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Common Discourse is a project designed to help others (and ourselves) think through creativity, focus, and intentional work—from Alex Tan & Alice Otieno.
Every Tuesday we share words from a journal, a few ideas, a quote from somebody else, and links worth sharing. On Fridays we invite a guest to share images from their camera roll and a sound that resonates with them.
One thing that we truly believe in at MW.S is that digital spaces can be just as thoughtful and intentional as physical ones. We don’t necessarily believe that digital and physical are interchangeable. But in the same way you have an experience in real life that is worth writing home about, we know we can make that happen for online destinations as well.
While most of the world is obsessing with replacing our physical experiences with virtual ones, I’ve grown to feel the opposite.
I could talk for hours on what good digital experiences can do for us and the ever-evolving need for those spaces to be improved. But after a couple years of staying home, every glimpse of gathering as we transition back into normal life encourages the need for more.
A friend last week asked how I continue to find things to write about every week and the realization occurred to me how difficult it was to write during the height of the pandemic. And really, how much easier it has gotten as I more regularly run into friends in my neighborhood, chat over a glass of wine, or go to some sort of party.
At the end of the day, all we really have are the experiences we live through.
Thanks to everyone who hung out with us at the Neutra VDL house this weekend. It feels like yesterday we were throwing our first event with MOUTHWASH in Chicago. And while a lot has changed since then, the spirit is the same. Make the online community a real life community, put names to faces, and give people something to look forward to.
We’ll see you at the next one.
(Check out the new VDL Neutra website and refreshed visual identity while you’re at it!)
A few ideas
I. SPIRAL THINKING
There is a scientific term called recursivity which refers to cyclical nature of qualitative research—coming back to the same problems over and over again until we reach a conclusion with different perspectives along the way. Contrary to what first comes to our minds, it is not a perfect circular pattern. It acts more like a spiral.
Life moves this way as well. Every day, month, year, and loop is different as we approach the end. We’ll move through time coming over similar places we have been before, but never really the same spot, it is above or below, inside, outside.
This is what growth looks like.
II. WHY SIMPLE IS DIFFICULT
Simplicity is difficult because most of us are overcompensating for uncertainty. It takes a deep understanding of beauty and emotional awareness to look at something, long before most people would say it is complete, and say “This is enough.”
III. EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION
The most effective communicators are ones who most consistently show up as themselves in every form.
Write the same way you talk to your friends at a bar.
Make art that provides a point of view on things you care about.
Exist online the same way you do in real life.
A quote from somebody else
“In this world you either crank that soulja boy or it cranks you” — Soulja Boy
Links worth sharing
🌬 Fourteen Variations on Silence: Alina Ştefănescu compiles 14 reflections, throughout different times and spaces, that demonstrate how silence shows up in various forms.
🎹 That's not a wrong note, you just lack confidence.
📚 An online library that celebrates black english and black language.
📂 Olafur Eliasson’s archive for his piece, Your Uncertain (2010)
🏝 Sand Spiel is a falling sand game that provides a relaxing and creative place to play with elements.
🍕Pizza Value Calculator lets you compare pizza deals to show you which one is the best value.
Thanks for consuming!
ℹ️ Read more about Common Discourse here.
📬 If you like this newsletter, please consider sharing with others who might enjoy it as well.
🗂 Here is every Common Discourse weekly briefing to date.
🐤 We have a Twitter feed where we populate things that resonate.
⭐ We use Are.na as a tool to archive specific aspects of this project.
🗣️ This project is more fun when there is dialogue amongst those who are reading. Use the comment feature at the bottom of this article to start a conversation, we’ll use your ideas for future briefings and food for thought.