are meeting each other now. In person, even. This is beautiful. Connexion, at its best.

 

Order S P A C E | Rovaniemi, ‘Blank Sky Checklist’…

This week, the lead story is ‘Ch_cklist,’ by Alexis Jokela, who also is the author of ‘A Summer Love Story’. That was published in S P A C E’ | Oulu. Following similar threads, ‘Ch_cklist’ touches on the things we all go through when we manage to learn how to master our feelings, let things move and shift, and find flow.

S P A C E | Rovaniemi, ‘Blank Sky Checklist’ is published exclusively here in S P A C E. Download it all this here.

http://gum.co/space-rovaniemi-blankskychecklist

 

S P A C E | Phnom Penh, ‘Miniparty’

LET’S TALK ABOUT learning. How we discover, find, and make new connections. Ideas, shapes of thinking and the input that comes from places that might not be the ‘usual’ ones.

No more boring meetings: What are the containers that make great conversations *happen*?

Conversations that lead to better collaboration and better work? Those are important. Let’s not waste time. Let’s make things better, together.

Better and more enjoyable: that’s the key.

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

Let’s consider. Let’s discuss.

Min 2. Max 10.

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

  • Grice’s ‘Maxims of Conversation’
  • Six Thinking Hats, a method of opening dialogue.
  • The Open Space Technologies how-to.

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

LEARN MORE

DipikaKohli.com | Processed Identity | GOOD | UNC-Chapel Hill | ThisBigCity | DesignKompany.com

8888 tweets

‘Lucky number! You should take a screen shot.’

‘Didit.’

‘That’s a lot of tweets.’

‘Yes.’

 

To tweet or not to tweet

‘What does it do for you, though?’

‘Um.’

‘Do you like twitter?’

‘It’s changed. A lot. Since the good ol’ days when it was flat and you could talk to anybody anywhere and it was cool.’

‘And now?’

‘Stupid algorithms. Fake accounts. Promoted tweets, that makes it feel like garbage is everywhere and it’s hard to find the gems.’

‘Are there any?’

‘Sure. But there isn’t much discernment now between this which matters, and that which doesn’t, because…’

‘Because?’

‘A lot of things. I don’t want to go into it, here. This is public space. But I’ll write about it, in Tuesday’s issue.’

‘Which is?

‘Which is Art 4 Art’s Sake.’

‘Are you going to keep tweeting?’

‘…’

‘…’

‘I don’t know. It’s… where I used to find people and we could talk about things that really felt like things that count. Over time. And built something, ambiently. Some people who I consider friends are people I met on twitter but never met met.’

‘…’

‘Makes you question the point of it, really.’

‘…’

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.

Issue #40: S P A C E | Haapavesi, ‘Proprioception’

Writing a story in the north of Finland

space-haapavesiThis issue. Has taken me more than a year to wrap my heart around. It’s centered around a brief exchange that I had in a blustering white night all-night escapade that began as a foray to Haapavesi. 

‘You go to peculiar places!’ said a writer in Oulu.

Despite my usual antisocial nature, I went. To… Haapavesi.

What I found is wrapped into a short story, which is the lead story for this collection. It, and the issue itself, are called ‘Proprioception.’

It’s a mashup of conversations from Finland over the summer in 2018, as well as more recently, in the cloud. Internet and real clouds… mixing and sharing and discovering and writing. Stories and poems. People give me so much to think about, and, I’m told, I do the same for them. What we discover when we make space to converse is, of course, the whole entire point of S P A C E. So I decided to share that very sweet, summer and lighthearted story today. Starry constellations and jazzy connections, but over karaoke, rounds in bars and ‘filled croissants’ at home.

And who is Soile? Well.

Let me think how to describe this… well, okay, it’s difficult.

Some things are for sharing.

Some things are for folding into art, and publishing, as zines.

Those who are used to my writing and creative nonfiction will not be surprised, but it’s pretty much a combination of three people. Soile… Whom I met on the bus, whom I met at a bar, and whom I met at somewhere I can’t say because this is a public post and not one of the protected ones. [Long stories deleted]

 

Order this issue of S P A C E

Today’s release has a bunch.

