The Dark Mountain Project
The Dark Mountain project emerged out of an online cooperation between two English writers in 2009 amidst the global financial crisis and out of a strong recognition of the inevitable systemic/ecological collapse.
Dougald Hine’s and Paul Kingsnorth’s “Uncivilisation – The Dark Mountain Manifesto” became the foundation of an informal movement of artists, thinkers, researchers and practitioners or all kinds that has the ensuing decade evolved into a network of engaged individuals from across the world that work together on different levels.
The common thread of the Dark Mountain project is the need to recognize and face-up to the destruction that we, as human beings, are inflicting upon the planet and each other as a result of the single story of civilisation, development, progress and human evolution.
The ambition of the Dark Mountain project is to develop “Uncivilised art” that challenges this single story and that seeks to open spaces for different stories to emerge. From the website: “The project has taken many forms: a manifesto, an ongoing series of books, four annual festivals and many more events, collaborations and friendships. But among all that followed, it often seems that what has mattered most to people are the quiet conversations that happen around Dark Mountain, often late at night, around a campfire or on a computer screen. Conversations where we get to name our fears, our doubts, our uncertainties and our fragile hopes.”
The story of the Dark Mountain project is a telling example of how a network of partnership (and friendship) emerged out a shared and recognized disenchantment and disillusionment with the current system. Ten years after its inception the Dark Mountain project still operates largely on an un-formalized, voluntary basis, yet has managed to produce a series of 14 books and many side events and other publications. What is special about the Dark Mountain project is that it adopts an explicitly nihilist stance to social change (abandonment of hope in existing social structures or technological solutions), yet it does not take its bleak (or realistic) view on our shared present (and future) as a source of despair, but rather as a point of departure for other, not yet imagined possibilities.
From the Dark Mountain manifesto: “The end of the world as we know it is not the end of the world full stop. Together, we will find the hope beyond hope, the paths which lead to the unknown world ahead of us.” The Dark Mountain project offers an example of how art can be mobilized (educationally) to challenge existing social norms and trajectories and gesture towards different and unknown ones.