Dark Mountain: Issue 22 – ARK

What do you keep when the storm comes in, and the tide goes out?

Our twenty-second issue is an ARK you might not expect: a store of testimonials from the custodians of a planet in peril, a seed bank to buffer us against an uncertain future, or a queue of iconic animals rescued from extinction.

Instead its pages carry a cargo of another sort: an assemblage of stories gathered from the wreckage left by a flood that has already come; art and writing that reveal the beauty, resilience and strength found in being fully alive in a troubled time. Our seeds are collected from felled trees and activist front lines, our disappearing creatures discovered in dreams; our artworks made with ochre from a polluted shore, with peat from endangered bogs, with insect wings, limpet shells, unloved spruce needles, microoganisms, tilting ocean horizons. A hold that treasures tales about what might happen next.

This ARK has been made in collaboration with the Wilderness Art Collective a work of creative salvage, with a cover and content pages (designed brilliantly by Graeme Walker) forged from abandoned archives and old typewriter keys. Most of all, it is a testament to the imagination of writers and artists, gleaners in a world that has lost its way, to show how we can build and regenerate an Earth-centred culture from what has been bequeathed us on a vanished tide.

 

Writers Chiara Ambrosio, Simeon Ayres, Shrishtee Bajpai, Amy Boyd, Freya Catron, Leonie Charlton, Heather Durham, ,Christine Fentz,  Siana Fitzjohn, Michael Guida, Hayley Harrison, Jonathan Hopfner, Nick Hunt, Neale Inglenook, Liz Jensen, Theophilus Kwek, Micheál Mac Gearailt, Jaden McGinty, Nicholas Crane Moore, Eleanor Morgan, Alexandra Narváez, Bethany Pitts, Stephanie Radok. Ben Rawlence, Caroline Ross, Laura Seldner, Miriam Sharland, Jane Smith, Nick Stewart, Sophie Strand, Felipe Viveros, Nicholas Wilkinson.

Artists Sanne Bjerg, Monique Besten, William Bock, Shelley Castle, Catalina Christensen, Louisa Crispin, Kristen Egan, Christine Fentz,  Joanne Grüne-Yanoff, Heidi Gustafson, Geraldine van Heemstra, Basia Ireland, Lucy Neal, Effie Paleologou, Christopher Patton, Joanna Pocock, Robin V. Robinson, Christy Rodgers, Meridel Rubenstein, Hannah Scott, Rainey Straus, Nick Stewart.

Wilderness Art Collective William Bock, Catalina Christensen, Louisa Crispin, Geraldine van Heemstra, Caroline Ross, Hannah Scott.

Editors Neale Inglenook,. Joanna Pocock, Philip Webb Gregg. Art and Production: Charlotte Du Cann.

Cover and contents artwork Graeme Walker

Dark Mountain: Issue 22 is a hardback book, 256 pages long, printed on FSC-certified paper

ISBN 978-1-8384160-3-4

After Ithaca: Journeys in Deep Time

A pile of seeds, a tuft of wool, a vessel of water, a closed box

What happens when the heroes disappear, when the battle for the city is over, when you return to the island and find a box in your hands? There was an instruction once that told us why the box should never be opened. But you don’t believe those stories anymore. You always open the box.

After Ithaca is a non-fiction work – part memoir, part essay, part travelogue – that follows a real life journey of descent in a world on the tip of crisis. It is set in the Peruvian rainforest, in the backrooms of Suffolk towns, in Japan, in France, Australia, in the desert borderlands, in borrowed houses and Occupy tents, in kitchens and burial chambers, underneath a lemon tree on an abandoned terrace…

The book revolves around the four initiatory tasks of Psyche, set by Venus, the goddess of love and justice: four territories that map this search for meaning and coherence in a time of fall. Each chapter starts with a memory of place as a clue to the investigation: the recovery of a relationship with wild nature, with being human, a kind of archaeology for the pieces of self that lie missing beneath a broken storyline, like the sherds of a pot.

It is a personal story and also a social story, about the relinquishment of a certain world, that looks at writing as an existential practice: showing how myth can be a techne for finding our lost voice, our medicine of how to put a crooked thing straight.

How to pull ourselves out of the wreckage, and start again.