  • New graphics.
  • A new short story.
  • Two poems including ‘Step a little closer,’ from 2014, which I wrote about the work of art, mostly, in a collaboration with M.

 

Order here

 

 

18 Oct | S P A C E Phnom Penh, ‘Miniparty’

 

See all the finished zines in our online store >

Evening  meet up for those interested in writing, design, editing and self-publishing. I’ll share the zines set in Phnom Penh:

  • ‘Angle of Incidence’
  • ‘Angle of Reflection’
  • ‘Angle of Refraction.’

More about our zines and work in Cambodia 2014-2019, is here.

First four guests to register will get a printed copy of one of the zines from our S P A C E collection.

Be a part of it

DK has hosted parties like S P A C E in Phnom Penh before, bringing a magic moment into shape.

There was also ‘Math & Jazz’ at Raffles’ Elephant Bar, plus a series of eight ‘Rooftop Philosophy in Phnom Penh’ events along with the first-ever ‘N’, our ‘theater of now’ big blind date party that you can read more about here. Don’t miss this chance ot catch DK on a short hop through Cambodia en route to Penang, Kuala Lumpur, and maybe further afield.

Book to register

Limited seats. (Just six).

Advance bookings only. USD $16.

These are the details.

Book here.

Issue #39: S P A C E | Hà Nội, ‘Paper Funnel’

Every Tuesday since December’s start last year I’ve been sharing a new issue of our online magazine, S P A C E.

Today’s is S P A C E | Hà Nội, ‘Paper Funnel’.

Collected bits from the road, including wisdom from people I run into, like this 80-year-old man who wanted to talk about life and give me advice, on a tour last year in Melakka…

 

‘Don’t hurry through things, don’t disappear on people. Wait for the miracle. That’s a Grateful Dead song, “Looking for the Miracle”, but I edited it. Anyway, life advice? Be honest. With yourself, and with other people.’
–80 year-old guest of a guesthouse in Melaka, Malaysia, in response to DK’s question, ‘Do you have any life advice?’

 

For those who like travel writing, this is the issue to get.

I worked super hard on the lead story, a longform one called ‘Paper Funnel’.

Order here

 

Writing the story as I find it

As always, it’s still creative nonfiction, but it’s getting tighter, thanks to editorial input and proofreading and copywriting and just general advice from those who know my writing, and me, pretty damn well, by now.

The story inside will be published in October’s issue of Saathee Magazine, which is in Charlotte NC, and for whom I’ve been writing a monthly column about where I am, at the moment, on the spot.

Get everything in this edition of the printer-friendly S P A C E.

Download it, fold it, and sew it to make your own at home.

Order this issue of S P A C E

‘Briefly in Sheffield’ | 1999-2015

Redesigning means revisiting some of your favorites ideas.

The story Briefly in Sheffield is one of those, for me. I’m happy whenever people read this zine of ours, in the real life context. I’m happy when they put it down and smile and say, That was a good story.

It’s short and sweet, much like the real life encounter that inspired this short story.

Often I hear, ‘I can really identify with the main character…’

Well, yeah. He’s quite a lark. Which is why I wrote this—so I could share the feeling of meeting and becoming curious about… ZM.

Art for art’s sake

‘Briefly’ is for ZM, one of the first people who challenged me to become fast on my feet in articulating a response, not hefty, when someone asks me something pointedly that I really don’t want to answer. Why that happens, how it rolls from that moment of questing through to the one where you find yourself in an unimaginably close-knit bond, in a short space of time, is the subject and delight of the young love that this story shines a light unabashedly upon.

I finished it in a jiffy, more than a dozen attempts since the late nineteen-nineties, and then, wham. There it was. Typed. Printed. Zined.

Like most situations, the impetus to figure out my way to the feeling came after meeting someone randomly, someone new. Whose shoes, which I remarked upon, and accent, which I remarked upon further, reminded me in every way of Z.

[I will skip the parts that didn’t, like that ridiculous potato-sack hopping thing that a lot of thirtysomethings were doing. I can’t deal with this kind of architecture ‘playfulness’ that this age group have, but whatever. I sat in the corner and mused about Z., watching the grown adults race in bags. But the peanuts. The peanuts were good. That was over Khmer New Year in Phnom Penh, in 2017. A new muse, a new poetry. A new beginning. And a new art.]

