This is where I write about books, events, talks and collaborations in which I’ve somehow had a hand.
During the next several years I intend to work on an epilogue to the industrial age...With these words, Ivan Illich opens Tools for Conviviality (1973), one of the series of short books written at the height of his fame. This month, the Design Museum in London are hosting a day-long symposium to explore the possibilities for Convivial Tools today. There's a great line-up – and I was delighted to be asked to offer a reflection as part of the day's programme.
After ten years of holding the space of Dark Mountain – the space between stories, the place you come when things you once believed in no longer make sense – it's time for me to move on. I won't be leaving overnight, but I'm now working to finish up or hand over the bits for which I'm responsible, and once we've celebrated the tenth anniversary of the manifesto next July, I'll wander off to join those friends and collaborators who are already part of the project's past.
So many of my working hours in the first half of 2018 went into the new Dark Mountain website. It was a strange experience to have it "go live" while I was offline and away from work of all kinds last month. But also appropriate, a reminder that there are others who will take this project forwards.
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.
Well, it's not a "school of everything" – and it doesn't promise to be the future of the university. But a lot of heart has gone into this little school that we're launching today. And I've never felt more grounded, bringing a project out into the world, than doing it alongside Anna.
There is no such thing as standing, there is only being held up.
– Franz Rosenzweig
Over the past three weeks, SANCTUM, the twelfth Dark Mountain book has been making its way into the world. To mark its launch, the Dark Mountain website has run a series of pieces about the rather extraordinary collaborations that went into the making of this book – and I wanted to share those with you.
I've been a guest lecturer at many institutions across Europe, but nowhere has come to feel more like home than CEMUS – the Centre for Environment and Development Studies at Uppsala University.
In the English language, we speak about hope in a way that suggests foundations, the starting point for whatever you are going to build. I want to say that there are two stories about hope going around. You can choose which of these to build on – and that choice has implications, for what you build, and maybe for the kind of world we end up in...
Here's a fine thing that just arrived – We Can Stay Here While We Wait – a new bilingual anthology of writings in the Anthropocene, including a Danish translation of the principles from the Dark Mountain Manifesto.
The play I co-wrote – about what it's like when the Anthropocene is your day-job – is getting a further outing this week at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern as part of The Stockholm Act festival.
The morning after the UK election of 2015, I posted a set of bleary-eyed thoughts under the title The Only Way is Down, and it became one of the most widely-read things I've ever written. Two years on, that title might have felt prophetic, but I had no intention of trying to write a follow-up. Still, the unexpected surge in support for Labour under Jeremy Corbyn prompted these reflections on the way in which the media has sabotaged democracy in the UK for most of my lifetime – and the possibility that this is coming to an end. So for those who like my writings on political disorientation, here is The Fall of the Murdoch Wall.
I still remember the night we were first brought together for dinner by a mutual friend and we laughed so much all night we said, we have to do this again tomorrow, and we did. That’s how we got tangled up with each other.It's a strange experience to go to a friend's PhD defence and hear them present words that I wrote. Together, Ana Džokić and Marc Neelen form the architecture practice STEALTH.unlimited. Since we met in 2012, our friendship has been an ongoing collaboration – and so it was an honour to be asked to contribute to the collaborative doctoral thesis which they have now successfully defended at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm.
A city navigating the transition from the old certainties of heavy industry to the promises of a post-industrial future. Out in the fjord, we passed a tanker with SHALE GAS FOR PROGRESS emblazoned on its side. The venue was a shiny new arts centre, the event a seminar to mark the opening of the Greenlightdistrict Art Festival. The welcome was warm and following the opening lecture from Ove Jakobsen, professor of ecological economics at Bodø, I had an hour to unfold some of the backstory to the industrial world to which we find ourselves the heirs.
Well, here's a thing. My friend Emelie Enlund is a choreographer who has taken the Dark Mountain manifesto as the starting point for a whole practice of 'uncivilised dance'. We got to know each other when she was part of the Dark Mountain Workshop which I hosted at Riksteatern in 2015-16 – and now the latest phase of her project is on stage at Dansens Hus in Stockholm, under the banner of We Love Holocene IV (12-13 April, 2017).
What's it like, when the Anthropocene is your day job? How is it to live with climate change, not as a thing you read about in the newspaper or go on a demonstration about, but as what’s waiting for you on your desk at nine o’clock each morning? What does it do to you as a person, to your relationships with those around you, to the decisions you make about your life?