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Design Life

20 Design and Korea 6: The Artificial Town

I count three kinds of human settlement. There is the camp. A temporary bulwark against the elements. All it takes is a firepit and people huddled around it. Assembled and reassembled as the community moves. Hunter-gatherers on the move, pastoralists and their goats and their sheep, German tourists in their FKK camps on the Adriatic. […]

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Cooking Life

19 Reflections of Two Hundred Days

Alcohol is an integral part of Slovenian culture. Boys become men by drinking. Hosts welcome visitors to their homes with a schnapps. At celebrations, people become dancers and revelers after two beers. At university, exams passed and exams failed are celebrated with a bottle of wine. All three great European drinks are part of Slovenian […]

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Design Life

18 Design and Korea 5: My Arcology

My hometown of Tolmin has fewer than 4,000 citizens. Lausanne, in Switzerland, has 140,000 (and shops that close earlier than in Tolmin). In both towns, people live in large single houses or small apartment blocks. This is the way people live throughout the Alps. You could take a paysan from Pully, plop them in Ptuj, […]

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Life

17 The Empire Is Naked

I’ve thought of writing this piece for months, but every time I stopped my fingers from hitting the keyboard. Keep it positive, keep it interesting, keep it personal. We expatriates are, after all, disenfranchised people in the societies we inhabit. Better to avoid politics. In the oval office sits a sad (and strikingly stupid) little […]

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Art Life

16 Artist

‘Artist’ (‘Umetnik’) was often used as a slur, rather than a description, in my mountain town. Honest people worked with their hands, farmers and laborers and surgeons. Dishonest people worked with their mouths, lawyers and politicians and teachers. Artists did not work. They created. And what they created was chaos and danger and change. Or, […]

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Design

15 Design and Korea 4: The Ruler

Korean culture is indebted to its rulers, even its alphabet (한글 hangeul) created by decree of King Sejong in 1443. But that kind of ruler is not my topic today. I needed a ruler. The un-kingly sort, for making straight lines on paper. So I went to a Korean stationary store. If you’ve not been […]

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Life

14 The Unbearable Pleasure of the Crappy Company

This is a paean to the shitty enterprise. You know the sort. The ones with 3.1 stars on Glassdoor. The reviews that sniffle how “you learn a lot.” The owners whose visions never translate into strategy, which never gels with execution, that never fails too miserably to kill the damned thing off. They come in […]

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Art Design Life

13 Design and Korea 3: The Tree

When I was six years old, I went to my first day of ESL (English as a Second Language) class at the International School of Tanganyka. I was pretty proud that I could count a bit already: “one, two, tree.” I was immersed in Amglish culture. From Enid Blyton to Dr Seuss, and so forth. […]

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Art Life

12 Sufficitary

In 1999 we went on a school trip and I saw architectural models by Jože Plečnik. Some of them were never built, only dreamt. Here was fantasy made wood, and sometimes stone and glass and steel. I was seventeen and I wanted very much to be an architect. Father got wind of this. Not surprising, […]

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Cooking Design Life

11 Design and Korea 2: Scissors

“Where are your scissors?” “In the stationery drawer, why?” “I need to cut the meat.” “Huh?!?” In creative and design and lateral thinking workshops one of the oldest tricks in the book is the brick. Master comes into room. Master places brick on table. Bits of fired clay crumble onto table. That will leave ochre […]