Jazzy, this one. With a clear understanding that this kind of thing can happen…

‘Shall we dance?…’

Cue ‘Shall we dance…’

Short stories and fresh writings

And now, here it is, reworked. A new cover design. I’m putting it over at the store for Kismuth.

Lots of reorganizing, around here, these days. Redirections. Reinventions. Sorting out the clutter, getting rid of the dead weight. Thank you most especially to AM, and a few others. Who have helped me very much in recent weeks come to some new understandings and insights; as I hope, I always hope this, I hope I did for them, too. And others, too, of course. Granted. Sure. Not a whole hell of a lot of others, but a handful, to be sure. Acknowledgements. Count.

Who, exactly? Coming soon. I have to write down the next things and then I’ll be able to understand who it is that has been here, with me, in the learning and sharing, int eh connecting and conversing, in the opening up and being around and telling it like it is and not-stopping, even if there’s a little space in the midst… space is natural… but meaning it.

Caring. Showing up. Is huge, for DK. And what we do, here. Making. Making things. Artworks come from this intention… meaning it.

Hugely important. For quality.

In search of Quality

Quality! Is all I really want to make more of, around here. And everywhere. Putting more beauty into the world. Forgetting my platform, there for a bit. Too distracted trying to make meaning with people who don’t know what that even looks like. Letting go. Clean, fresh openings.

Another country, soon. Another round and boisterous new start. I made a new personal website, too. Seeing. How it all feels. Writing and designing and zining and publishing, all in one spot here, was maybe kinda a bit… much. Enter podcasting and more stuff like that and yeah, even I’m kinda dazed. So let me simplify things. Let’s make this page all about the publishing of things. In Kismuth, or in S P A C E. I do like to include people in those conversations that lead to things, like co-created bits and pieces. I’m inviting people to join me, now, but in an invite-only kind of way. If you’re curious, get in touch somehow. We have a million channels.

DK

Protected: Writing in my head

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Kismuth in 2019

IT IS REASSURING and heartwarming to get the news today that there are readers following Dipika Kohli‘s new column, Kismuth & The Way, in Charlotte, NC USA-based Saathee Magazine. Here is the link to the first article for Kismuth & The Way.

If you started reading Kismuth as an e-letter in 2014, well, you might be surprised to see how things have updated. Practice. Can do wonders. The changes in writing are due to a medley of factors. First, a lot of conversations about how to slow down. Plus, an awareness now from some of the best of those that a written story isn’t so much about the observations  or how well they’re relayed, but rather how the readers will feel to be taken on a journey. (HT J, and S).

This is good. The work is just beginning, however, to continue to write and design and narrate and most importantly, share the real, raw, honest and genuine stories. Real people. Real places. Made in-situ, right where they are. Together, most often, in conversation parties and one-on-one random connections that turn into strings that start to organize themselves in lines, sort of, and then, make a story. It’s starting to get interesting around here.

It’s part of our new work, to gather stories in real life on the spot made and shared around the world, at cities where we are finding them by talking to people every day who happen to cross our paths (or social media feeds) and designing the themes together. Currently in: Latvia. Discover more about S P A C E, the idea behind this work, and how you can support these efforts: at our crowdfunding page.

Photos: BOSS

Atelier S P A C E | Tokyo

Atelier S P A C E is a two-year roving popup zinemaking atelier. It’s a project of the boutique studio, Design Kompany (started in 2004 in Seattle – presently based in Phnom Penh). On the road since Sept. 2017 from: Battambang, Cambodia, Atelier S P A C E co-creates a weekly zine. This is done with people DK discovers on the spot, in the locations where the popup zinemaking workshops go. DK invite others to co-create the zines. So far, some of the places we’ve been to make zines with others in this way are: Sheffield, Helsinki, Hanoi, Berlin, Seattle, Kuala Lumpur, and Phnom Penh. Stop by. See what’s up. Be a part of the experience at Atelier S P A C E, where some of us will be on hand to write, print, collage and sew with some of you a fresh zine, to be made on the spot: S P A C E | Tokyo, ‘Osananajimi’. Learn more about DK’s Atelier S P A C E and couture zines at instagram.