 

‘Du Cann’s stunning interweaving of myth, history, culture and stories from the land take us deep into ourselves, to places we have never been and most crucially towards the Earth and each other… This is a beautiful, smart and generous book.’
— Joanna Pocock, author of Surrender: The Call of the American West

‘… quite remarkable. Turning her back on a society living on the surface, Charlotte Du Cann goes very deep indeed — deep into time, but also place, identity, gritty reality. Thoreau strove for ‘the solid earth! the actual world! the common sense! Contact! Contact!,’ and I think this author has taken up that good work and brought it into our fateful, flickering time.’
— Bill McKibben, author The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon, founder of 350.org

‘This beautiful and powerfully written book illuminates and challenges the stories we choose to live by in these times. Offering no easy answers but – as in all the best old myths – asking all the right questions, After Ithaca is a work of rare clarity, a fierce and necessary hymn to the human capacity for transformation.’
— Sharon Blackie, author of If Women Rose Rooted

Du Cann weaves sobriety and rapture so closely together they often exist within the same sentence. Both intimate and wide-scale mythological, this is a writer taking the hard yards and many blessings of her life and crafting something of real sustenance for others. Come see the big view.
– Dr Martin Shaw, author of Smoke Hole

In After Ithaca, Charlotte Du Cann draws the reader on a transformative journey around the globe, dancing nimbly from mythos to mythos and deep into deep time. Simultaneously grave and yet full of redemptive beauty, both elegy and awakening, these essays should be in every intrepid traveller’s kitbag.
– Nancy Campbell, author of Fifty Words for Snow

It takes clear-hearted cunning, stubborn humility and a fierce patience to smuggle truth back from the Underworld alive. Hardly anyone can do it, these days, but Charlotte Du Cann knows how. You’ll find no false promises in this book, no get-out-of-jail-free cards, and no play-acting. What you hold in your hands is a container of mythic material capable of blowing you clean out of the timeline of civilisation.
– Dougald Hine, co-founder of the Dark Mountain Project

Mythos meets Opinel
– Lucy Neal, author Playing for Time – Making Art as if  the World Mattered

 

After Ithaca is a softback book, 255 pages long, printed on FSC-certified paper

ISBN 9781896559834

Loss Soup and Other Stories

A journalist is invited to the fabled Dinner of Loss to drink a viscous soup made of lost and extinct things. In the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a nihilistic sea captain becalms himself on a plastic sea, while in an English fishing village a senile Blackbeard reminisces about his bloodthirsty glory days. The failed conquistador Cabeza de Vaca sheds his personality on the swampy coasts of the New World, and in a cabin in the woods a couple are haunted by the ghosts of Homo erectus, Neanderthals and other extinct hominids. Elsewhere, a legendary beast is dragged from a Welsh mountain lake…

The fourteen stories in Nick Hunt’s debut collection of short fiction travel from sixteenth-century Mexico to a post-collapse near future, from a visionary supermarket to life on other planets. All of them revolve around different forms of loss. By turns blackly funny, disquieting and fantastical, Loss Soup and Other Stories is a journey through the Anthropocene, climate chaos and the Sixth Extinction to the strange new worlds that might lie beyond.

 

‘With their eerie dream logic, Nick Hunt’s stories get closer to the heart of what it is to live in a time of endings than a forest of dystopian novels. They hold a dark mirror to our predicament, allowing us to approach it without being turned to stone.’
– Dougald Hine, Dark Mountain co-founder

‘Nick Hunt’s short stories are two increasingly rare things – original, and uncategorisable. Once read, they are not forgotten.’
– Paul Kingsnorth, author of The Wake

‘Loss Soup is a heady concoction of speculative fiction, ecological fables, and historical stories with the scope of novels. If a computer writing programme were able to combine Borges with Calvino, it might come up with something like this book. Yet it would miss the humanity, the wit and the moral imagination that blaze forth from Nick Hunt’s strange tales of the Anthropocene.’
– Gregory Norminton, author of The Devil’s Highway

‘Edgy, unsettling, fearlessly interrogative, brilliantly written and ultimately hopeful. Nick Hunt probes deep into the reasons for our nagging sense of bereavement. Most of us don’t even know what we’ve lost. Until we do, we can’t start the business of finding. Hunt’s important collection helps us to start the search for the crucial missing parts of our psyches, our societies and our ideas.’
– Charles Foster, author of Being a Beast and Being a Human

‘Nick Hunt has the gift of reconnecting his readers to the mood of timeless storytellers, and in so doing, activates archetypal principles that can bring direction, meaning and life in reflecting on our times.’
– Alastair McIntosh, author of Soil and Soul and Poacher’s Pilgrimage.

