‘We must unhumanise our views a little, and become conﬁdent
As the rock and ocean that we were made from.’
1. We live in a time of social, economic and ecological unravelling. All around us are signs that our whole way of living is already passing into history. We will face this reality honestly and learn how to live with it.
2. We reject the faith which holds that the converging crises of our times can be reduced to a set of‘problems’ in need of technological or political ‘solutions’.
3. We believe that the roots of these crises lie in the stories we have been telling ourselves. We intend to challenge the stories which underpin our civilisation: the myth of progress, the myth of human centrality, and the myth of our separation from ‘nature’. These myths are more dangerous for the fact that we have forgotten they are myths.
4. We will reassert the role of story-telling as more than mere entertainment. It is through stories that we weave reality.
5. Humans are not the point and purpose of the planet. Our art will begin with the attempt to step outside the human bubble. By careful attention, we will reengage with the non-human world.
6. We will celebrate writing and art which is grounded in a sense of place and of time. Our literature has been dominated for too long by those who inhabit the cosmopolitan citadels.
7. We will not lose ourselves in the elaboration of theories or ideologies. Our words will be elemental. We write with dirt under our ﬁngernails.
8. 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.
These are precarious and unprecedented times. Our economies crumble, while beyond the chaos of markets, the ecological foundations of our way of living near collapse. Little that we have taken for granted is likely to come through this century intact.
We don’t believe that anyone – not politicians, not economists, not environmentalists, not writers – is really facing up to the scale of this. As a society, we are all still hooked on a vision of the future as an upgraded version of the present. Somehow, technology or political agreements or ethical shopping or mass protest are meant to save our civilisation from self-destruction.
Well, we don’t buy it. This project starts with our sense that civilisation as we have known it is coming to an end; brought down by a rapidly changing climate, a cancerous economic system and the ongoing mass destruction of the non-human world. But it is driven by our belief that this age of collapse – which is already beginning – could also offer a new start, if we are careful in our choices.
The end of the world as we know it is not the end of the world full stop.
Deeper than oil, steel or bullets, a civilisation is built on stories: on the myths that shape it and the tales told of its origins and destiny. We have herded ourselves to the edge of a precipice with the stories we have told ourselves about who we are: the stories of ‘progress’, of the conquest of ‘nature’, of the centrality and supremacy of the human species.
It is time for new stories. The Dark Mountain Project intends to conjure into being new ways of seeing and writing about the world. We call this Uncivilisation.
Our aim is to bring together writers and artists, thinkers and doers, to assault the established citadels of literature and thought, and to begin to redraw the maps by which we navigate the places and times in which we find ourselves.
What we are doing
The Dark Mountain manifesto is available to read on this site. It can also be purchased as a limited edition, hand-stitched pamphlet, printed by the unique Bracketpress. The manifesto lays out in more detail our thinking and our aims. Or, for the short version, you can read our eight principles of uncivilisation.
The Dark Mountain Project will bring together people who share these aims, and present their work, with the intention of changing the angles from which we view our world and the human story. At the moment, we have two vehicles for making this happen: the Dark Mountain journal and our public events.
This project is not a fixed thing, a campaign with a determined set of outcomes. We are always open to ideas, encounters, collaborations and suggestions for different approaches.