S P A C E | Tokyo will be a ‘yomikai’ get-together for those who want to read what we create, together, at Atelier S P A C E | Tokyo.

Request more info about either event…

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

New traffic

I REMEMBER THIS. Spam comments. Requests for jobs at DK. This must be what happens when you start blogging again. I mean, like really blogging, not just writing the clickbait-y stuff that I think so many people who write blogs that are professional service company people with a ‘plus a blog with them’ do. I mean, it’s easy to get caught up in that. Writing isn’t easy. Writing is work. Writing for the sake of what end, you wonder, and so, like everyone else, you turn into a market-markety bloggy-blog. Which is terrible. Because it’s not just irritating to find silly ad-like links everywhere, it’s also bad art. Bad art isn’t acceptable, so let’s move forward.

Shifts

Am reading about social capital. And how capitalism has taken what used to be stuff we did for each other because we’re human beings, and commodified it.

Social capital is, for example, when we take care of each other’s kids. When we help one another with homework, do the work that it takes to go out of our way to help someone else out with finding lost keys or getting to the next city or taking the right bus or whatever. Social capital is when someone kindly invites you to dinner when you know that all the restaurants are going to be closed because it’s a holiday, and nothing is open for five more days which means you’ll be stuck at the ‘mart’– which sells more processed garbage and smells, when you walk into it, like Capitalism.

[Long-winded side rant deleted]

And social capital is this kind of thing, the soft architecture of spacemaking: making space that is, for one another. To reflect, to share. All those old dialogue roundtables we did before, I remember some of them were very, very interesting, were a kind of ‘public space,’ the very sort that we need if we want to find ways to feel more connected. Like the things we are here for matter. Like we’re part of something more than just the day-to-day of churning out ‘stuff’ in exchange for our time. Selling our time, that is.

Being there, closely. Listening, and participating in the creative process of Life… Oh, no. I’m getting lofty again. (‘Come off the mountain, DK!’) Right, right.

I’m making this new stuff because I want to add more social capital to the pot of the ‘stuff’ that’s out there, now (which is largely boring, to me). I don’t go to networking events. Or weddings, if I can help it. I try to avoid all social chatter that revolves around ‘like-minded people are gonna be there’ because to me, ‘like-minded’ is an echo chamber I don’t wanna step into. I’m interested in the mix. The flow, the journey… But if you know me, you already know that. If you don’t, well. I guess I’m writing, at the moment, for the people who know me or potentially might—let’s see. The internet, as much as I give out about it, has made it possible for me to meet new people on the road in the very kinds of journeys that I’m also on… I don’t mean ‘like-minded,’ here… I mean, more of… the questioning, quest-y types… Not for everyone, of course… but. About 1 out of 100 will be reading this far. And looking for the ‘what do I do now that I’ve found you?’ call to action. (Is this you? It’s around, somewhere, I promise.) If it wasn’t for the internet, I’d probably still be thinking that my job at a daily paper was ‘creative.’

No.

But through the process of trusting the process, I found out what is.

Writing. Sharing. Every single week.

New currencies

Okay, then there’s the whole thing about what to do when we start to charge everything for everything, like, you know, babysitting and homework help and stuff like that. I mean, sure, we all have to earn cash because that is what it’s about right now, cashy-cashy. Still, I think we can start trading in something that is more old school. The currency of trust.

Why? Because, despite the worship of those little pieces of paper that we give and take from each other (more and more facelessly than ever, sadly, I feel) it’s not like we really need cash to get things to happen. We need trust. Like old times. We need to know who we can count on, and for real. To do things. Make things. Move around. Discover. Make time for each other. Be. All of this is what leads to stillness and reflection. And that leads to better art. Design is only a means towards getting to the better art. Art, art, art, ladies and gentlemen. I am not talking about what someone decided was artistic and put into a fancy pants gallery, either. I’m talking about stuff that moves us. makes us sing, connect, feel, and even brings tears to our eyes because it shows us our own…. there’s too much to write here and if I’m writing in this public space, which it looks like I don’t see the reason to make this a protected page post because those are reserved for the conversation-continuing, not starting, and what I hope to do is maybe make a few new starts, here. Today or soonish. But they have to be good starts. They have to have art in them.

