A couple of really interesting further comments on the Dark Mountain debacle.
First this one from RealFoodLover,
Uncivilised was a mega-disappointment
Despite its promise it was not cutting edge. The opposite.
To quote one participant, it was (bar one exception) “white men with microphones”
On stage, pontificating.
No discussion, no debate, and camping was in a conventional camping site with not a compost loo or organic food stall in sight.
The most truly original, inspiring and progressive event was the Feral Choir where non-hierarchical but clear musical direction produced harmony.
Despite its avowed intentions, I felt Uncivilised was organised by green careerists – not pioneers.
and this from the astonishingly good “Leaving Babylon”
But isn’t it essential to live what you preach? I am not pointing down the path of activism, I am pointing to embodying our values in whatever we do. The organizers are well aware of issues like seeking out women for key roles, the desirability for not turning attendees into mere spectators, inclusion, and opening up creative space where spontaneity can flourish. Yet the reality of the event played out old scenarios… few women presenters, open mic time for those who could afford a generous donation, workshops of lecturers speaking to an audience and leaving little time for interaction at the end, presentations falling short of the promises made, helpers being excluded from key events for not having paid the full entrance fee.
The Dark Mountain’s Eight Principles say: “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.” Yes, but how about the myth of the necessity of elite control? Do we really need yet more events where people are divided into Presenters and Audience? The organizers set the agenda, choose the rest of the Presenters, and hold onto the reins. The Audience come to consume the offerings. Gadz, I am so sick of this model…
What I want is events that simply Open the Space and invite all of us to set the agenda, convene around those whose ideas we want to hear and add to, and speak with one another. In such a setting, the whole damn tired plaint of “how come there aren’t more women presenters” will vanish like last year’s snow, because the women who come will speak as much as anyone… or in any case, it will be up to them to make sure women do play a full role. By all taking part in crafting the festival, we practice handling our own affairs, together, as we move along!
Couldn’t agree more.
If you want to build a network of artists etc, why not arrange mingling based on where people live, what sorts of art they do (poetry, music, sculpture, whatever) and what they’d like to do? And then let them get on with it. Open. Space.