 

Loss Soup and Other Stories is a softback book, 147 pages long, printed on FSC-certified paper

ISBN 9781896559827

 

Dark Mountain: Issue 21

Our twenty-first issue revolves around the theme of confluence.

The image of watersmeet, of two streams merging into one, has long had sacred connotations, as shown by the votive offerings left at the point where rivers meet. This book goes beyond watery metaphor to explore confluence in its complexity: both life-affirming and death-bringing, nourishing and troubling, creative and destructive. Increasingly, the times we live in feel like a confluence of catastrophes: climate, ecological, political, cultural and existential. ‘Collapse’, as poet Sophie Strand notes, ‘is when things that shouldn’t be connected merge.’ The climate disaster unfolding around us is itself a convergence between the breakdown of ancient organic matter and modern industrial ambition, technology, greed and carelessness, a calamitous meeting of worlds. 

In the white noise of this chaotic merging, as disparate channels flow into each other and catastrophes impend, do we try to find solid ground, to hold fast in the roiling current that threatens to carry us away? Do we attempt to dam the tide? Or do we look to the words of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus – panta rhea, ‘everything flows’ – as we try to navigate down the unknown river?

From modern-day lycanthropy tales – inter-species minglings between human and animal – to the melting, freezing waters of the Antarctic Convergence; from intergenerational trauma to the disastrous coming-together of nuclear meltdown; from the collapsing ‘Doomsday Glacier’ to swirling microbial ecosystems deep within the human body; the contributions of the 60 writers and artists in this book join to make new patterns in this meeting of the waters.

 

Dark Mountain: Issue 21 is a collaboration with saltfront, the environmental humanities journal founded in Salt Lake City, Utah by Eric Robertson and Michael McLane. Inspired by Dark Mountain’s early work, saltfront is dedicated to a radically new type of ecological storytelling, with a focus on human habit(at).

 

Writers: Ellery Bakker, Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, Russ Bickerstaff, Nathanael Bonnell, Cayte Bosler, Charlotte Du Cann, Tim Fox, Alexander Fredman, Helene Grøn, Hannah Hindely, Nick Hunt, Stephanie Krzywonos, Anthea Lawson, Nancy Lord, Sarah Jane Moloney, Kate Moore, Steven Morgan, Ceda Parkinson, Tonia Peckover, Ian Peisner, John Rember, Eric Robertson, Minna Salami, Wren Schulte, Laura Seldner, Conrad Shumaker, Vita Sleigh, Jane Smith, Sophie Strand, Wanda Taylor, Sylvia Torti, Graeme Walker

Poets: Jeffery Beam, Sharon Black, Adam Gianforcaro, Finn Haunch, Joel Long, Michael McLane, Paul Rankin, Kim Trainor, Jonathan Travelstead, Christopher Watson

Artists: Oliver Raymond Barker, Gustaf Broms, Fatemeh Burnes, Peter Cameron, Esther May Campbell, Justin Carter, Blake Donner, David Ellingsen, Kathryn John, Sarah Misselbrook, Anika Nixdorf, Ava Osbiston, Veera Kaamos Pitkanen, Christy Rupp, Noah Alexander Isaac Stein, Jordan Tierney, John Weeden, Graeme Walker

Editors: Nick Hunt, Anthea Lawson, Eric Robertson. Poetry: Michael McLane.  Art: Ava Osbiston. Production: Nick Hunt.

Cover: ‘Meander’ by Cecily Eno

Dark Mountain: Issue 21 is a hardback book, 264 pages long, printed on FSC-certified paper

ISBN 978-1-8384160-2-7

Dark Mountain: Issue 20 – ABYSS

Our twentieth book brings an uncivilised eye to the mindset of extractivism.

Dark Mountain: Issue 20 – ABYSS delves deep into civilisation’s plunder of Earth. This all-colour strikingly illustrated issue reveals the hidden assault behind our technocratic lifestyle: on mountains, on trees, water, creatures and human beings, as extractvism’s insatiable drive for natural resources fuels a seemingly endless expansion in consumption.

From the hacked, fracked and exploded ground of the American West to tin mines in Cornwall and oil wells in Tajikistan; from 17th-century Dutch colonialism in Indonesia’s Banda Islands to an activist escapade in New Zealand’s Great South Basin; from lithium ponds in the Atacama Desert to the vanished rainforests of Borneo, over 60 writers and artists bear witness to this global pillage, as well as the pushback by communities and indigenous people in defence of their homelands.