My parents told me that I shouldn’t study art, so I went to engineering school* and then I worked for some architects, and then two different newspapers (fortnightly, daily), and then I started a design studio, and here I am writing away about art. All of the past experiences have informed the ways to design structures in which we can most excitingly discover the concepts that lead to great works. That’s important. Scaffolding. For S P A C E for ex. I’ll need to talk about it, sometime, if you are one of the people who are wondering how to connect with us in a better way than just reading this blog sometimes. There’s real stuff, it really is cool. It’s working, it’s been working, and there’s… a new beginning. And more…

*Looking for samples of what different bridges look like? This is a cool site.

‘More of what, though?’

Existing more artfully, in the same exact time frame, means you get more. Experience something fully by focusing on it, while you’re in it, and not getting distracted by all the so-called possibilities and ‘options.’ Sorry. I just don’t. Get that. I like to go with it when I know there’s a beginning there, that feels right. That works me, challenges me, instructs and delights, and best of all, delivers—all that is ahead, for me, is the quest of this kind of ‘more.’ Not more stuff. Not more friends. Not even more… anything, really. So what am I after, then? What am I questing? Questions. And people who ask good ones.

So far I’ve been very lucky. There is… an ambient… community. Behind the scenes here there are a small group of us talking together in very intriguing, even intimate ways, even though maybe we’ve never met in real life. Real life is the best channel, of course, but when we can’t have that it’s nice to have this and then gear up towards having that, one day. It does happen. It’s great. S P A C E started in 2014. So. There’s that. And most importantly: there is trust. Trust is what we’re dealing in, like I said. Trust trust trust trust trust is what we human beings always went with when it came down to it: ‘Do I believe you? Are you reliable?’ Please don’t act like you’re interested in what I’m making when we first meet and then turn out to be a really flaky flake: that is a huge, huge pet peeve for me. Be real, dude. Just: be real.

 

Towards a better art

Art! So much to talk about. I did go to a fancy art school for like five minutes but dropped out because it wasn’t where the meaning was getting made, it was where old, dying ideas about what is ‘good’ were getting pushed on young people who would go on to do, what Banksy wrote in something somewhere, the kind of work that just isn’t art because (and I’m paraphrasing) the best minds went to work for people who used them up to get us all to click links and buy stuff we don’t need. I left art school to take up odd jobs and then go travel, and then, more stuff, but yeah, it was a lot of movement, there, fora while. To quest the artful. I used to have two big categories at this blog, before it got deleted accidentally (long story). The categories were: 1) In Search of Meaning and 2) In Pursuit of Beauty. Then I think there was Found and also Trust the Process. Mostly still probing in these four compass points, about a decade and a half later.  Maybe we met in 2004 at something like Biznik. Maybe we met last week in Vietnam. Wherever you come from, wherever we’re going, we’re at this journey that I’m really excited about, that’s coming into shape quite nicely, in S P A C E. And since those four original points of query were so important then, is it any wonder, then, why we are talking together in online spaces in protected pages about existential philosophy, aesthetic moments, relational aesthetics (HT JB) the work of design, the meaning of art, the value of money, and much more related tangentially to these ideas?

So many philosophy magazines are a pile of junk, I think: they’re… well, let’s see… to put it bluntly?… they’re… just quoting the same old people saying the same old things, from a bygone era. (I have a habit of doing that sometimes, but some of us and I’m assigning myself to this role ought to be seeking up the new philosophers and publishing them: new voices, from the not-mainstream). Our real cool contemporary and updated modern philosophers are right here, amongst us here and now, talking, every day, about the way it all unfolds or doesn’t… I’m rambling. Oi. I’m going to stop now… Because. Art is the point. Not me making a point.I don’t wanna go down that silly path of logic-worship. Intuition is better. Intuiting the ‘rightness’ of things… and falling forward, towards them. Forward motions.

