Discovering 'Uncivilisation'

If you are looking for a deeper and more radical perspective on humanity’s current plight, and that of the planet, the Dark Mountain Project is stirring the waters of complacency with its aim “to conjure into being new ways of seeing and writing about the world. We call this Uncivilisation”.

The project involves a Manifesto, upcoming journal/book, a festival (May 28 – 30 in Llangollen, UK), and a website with blogs from some of the foremost activists and thinkers in the area of re-imagining our future (or how to traverse civilisation’s downfall). The project says environmentalists have gone from defending the biosphere to attempting to make industrial civilization ‘sustainable’, when this will never happen.

Here is a taste of the manifesto:

The pattern of ordinary life, in which so much stays the same from one day to the next, disguises the fragility of its fabric. How many of our activities are made possible by the impression of stability that pattern gives? So long as it repeats, or varies steadily enough, we are able to plan for tomorrow as if all the things we rely on and don’t think about too carefully will still be there. When the pattern is broken, by civil war or natural disaster or the smaller-scale tragedies that tear at its fabric, many of those activities become impossible or meaningless, while simply meeting needs we once took for granted may occupy much of our lives.

The Journal, Dark Mountain: Issue 1 is a book-length collection of new writing that goes “deep into the roots of our culture, addressing the questions raised by the Dark Mountain manifesto: what do we do after we stop pretending that our way of living can be made “sustainable”? And where do we find new stories with which to ground ourselves, as that way of living passes?”

The Journal will include essays, stories, poems and images.

The Dark Mountain manifesto is available to read on the webite and sets out in detail the objectives and philosophy of those involved. The project does not intend to be a static campaign with defined goals, rather an ideas based expedition with collaborations, public events, and publications.

The festival at Llangollen, called UNCIVILISATION 2010, will be “part literary festival, part music festival, part training camp for an uncertain future.

A highlight will be Dark Mountain co-founder Dougald Hine interviewing journalist and social commentator George Monbiot on environmentalism and its current direction. So if you are in the UK reading this, get along. For the rest of us not wanting to chew up jet fuel, look out for the journal and read the blogs.

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By: Steve Payne

First published: May 2010

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