In ABYSS, Alnoor Ladha and Martin Kirk write that we are living in the age of wetiko, an Algonquin term for a cannibalistic spirit that spreads like a virus. In South Africa, Sage Freda writes of how environmental and human exploitation are inextricably linked; the more we wreck and ravage the Earth, the more deeply we damage ourselves. As wetiko spreads across the world, all of us – and all other species – end up living and dying in the sacrifice zone.

But this book also asks: how do we remain fully human while so much  around us is being destroyed, especially as we (at least, some of us) enjoy so many of the material benefits that devastation brings? The fiction and poetry in this book navigate this tricky terrain, from Claire Wahmanholm’s haunting depictions of glaciers melting on the page to Tacey Atsitty’s wrenching depiction of the poisoned water supplies of the Diné in the American Southwest. Meanwhile, the art confronts us with the real cost of human interference: beginning with Lawrence Gipe’s stunning cover of a Siberian diamond mine, and ending with Aboriginal artist Betty Muffler’s post-nuclear work, Healing Country, that shows the scale and beauty of the Earth repair required.

Inspired by the CODEX Foundation’s project EXTRACTION: Art on the Edge of the Abyss, Dark Mountain’s 20th issue plumbs the depths of the pit we have dug in order to see how deep we have gone, and where we might go from here.

To celebrate Dark Mountain 20’s release, we invite you to join us for an online launch on Thursday 21st October starting at 19:00 BST. Tickets are limited so you’ll need to register to ensure a place – just follow this link. We hope to see you there!

 

Writers:  Tacey M. Atsitty, Negar Elodie Behzadi, Matthew Cooperman,  Bart Crezee, Will Falk, Paul Feather, Siana FitzJohn, Sage Frieda, Amitav Ghosh, Fiona Glen, Christie Green, Erika Howsare, Derrick Jensen, Nick Hunt, Bhanu Kapil, Lierre Keith, Alnoor Ladha, Jay Lovekin, Michael McLane, Henrik Olav Mathiesen, Natassja Noell, Rob Percival, Shaun Pett, Sophia Pickles, Joanna Pocock,  Dr Conohar Scott, Molly Sturdevant, Claire Wahmanholm, Max Wilbert, Ben Walter, Philip Webb Gregg

Artists: Jamie Allen, Deru Anding, Tom Baskeyville, Jaime Black, William T. Carson,  Jim Carter, David Ellingsen,  Kate Jessop, Eva Joly, Jon Jost, David Lauer, Anika Nixdorf, Lauren Redniss, Rebecca Riley, Bridget Rountree, Christopher Volpe

Extraction artists and poets: Christopher Benson, Nina Berman, Christopher Boyer, Craig Czury, Elena Dorfman, Erin Espelie, David Gardner, Lawrence Gipe, Ilka Hartmann, Jane Hirshfield, Basia Irland, Hikmet Sydney Loe, David Maisel, Laura McPhee, Richard Misrach, Betty Muffler, Annemarie Ní Churreáin, Bob Nugent, Paccarik Orue, Erika Osborne, Arthur Sze, Tess Taylor, Erin Vink, Michelle Waters, Will Wilson

Editors: Nick Hunt, Joanna Pocock. Steve Wheeler, Michael McClane (poetry) and Charlotte Du Cann (art). Contributing editor: Tom Smith. The book was co-produced by Charlotte Du Cann and Nick Hunt.

Cover: No 2 Russian Drone Painting (Mir Diamond Mine, Siberia) by Lawrence Gipe

 

Dark Mountain: Issue 20 – ABYSS is a hardback book, 248 pages long, printed on FSC-certified paper

ISBN978-1-8384160-1-0

 

Dark Mountain: Issue 19

Our nineteenth book revolves around the theme of death, lament and regeneration.  

With escalating reports of species extinction, the loss of habitats, and now a global pandemic, many people are waking up to the grief and loss that have threaded through the work Dark Mountain Project since it began. During a decade of descent, the books have appeared like small arks bobbing on a dark ocean, containers for creative work that mourns both ecological and cultural collapse and celebrates the beauty of a vanishing world. 

Our core question we took with us as we began this voyage: How can we face and properly lament what has gone? 