Such movements, after all, for S P A C E, are the point. So much to say. Will save it all up, for ‘Postmodern Nomads’, and the invite-only sequence ‘Strange Geometries II’. These new bits and pieces and unfolding meaning-making  conversations to come in Spring 2019, with the launch of a new series in S P A C E, ‘The Book of New Things.’

S P A C E QUESTS S P A C E. All of this to say that you can join the conversations, but please note that you have to be able to add to what we are doing. Contribute ideas, words, time, show up for stuff, be there. Be part of the journey. Fiscally that’s fine, that’s one kind of contribution, but we’re wiling to take trades of all kinds. Always. That’s the new thing, around here; trade something for us, for S P A C E. It can be what you think makes sense. Bartering around the world, we are, lately. I’m serious. Banked on it; it’s working. Trust. All the conversations that have built up in meaningful ways to date over these last four years as we prototyped and pivoted, tested and scrapped dozens of failing directions in order to come up with the theme, the concept, the sequence, and the small team that is the right one for us here at DK, well it’s a lot. But yeah. They started with: showing up. And conversations that go somewhere.

Social capital. Is that, and so many other things, enfolded into its coat sleeves, pockets… places we’ve forgotten about as we chase the bigger kind of more prominent style of ‘more.’ (Fame, money, popularity, all that stuff). But… let’s be real: social capital, the good stuff that it brings to us, and the community it builds, is the most important kind of ‘capital’ there really is.

 

Feature illustration: By Dipika Kohli // Phnom Penh 2015

S P A C E | Rovaniemi, ‘Arctic Circle’

‘… published books…’

‘…’

‘Wait. Have you published a book, DK?’

‘Yeah.’

‘Well, is it on Amazon?’

‘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.’

‘You do?’

‘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.’

‘Oh.’

‘…’

*beat*

‘What?’

‘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.’

*winging it*

Order this issue.

Get our weekly zine S P A C E, sent directly to your inbox every Tuesday at 7AM USEST. Subscribe here.

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.

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.

Beam me up

WHAT IS ‘The Work of Art?” Conversations that began in an online forum, The Mirror, opened the discussions about this in early 2018.

After a year of ruminations,  one key reflection is this.

If you don’t show up for the chance encounters in the places where you have no idea what’s going to happen, the art you make isn’t ever going to get to any place of real depth. Because it’s still in your own little bubble that you are working, and no one is going to make you ask the hard questions about it, to make it better.

 

Showing up

A LOT OF PEOPLE talk about how you have to ‘get inspired’ if you want to write or make art. That’s not true. Anyone who does this in a serious way knows that it’s really about showing up and practicing, over and over. The whole ‘get away for a week and just write so I can finally get my novel written’ is so…’ [a segment of this has been deleted because it’s really personal and long-winded and not really a good idea to put in a public-facing post, erm]… optimizing for the things that you want. Knowing what those are. All that.

 

I had the idea to make ‘zines’ because I wanted to do something that would be short, sweet, made on the spot, and easy to put together and assemble and quickly share. I had this gigantic multi-tab spreadsheet and color codes, columns, sorted pages, unsorted pages, and so many exclamation points that I can’t even tell you how fun it was. My dearest friends know that it was, for me, a time of ‘crunching the data’ and seeing the ‘a-ha’ as and when it showed itself. You just can’t do it any other way. You have to get in there and muck around with a thing if you want it to tell you anything interesting. This is why we are doing ‘agile publishing.’ And ‘experiential writing.’ And, and, and. I wonder what F would say about all this.

But yeah. This thinking came after years of trying a lot of things (I do mean a *lot*) including salons, workshops, client gigs, lots of doodling about, some forays into showing art work, exhibitions at places that did open calls, artist residencies, actual 9-5 gigs for multiyear stretches (yes! not kidding!), and doing what people in agile development like to call ‘pivoting’ when it comes to regrouping and redesigning and adusting to market forces.

Atelier S P A C E | Melakka, 2018

There are times when I wish that the market forces would evaporate and people would just see and know what ‘quality’ is, but then again, Robert Pirsig wrote all those bunches and bunches of words lamenting this same phenomenon and I can see that he only made peace with it when he accepted that just not all that many people in the world are gonna care about what you care about. Happily, I found Lila, his sequel to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, in a guesthouse in Melakka in Malaysia, and toted it with me back to Phnom Penh, and now have it here, with me, in… *somewhere else*. Somewhere new.

