In the Media
Dark Mountain in the Media
From its earliest days, this project has attracted a striking level of attention. Our twenty-page, self-published manifesto was given a two-page lead review in the New Statesman and debated in the pages of the Guardian. By its fifth anniversary, the New York Times could introduce Dark Mountain to its readers as a project that was ‘changing the environmental debate in Britain and the rest of Europe.’
Many people have found their way to Dark Mountain through the media coverage which the project receives. At the same time, that coverage has taught us how difficult it is to describe Dark Mountain; indeed, how little consensus there is on what kind of thing Dark Mountain is. We’ve been called ‘the world’s slowest, most thoughtful think tank’ (Geographical magazine) and ‘a form of psychosis … [that] threatens to create many more corpses than ever dreamed of by even the Unabomber’ (Bryan Appleyard, New Statesman).
Slowly, we came to understand that the difficulty in summing up the project, while frustrating for a journalist on a deadline, is part of what makes it work. When people hit up against Dark Mountain, either they bounce straight off the side (in indifference or indignation), or else something here speaks to something in their own experience, and that sense of recognition causes them to slow down, to puzzle their own way into what is going on.
One sign of this is that those who come to report on or document Dark Mountain often end up crossing the line and getting involved in the project itself. Charlotte Du Cann came as a newspaper reporter to review our second festival for The Independent – and stayed to become one of the core members of the team.
We are always open to enquiries from journalists, especially those who have taken time to get a feel for what Dark Mountain might be. Use the Contact page to get in touch with us.
Meanwhile, on this page, we’ve brought together a selection of the coverage which Dark Mountain has received over the years.
‘A lot of environmentalists are angry with Dark Mountain because they’re so pessimistic. But for me … I feel like in order to fight the people who are making this world a worse place, you’ve got to face your fears and face reality … I understand why it can be intimidating to start reading them, but to me it was very liberating, because what I felt was, “oh, somebody else is also thinking about those things, and here’s a world of artists who are sharing these ideas, and I finally feel like my voice is heard.”’
Susanne Sundför talks to the NME about the importance of Dark Mountain for her music, 22 May 2018.
‘We see things in the daylight, but in the night we have dreams and we process the things that we’ve seen and try to make sense of them, try to find a way of weaving them into our knowledge of ourselves and our ideas of ourselves in the world.’
Dougald Hine talks to Frontier magazine’s Tristan Marantos about the role of darkness in how we make sense of the world, Spring 2018.
‘The response that the Dark Mountain Project is interested in is writing about the world in a way which doesn’t put people front and centre.’
In the January 2018 episode of the podcast Diane: Entering the Town of Twin Peaks, one of the presenters uses Dark Mountain to help make sense of David Lynch’s cult TV series. (Starts around the 14 minute mark.)
‘What I value is their clear eyed appreciation of the vulnerability of human life and the way we live it. So, for example, in the opening section of the manifesto of the Dark Mountain project we find the following sentence: “The pattern of ordinary life, in which so much stays the same from one day to the next, disguises the fragility of its fabric.” And that, to me, is absolutely right.’
Dark Mountain makes an unexpected appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day with Rev Dr Giles Fraser, 10 January 2018.
‘For me, it’s about regrowing a living culture, among the ruins.’
Dagens Næringsliv is Norway’s financial newspaper. In November 2017, they sent a reporter to the launch of SANCTUM, the twelfth Dark Mountain book, in Uppsala, Sweden. The result was a six-page feature (in Norwegian), published in their D2 magazine in January 2018.
‘Many of the pieces in Walking on Lava are as sad as they are angry, as solemnly nostalgic as they are well informed. This is not a criticism. The human propensity towards sentimentality, so often seen as a weakness, could be mankind’s saving.’
Ben Myers reviews Dark Mountain’s selected works for the New Statesman, 28 August 2017.
‘John, a lanky, buzz-cut 40-something, had come to see most people around him as wasteful and oblivious. He’d look out from his place in the city and see offices empty, lights on, row after row, and despair. “I’m a person who has lost almost all hope,” he told us. Now, though, John took the lead, his long legs carrying him at a brisk pace. I felt lighter, too, in this strange column of dark-mountaineers. At the end of an arduous section of trail, we stopped to catch our breath. John was smiling now, sweating. “I think we’re doing something right,” he said. “I think so,” I replied.’
Brian Calvert joined Paul Kingsnorth for a retreat in the Pyrenees. Among the results of the experience was his essay, So what if we’re doomed?, which appeared in High Country News on 24 July 2017.
‘Through Dark Mountain I’ve got to know the most incendiary, challenging thinkers, writers and makers – far more earthily radical, visionary and mind-blowing than any other group or outlet I’ve come across in my life. Interacting with them and their networks, some becoming friends, made a fundamental shift in how I see the future and my life. It’s huge for me.’