Shrouded, like a moth inside its cocoon, this collection sets out to hold ways to collectively mourn the loss not only of our fellow humans, but the wild world that has always succoured us. Our forebears knew the effect the dead have on life and the importance of grieving, of keeping the dead close. Our task was to find the words and images that mark the loss in ways we might have forgotten but still lie deep buried within us: how we might, like Caroline Ross, fashion our own Grave Goods out of deerskin and bronze, occupy the Houses of the Dead as in Fawzia Kane’s poems, and bear witness as Stephanie Krzywonos does, watching a penguin walk to its death in the arid Antarctic interior. How we can encounter the currents of the mythic beneath the ordinary world on a South Dakota highway as Samantha Wallen reminds us in The Death Mother.  

The book has been created as a memorial by 60+ artists and writers, a gathering of testimonies from people and places, grief walkers and haunted lands. Ringed by the ashes of the burned forests of Australia and the Americas, entwined with the now-vanished tree roots of Deru Anding’s native Borneo, it enshrines the broken bones of dead creatures, reconfigured in ceremonial staffs by Jim Carter or intricately observed drawings by Kathryn Poole, the fallen feathers of the gyrfalcon, the wren and the black grouse, the testimonies of ancient grains and antediluvian fossils, wreathed by leaves of roseroot from Greenland and milkweed seeds from Ontario, the sharp scent of Mexican marigolds that light our way to the Underworld.   

Words and images to take with us as companions into the dark…

 

Dark Mountain: Issue 19 has been created in collaboration with art.earth’s symposium ‘Borrowed Time: on death, dying & change’, a series of events taking place until 2nd November designed to explore insights around end-of-life care and death practices and share healing rituals for both people and the land.

 

Writers: Luanne Armstrong, Monique Besten, Nancy Campbell, Samantha Clark, Charlotte Du Cann, Mike Cipra, Kathryn Edwards, Edward Freeman, Linda France, Christos Galanis, Jay Griffiths, Anna Hatke,  Tiffany Higgins, Chris Kohler, Stepanie Krzywonos, Chris La Tray, Michael McLane, Matt Miles, Liadan Ni Chuinn, Kerri Ni Dochartaigh, Joanna Pocock, Sean Pett, Margi Prideaux, John Rember. Maeve Reilly, Carrie Rhys-Davies, Stewart Sanderson, Richard Skelton, Gabriel Thomas Stevens, Matthew Teller, Samantha Wallen, Weylyn Wolfe,

Poets: Ellery Akers, Stephen Ajay, Sharon Black, Dom Bury, Adam O. Davis, Rebecca A. Durham, Marc Kaminsky, Fawzia Kane, Pippa Little, Jane Lovell, ,Michael McLane, Nina Pick, Prageeta Sharma, Sophie Strand.

Artists: Deru Anding, Sara Angelucci, Jim Carter, Katie Ione Craney, David Ellingsen, Sarah Filmer, Sarah Gillespie, Gizem, Yvonne Love, Kirsten Norrie, Stephen Melton, Dan Porter, Kathryn Poole, Caroline Ross, Gabrielle Russomagno, John Thomson, Sophy Tuttle, Sean Vicary, Graeme Walker, John Weeden, Wild Conspiracy, Kate Williamson, Rachel Wolfe.

Editors: Nancy Campbell, Joanna Pocock, Michael McLane. Poetry: Nina Pick and Em Strang  Art and production: Charlotte Du Cann. For Borrowed Time: Christos Galanis and Mat Osmond.

Cover: It’s OK to Look by Graeme Walker

Dark Mountain: Issue 19 is a hardback book, 264 pages long, printed on FSC-certified paper

ISBN 978-1-8384160-0-3

Dark Mountain: Issue 18 – FABULA

Our eighteenth issue, FABULA, is the first Dark Mountain book dedicated to fiction. 

Fiction has always been at the heart of our call for ‘uncivilised’ writing. In a world convulsed by crisis, when old certainties are collapsing and narratives are falling apart, it is to stories that we look to bear witness to the state we are in. Unlike essays, non-fiction and ‘facts’ – which become more distorted by the day – fiction does not approach the fears and hopes of our times directly but obliquely, slantwise and widdershins, moving us in unexpected ways and changing our hearts, perhaps, as much as our thinking brains. 