(On the way from ‘before’ to ‘next.’ And then… Riga.)

 

Rescuing Lila

IT WAS FORTUNATE and disappointing  to discover that someone I had imagined would find it very interesting to read Lila had not picked it up from the place I had left it for him, a small lobby of a place with staff who were wondering why I kept popping in and out, bicycle-helmeted, in my falling-apart outfits, asking about an obscure hardcover book. But it is an important book to me. It is for sharing with the people who are interested in the things I am interested in and that Pirsig was. Quality. Seeking it, questing for it. And when something or someone comes along that lends you a new angle on how to approach it (books can do this, people, places, travel, the scent of fresh rain after a few days of humidity, all of that), you know that it’s the most imperative in the world thing to do to sit up and listen. At least, for me. I’m questing S P A C E. And S P A C E attracts S P A C E. It’s like that. Abundance. Et cetera. But for me, subtracting things also helps me make space. Editing out what doesn’t work helps me better see the picture of the more important substance that attracts more of itself to make the whole. That is pretty esoteric. I should ask PH to comment, somewhere. I will. In S P A C E.

Does everyone want to hear about these things? No.

Does it matter to me that they don’t? Hmmmmm. *conflicted*

What is the role of the artist? To make art, but then, what the hell is the point making it, all alone?

‘Things come together, things fall apart.’ –Edward Albee, The Adding Machine

 

Choreography, S P A CE

Talking with Susan Yeung How Wah in Singapore, a choreographer, helped a lot with starting this new thinking. (I ran into her by chance in November 2017, after hanging around that city wondering if there was a way to really make a ‘go’ of Atelier S P A C E | Singapore. I was wandering about the city staring at my feet, wishing it could all work itself out like magic. Then, boom. Into my life walked the expression of magic, herself.

I managed to meet her by the by, and talk with for a full afternoon at La Salle’s Lowercase Cafe, because it was there, and so were we and why not, isn’t this the stuff of art and design and making? Conversation starts it all, doesn’t it?

So we made a time and we showed up.

That was when things began, in a large way, with setting the stage for the seeding of S P A C E. I’m dramatizing, of course, but she is really full of brilliance. I can tell. You always can, right?, when you meet rare gems amongst our lot who are also asking questions, going out on a limb, and showing up to try the experimental, and the new. (Thanks, SY!)

Who would know better than a choreographer about how to get people to work together artfully? The more we talked, the more I saw the beginning of a pattern I’ve been seeing now for a few years when I show up with a big list of questions and ‘ask the expert.’ Like it’s an interview or something. It never works like that, now. It turns into a conversation. I hear people say, ‘DK… This sure is… different. You’re doing something I’ve not seen, but it’s making me think.’

I ask for advice.

‘No, I don’t have anything. Keep going. That’s all I can say.’

 

Continuations

NEW 2019 FORUMS BEGIN. Such conversation spacemaking is exactly what S P A C E is designed to invite. Curious? I was thinking we could talk about ‘Statics & Dynamics’ this coming month. Who wants to know more? Ask me through the form here. Or, just subscribe to S P A C E to get both our weekly digital zine + the passcodes to our ongoing forums. These are the active spaces.

 

Data are data. It is the intellectual framework which one deals with the data that is at fault. The fault is with subject-object metaphysics itself… what Phaedrus was saying was that not just life, but everything, is an ethical activity. It is nothing else. When Quality postulates they’ve done so because it’s better and that this definition of ‘betterness’–this beginning response to Dynamic Quality–is an elementary unit of ethics upon which all right and wrong can be based. When this understanding first broke through in Phaderus’ mind, that ethics and science had suddenly been integrated into a single system, he became so manic he couldn’t think of anything else for days.** The only time he had been more manic about an abstract idea was when he had first hit upon the idea of undefined quality itself. The consequence of that first mania had been disastrous, and so now, this time, he told himself just to calm down and dig in. It was, for him, a great Dynamic breakthrough, but if he wanted to hang on to it, he had better do some static latching as quickly and thoroughly as possible. —R. Pirsig

**Can so relate!