12th January, 2010
It’s barely half a year since the Dark Mountain Project was launched, but with the new year still young, it’s time to shift things up a gear. We have been thrilled and flattered by all of the interest there has been out there in our frankly experimental attempt to create new narratives for new times. There’s clearly an appetite, born from current events, for what we’ve been trying to say.
Today we announce an event and launch a campaign which mark the next stage of this project. We need your help to get there: between now and 15th February, we aim to raise £4000 (or $7000) to cover the costs of publishing our first book-length journal – and we’re offering a range of rewards and recogition to those who help us reach that target.
As we had hoped, a movement is genuinely beginning to coalesce around the Dark Mountain Project; a movement of creative, thinking people, who have stopped believing the ‘one more push’ narrative of the green activists; who are bored with the clever cynicism of much contemporary art and literature; and who don’t believe that the much-vaunted ‘sustainable’ future will, could or even should become a reality.
There are two key ways in which the project of Uncivilisation will move forward in the first six months of this year: the first issue of the Dark Mountain Journal, and our first festival.
May is when it all happens. That’s when the journal will be launched; and it will be launched at UNCIVILISATION 2010: the first Dark Mountain festival, which will take place on the (bank holiday) weekend of Friday 28th to Sunday 30th May. That’s the weekend that you should block out in your diaries immediately, because you’ll end up feeling very sorry for yourself indeed if you miss out on the chance to come and get involved in the Uncivilising project.
First, the journal. Issue 1 of Dark Mountain will be a book-length, cloth-bound hardback, designed and printed by our artisan friends at Bracketpress, laying out, for the first time, the beginnings of Uncivilisation in print. We are sifting through contents and potential contents now, and it is thrilling stuff.
We already know this issue will include essays from award-winning writer Jay Griffiths, author of Wild, two highly acclaimed poets, Glyn Hughes and Mario Petrucci, and other writers including Alastair McIntosh, Simon Fairlie, Ran Prieur and John Michael Greer. There will be new poetry from Melanie Challenger, Mark Rylance, Mario Petrucci and Louis Jenkins; interviews with philosopher Derrick Jensen and Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog; fiction from Paul Kingsnorth, Nick Hunt and others; and comics, artwork and other splendid visual displays. It’s going to be quite something.
As is UNCIVILISATION 2010: the Dark Mountain Festival. Dougald and I have just come out of a planning conflab for this, and we’re both hopping about with excitement. In and around the revamped Pavilion in the beautiful town of Llangollen, nestled amongst the dark mountains of north Wales, we’ll be presenting a weekend-long menu of talks, readings, live music, workshops, demonstrations, art exhibits, walks and more. It’s no coincidence that UNCIVILISATION 2010 clashes with the opening weekend of the Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival. While the literary establishment gathers for its annual love-in, we will muster an opposing army at the other end of Offa’s Dyke for a very different kind of gathering.
We’re looking forward to talks, debates and arguments from writers and thinkers including Alastair McIntosh, Tom Hodgkinson, George Monbiot, Melanie Challenger, Glyn Hughes and Jay Griffiths; a writers’ panel discussion on the failures of literature to tell the real stories of a collapsing world; music from Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, Chris Wood, Chris T-T, Marmaduke Dando’s Powerdown and Will Hodgkinson’s Ballad of Britain; outsider art and photography exhibits; a theatre and bookshop; a specially-curated Dark Mountain Cinema; and practical workshops on topics ranging from ‘collapsonomics’ to Uncivilised poetry to foraging for wild food. There is more to be announced, so keep coming back here for updates.
As you’ll see, the Dark Mountain website has also undergone a snow-white, winter deep-clean. You can explore our blogroll and hopefully find things a bit more easily – and you can also buy festival tickets and journals in advance.
As of today, we’ve put the first 100 festival tickets on sale at a reduced price of £55 (After this tranche is gone, the standard price will be £60 each). This covers the whole weekend’s activities, plus camping. Book now, as they say, to avoid disappointment.
We’re also launching a funding campaign to raise the costs of printing the Dark Mountain journal. The book will be designed and printed by the wonderful Bracketpress of Rochdale. We’re due to deliver the final text to them on February 15th and we need to pay them around £4,500 for their work. That’s about £4,000 more than we currently have in the Dark Mountain bank account, so we’re asking for your help to raise the difference.
This isn’t just about shaking a hat for donations, though: in return for your contributions, we’re offering copies of the journal and a range of other Dark Mountain bonuses to those who contribute. Here’s the deal (in dollars, because we’re using an American website: rounded-up sterling price in brackets):
There are lots of ways that people can help this project on its way, and not all of them involve money. In particular, we’re grateful for the huge number of contributions people have sent in for the journal. The standard has been extremely high – and reading them, we can see how strongly you have connected to the ideas and the arguments we’ve hosted here over the past few months.
If you sent us material and you still haven’t heard back from us – we promise we will be in touch very soon either way. Many thanks for your patience; we were overwhelmed and have had a hard time keeping up. If you are still thinking of contributing, please do: lines are now open for contributions for issue 2. And we are still looking for acts to perform at the festival: if you have any thoughts, whether you are a speaker, a poet, an artist, a musician, gardener or have any other skills you think need airing, please do drop us a line soon. We’re also open to recommendations for people you’d like to see in the line-up.
The aim of the Dark Mountain Project has always been to curate a conversation and to let things happen naturally, rather than simply broadcast our own Very Important Thoughts. It is in this spirit that the festival will be held; coming along will make you not a spectator but a participant, in any way you choose to interpret that.
Finally, we will use the next few weeks on this blog to introduce the work of some of the writers who’ll feature in the journal and at the festival. We think that all of this should keep us all pretty busy for a while. Happy new year!
Posted by Paul Kingsnorth on 12 January, 10
Posted in: Blog
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