Douglas Strang asked ecoartscotland to highlight the Carrying the Fire weekend 20-22nd April 2012 at Wiston Lodge near Biggar in the Scottish Borders.
I seen he was carryin’ fire in a horn the way people used to do and I could see the horn from the light inside of it. ‘Bout the colour of the moon. And in the dream I knew he was goin’ on ahead and he was fixin’ to make a fire somewhere out there in all that dark and all that cold.
from ‘No Country for Old Men’ by Cormac McCarthy
The Dark Mountain Project is a cultural movement for an age of global disruption. It is a growing network of writers, thinkers, artists, and craftspeople who have stopped believing in the stories our civilisation tells itself. We believe we are entering an age of material decline, ecological collapse and social and political uncertainty, and that our cultural responses should reflect this, rather than denying it. Carrying the Fire hopes to become the northern cousin of Uncivilisation, the main Dark Mountain Festival. Hosted by Wiston Lodge near Biggar in South Lanarkshire, it will be a smaller event, more intimate, but still with a strong programme of speakers, poets and performers. And still asking the question: where are the stories to guide us through this era of crisis and change?
The dominant stories – those that speak of growth, endless progress, more of everything – continue to be proclaimed throughout the land, but there’s a hollowness in the telling and a growing mistrust of the tale. At ‘Carrying the Fire’ we will hear from those with a different perspective:
Paul Kingsnorth, co-founder of Dark Mountain, will be there to discuss the Project – where it’s come from and where it’s going.
Margaret Elphinstone will read from and discuss ‘The Gathering Night’, which is set during the Mesolithic era. Her novel is a celebration of ‘wildness’ and of the ‘animism’ which once formed the basis of our relationship to the natural world.
Kenneth White’s ‘Geopoetics’ is correlated to the Dark Mountain idea of ‘uncivilised writing’. Norman Bissell, director of the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics, will discuss White’s ideas and use them in an exploration of ‘the Golden Land’ – the utopian vision which so haunts Orwell’s ‘1984’.
Sharon Blackie of TwoRavens Press and the soon to be launched journal ‘Earthlines’, will discuss the art of storytelling and the ways that stories connect.
And there will be other talks and tellings, including from Luke Devlin, director of the Centre for Human Ecology, the artist Matthew Donnelly, and Gehan MacLeod of the GalGael Trust. There will be art workshops and ecopoetry sessions, storytelling for children (and adults), and opportunities to explore the land and the woods round Wiston Lodge – including Tinto Hill (2334 ft) beneath which Wiston nestles.
In the evenings there will be music from the likes of Mairi Campbell as well as more informal sessions. On Saturday night, we will set off into the woods for the latest instalment of Liminal – an otherworldly mix of art, poetry and physical theatre.
So, if you can’t wait till ‘Uncivilisation’ in August, or are based in the North and want to support a Dark Mountain event closer to home, join us for what promises to be an amazing weekend on the 20th – 22nd April. Come, celebrate spring amidst the hills of the Borders, gather by the fire in a clearing in the woods. There are stories to be told…
For more information and how to book tickets click here.