The musician Chris T-T talks to Gut Feelings zine about the influence of Dark Mountain on his work and his life, 30 August 2016.
‘The Dark Mountain Project … is less an attempt at taking environmentalism in a new direction, and more about creating a sensibility and an acceptance that the current industrial life, as led by approximately 1.5 billion people, might be completely unsustainable.’
Tom Hart reports from Dark Mountain for Geographical, the magazine of the Royal Geographical Society, London, 11 May 2015.
‘When you ask Kingsnorth about Dark Mountain, he speaks of mourning, grief and despair. We are living, he says, through the “age of ecocide,” and like a long-dazed widower, we are finally becoming sensible to the magnitude of our loss, which it is our duty to face.’
Daniel Smith came to the final Uncivilisation festival in 2013 and interviewed many of those involved in Dark Mountain. The result was a profile of Paul Kingsnorth and the project he co-founded, published in the New York Times Magazine of 17 April 2014.
‘These aren’t the sort of people I’ve encountered in the protest and ecology movements of the recent past; these are the people we always felt we were failing to reach, failing to engage. Somehow, an urge toward personal resilience and preparedness has replaced the hope that the government will get it all sorted. Instead of reassurances, they’re looking for new stories into which they can write themselves, and new solutions they can take home with them.’
Paul Graham Raven comes to Uncivilisation 2012 to meet ‘the collapsonomics crowd’ and is surprised by the mix of people he finds. Arc 1.1, 2012.
‘It seems like everybody who comes is a maker or doer of some kind – singers and songwriters, poets and writers, but also hackers, healers, disaster engineers and renegade bankers … Again and again I found I could just sit down next to a stranger and very quickly we’d disappear down the rabbit hole – discussing peak oil or biotechnology, Hindu death cults or the problems with the publishing industry, prison reform or rap songs about cycling. All around, all weekend, people were meeting, talking and thinking, ideas crackling into the sky alongside the woodsmoke and live music.’
Tom Stafford reviews our Uncivilisation festival for Now Then magazine, Issue 42, September 2011.
On Dark Mountain as a project
‘We were learning how to become grown-ups.’ Aeon Magazine is faintly bemused by Dark Mountain. September 2012
‘Dark Mountain … is about facing the reality of the matter.’ STIR magazine reviews the Project three years in. August 2012
‘This engagement of narratives in re-imagining and shifting the way we live drew my attention’ – Jeppe Graugaard writes about Dark Mountain and academia. January 2012
‘The Dark Mountain project tells us the things we don’t want to hear, and it is a no-nonsense Zen-like response to the ‘age of ecocide’ that our civilisation is causing.’ The Huffington Post interviews Paul Kingsnorth. October 2011
‘I cannot make the leap that Dark Mountain demands’ – George Monbiot takes issue with the Project in the Guardian. May 2010
‘All we did was give it a name. Where it goes next is anybody’s guess’ – Paul Kingsnorth explains Dark Mountain in The Guardian. April 2010
‘It may be the most honest attempt at literature we’ve seen – and that alone marks it as a kind of success we have been lacking’ – Sharon Astyk on Dark Mountain. February 2010
‘A root-and-branch challenge to the foundations of a culture of consumption’ – Boyd Tonkin writes about Dark Mountain in The Independent. November 2009
On the Dark Mountain books
‘Dark Mountain is a radical project, and a brilliant one, capable of opening your eyes in the encircling twilight.’ The Journal of Wild Culture reviews book 3, December 2012
‘It appears that the editors are first and foremost trying to change mainstream thought processes: not easy to do and frequently unappreciated.’ – The Ecologist reviews Dark Mountain book 2. August 2011
‘The stimulus of Dark Mountain transports many of us into a deeper paradigm of seeing and being’ – Alastair McIntosh reviews Dark Mountain book 1. June 2010
‘This slim pamphlet aims to demolish contemporary beliefs about progress, industrialism and the place of human beings on the planet, and up to a point it succeeds’ – John Gray reviews our manifesto in the New Statesman. September 2009.
On Dark Mountain events
‘Uncivilisation is no ordinary summer festival. People have come here not to escape from reality, but to face it’ – The Independent reviews Uncivilisation 2011. August 2011
‘We all need to confront our own stories we hold about the world and face reality ourselves if we are to be able to contribute to these new stories.’ Part Time Peasant reviews the 2011 festival. September 2011
‘There was a dark cloud over the sleepy Welsh town of Llangollen last month’ – CNN reviews the first Uncivilisation festival. June 2010
‘Uncivilisation was a kindling of consciousness, a communion, and a rare opportunity to begin the process of “reconstitution”‘ – OpenDemocracy on our first festival. June 2010