 In the pages of FABULA you will find short stories, flash fiction and excerpts from novels and longer pieces, as well as artwork and illustrations specially commissioned for this book. This is a journey through modern fairytale, absurdist parable, vision and dream: from the bogs of a dystopian Ireland to near-future West Africa; from the drought-ravaged Australian Outback to the mouldering wreckage of enterprise in the all-consuming Amazon; from a deconstructed bird’s nest to punctuation shipwrecked at sea. You will encounter a vengeful river, litigious bears, a mythical forest guardian, the ghostly shades of America’s wars, stories of religious and sexual ecstasy, swarms of butterflies and drones, and be exposed to a global pandemic – but not the one you’re expecting. 

 This book is truly international, with writers and artists from the UK, Ireland, the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Ghana and India. A selection of the stories are also available as audio versions read by the authors; details can be found in the back of the book. 

 

WritersKahn & Selesnick, Tom Walsh, adrienne maree brown, Julia Blackburn, Conrad Shumaker, Neale Inglenook, Kim Goldberg, Ekow Manuar, Lynsey Wright, Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, Philip Webb Gregg, Eric Robertson, Siana Fitzjohn, Luke Winter, Cynan Jones, Sophie Shillito, Shaun Tan, Bridget Pitt, Micheál Mac Gearailt, Mike Cipra, Luna Mrozik-Gawler, Mark Martin, Paul Kingsnorth, Kirsty Logan, Romy Tara Wenzel, Wayne Karlin

Artists: Fiona Banner, Shirley Snow, Kahn & Selesnick, Sarah Ainslie, William Bock, Luisa-Maria MacCormack, Effie Paleologou, Shaun Tan, Sunandini Banerjee, Jon Jost, John Weeden, John Massot, Kevin Bell 

Illustrators: Johanna Lohrengel, Bethan McFadden, Jack Fawdry Tatham, Nick Hayes, Petra Carlson, Caroline Ross 

Dark Mountain: Issue 18 – FABULA was edited by Nick Hunt, Eric Robertson and Philip Webb Gregg. Art editing by Joanna Pocock. Production by Nick Hunt. 

Cover: Arial (sinking), American Garamond by Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press 

Dark Mountain: Issue 18 is a hardback book, 255 pages long, printed on FSC-certified paper 

ISBN 978-0-9955402-9-3

RRP £22.99. From our website £19.99

Walking on Lava: Selected Works for Uncivilised Times

This new paperback collection brings together essays, fiction, poetry, interviews and artwork selected from the first ten issues of Dark Mountain.

In the autumn of 2016, the members of our core editorial team – Charlotte Du Cann, Dougald Hine, Nick Hunt and Paul Kingsnorth – sat down to reread everything we had published to date and pick out 40 pieces with which to introduce the project to new readers. With many of our earlier issues now sold out, this is also a chance to bring some classic Dark Mountain contributions back into print.

The book opens with the project’s original manifesto and the selected works are organised around the eight principles with which the manifesto concludes.

 

“Don’t read this book if you’re not willing to be shaken and unsettled. Unflinching and unafraid!”—Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature

“This book changed my life. It puts into words the sense of utter hopelessness I feel about the fate of the world as we have known it. And yet, miraculously, it gives me ‘hope beyond hope’ for what lies ahead. The Dark Mountaineers are blazing new trails into, and through, the hot lava of our uncertain future.”—Eric Utne, founder of Utne Reader

“We humans are in trouble, and because of us, most of our fellow species are also in trouble . . .  To find our way through the ruins and beyond, we need more than clever technology and magical markets. We need an alternative to the industrial mindset . . . We need the kind of diverse, clear-eyed, ecologically wise imagining gathered in this book. A bow of gratitude to the denizens of Dark Mountain.”—Scott Russell Sanders, author of Dancing in Dreamtime

“A collection by turns magical, brave, earnest, and mournful but truthful throughout. The authors point the way down a faint but still visible trail beyond domination and back to our once and future place as humble animals in love with our world.”—Lierre Keith, author of The Vegetarian Myth; coauthor of Deep Green Resistance

The Crossing of Two Lines

 

 

‘Sometimes we use the term religious art or sacred art, but I really prefer venerative art. Because, as I see it, the upper middle class, the good-taste people, they do venerate like hell…’

The Virgin of Guadalupe appears before a camera crew on a Mexican hillside. A wooden shrine is hammered to a watchtower on a deserted Soviet army base. A stonemason fixes a cross to the roof of a roadside chapel in his family’s village. Since 2008, the work of Stockholm-based artist duo Performing Pictures has taken an unexpected turn towards themes of Catholic devotion. The results are still sometimes shown in galleries, but their primary function is within the religious lives of the communities with whom they are made.

The Crossing of Two Lines is a collaboration between Performing Pictures and Dougald Hine, co-founder of Dark Mountain. It is both a document of this work and an investigation into the discomfort that it has caused among their art world contemporaries. From the Croatian island of Rab to the pueblo of Zegache in Oaxaca, Mexico, hundreds of colour photographs chart the making and use of these venerative artefacts. Meanwhile, in a series of texts – one essay, four interviews, ten short poems – Dougald traces the intersecting lines of personal and collective experience which meet in this work.

‘We are used to art that employs the symbols of religion in ways seemingly intended to unsettle or provoke many of those to whom these symbols matter,’ he writes. ‘Yet to the consumers of contemporary art, those who actually visit galleries, it is more uncomfortable to be confronted with work in which such symbols are used without the frame of provocation.’

The book is published by Elemental Editions and distributed in the UK by Dark Mountain.

Dark Mountain: Issue 13 (PDF)

This is a PDF download of Dark Mountain: Issue 13

Time stops, or seems to for a moment: a woman falls from a tree and doesn’t remember falling, or she waits by a fire in a forgetting time, or she stands in a coal pit, in Australia or Germany, her body on the line. A man swims out and merges into the ocean tides; another runs across the peaks, his feet on the wild land. One child is ushered in by the ancestors. another is refused entry by the future. Our paintings on a rock, meant to last for millennia, are swept away by the storm. Our words become covered in leaves, entwined with the lost tracks of animals. Letters turn into trees, pages burst into flames, language fragments and coheres in another shape.

What happens when we capture and inhabit that moment? When we hold time in our bodies and not in our minds? What story do we now tell?

The thirteenth Dark Mountain book focuses on what ‘being human’ might mean in an age of rapid ecological and social change. Held between covers of painted limestone, these writings and artworks reflect a culture entering an epoch that has been named ‘the age of humans’ (or the Anthropocene). From the trepidations of bringing a human life into the world, to the responses which rise within us – humour, grief, despair, concern – when confronted daily with a society veering out of control.

Eric Robertson and Emma Giffard examine the familial and social burdens we inherit; Sarah Thomas explores the themes of resilience, relinquishment and restoration in the face of a devastating house fire; Alf Hornborg outlines the global games which humans play and how we can see through them; Sara Hudston celebrates the long history of human coexistence with the horse; Andrew Boyd‘s ‘gallows humour’ highlights the crucial role of laughter in serious times, illustrated by Natalia Zajaz’s comic take on ecological change.

The book’s colour plates also reflect this diverse response, ranging from Anne Campbell’s micro-photography unsettling our human-centric perspective and Katie Tume’s iconic embroidered figureheads of mass extinction.

The issue features writings, interviews and poetry from aJbishop, Anne Bergeron, Olga Bloemen, Alastair Bonnett, Andrew Boyd, Cate Chapman, Mike Cipra, Raoul Dalmasso, James Disley, Charlotte Du Cann, Neil Eccles, Paul Fidalgo, Carrie Foulkes, Delia Garigan, Brian George, Emma Giffard, Kim Goldberg, Harvye Hodja, Kyle Holton, Alf Hornborg, Sara Hudston, David Iaconangelo, Anthea Lawson, Garry MacKenzie, Michael Malay, Michael McLane, Nalini Nadkarni, Mat Osmond, Nina Pick, Abby Rampone, Sarah Rea, Eric Robertson, Mark Rutter, Francesca Schmidt, Tom Smith, Sarah Thomas, J.B. Turnstone, Ben Weaver, Jane Woodhouse and Natalie Young.

The artists whose work weaves through its pages are Amory Abbott, Jenny Arran, Alex Boyd, Gustaf Broms, Anne Campbell, Katie Ione Craney, Katie Holten, Bruce Hooke, Ron Jude, Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick, Ilyse Krivel, Darrell Koerner, Daru McAleece, Robin V. Robinson, Caroline Ross, Katie Tume, Kate Walters, Julie Williams, Kate Williamson and Natalia Zajaz.

The editors for this issue are Cate Chapman, Charlotte Du Cann, Eric Robertson and Tom Smith.

Dark Mountain: Issue 13 is a hardback book, 272 pages long, printed on FSC-certified paper.

ISBN 978-0-9955402-3-1