FROM THE EDITOR
Just walk around almost anywhere in the world, you can see and feel quite easily how our human landscape feels coarsened, hollowed out, the old fizz of vitality dormant. I was in New York City recently and it was particularly apparent. There are people walking around, going through the motions of New York-ing, but it feels dead, with a certain rough edge. Many images I see from various cities around the world feel the same.
Maybe it's just the pandemic. But we are in a chaotic, exhausting, liminal moment, with a past that's on fumes, bad actors trying to seize the moment, and a future waiting to be born. A future we don't quite believe in yet, understandably, since so many signs are foreboding.
Belief in the future is where art comes in. When I was growing up, artists - musicians, filmmakers, visual artists, writers - made it feel like life had advocates for something better, cooler, more hopeful. Were they reflecting the times, or creating the times?
'How quaint' you might be thinking, considering art's gentle examples up against our seeming acceleration toward a brutish future.
Yet those are exactly the examples we need. There are signs of a growing movement to harness the power of art and music to reimagine our relationship with nature, the environment, and each other.
Will it be enough, and in time? Who knows? Have humans ever lived with a guaranteed outcome? We have to believe everything counts. The reason the final word of the dying patriarch in East of Eden, timshel - 'you may', not 'you shall' - is so powerful is because it offers a shot to possible redemption. Aka hope.
Gentle, maybe. What's the option, answering brutality and creeping fascism with nihilism? Or actual warfare?
For sure we need to fight for the world we want. But beauty, solidarity, poetry, wisdom, care, joy, reflection, nuance, integrity, creativity, and sensitivity is the new punk rock.
Eindhoven, Netherlands - Geertjan Cornelissen
My girlfriend lives in a small house, some people might call it a 'tiny house' these days. Actually it is a 100-year-old house built for factory workers and their families who worked in the nearby Philips factory. It’s really close to the centre of the city. But the atmosphere is more like a small village. This part of town is called ‘Philipsdorp’ (Philips-village).
The soccer stadium of PSV (Philips Sports Club) rises above the hedges like a flying saucer. All the houses have large gardens. Until half a century ago the people used to grow their own vegetables and kept some chickens, maybe even a pig.
After an extremely dry spring we had some very rainy days and now the garden is exploding. Looks like all the plants try to catch up for this past dry season. It’s a miniature city nature reserve. You can hear the insects buzzing and you can almost see the plants grow.
And the big advantage of living in this part of the world is that the closest thing to deadly, poisonous snakes is the garden water hose.
Conceived, written and recorded during the darkest months of lockdowns-while Blount himself was still recovering from what he now knows was likely a bout with long COVID-and just after the unrest that followed the murder of George Floyd, the album aims to envision what Black religious music would sound like in a not-so-distant future world devastated by climate change.
"The destruction of a way of life entails both loss and growth. The traditional songs I adapted for The New Faith originally developed among a people who had but recently been robbed of home, history, family, culture, and society. The unique history of African American people made our musical tradition an ideal candidate for my ambitious task. The New Faith is a statement of reverence for our devastating, yet empowering past; of anticipation and anxiety toward our uncertain future; and of hope that, come what may, something of us will yet survive.""
Releases September 19, 2022. Pre-release single here:
NPR | June 23, 2022
Charmian Love believes we’re moving towards a world where every business is first and foremost about impact, not profit. “We needed to get there yesterday”, she tells us, but “we’re going to be there faster than we can even imagine”.
Mellon Foundation | June 8, 2022
[T]he program pays emerging creatives a living wage (with benefits, to boot) for up to a year. Their job description? Make beautiful art and use that art to activate and inspire a community.
NPR | July 11, 2022
"It is a time of dread, confusion and despair," one Russian music critic recently wrote, in a self-styled obituary for Russia's authentically vibrant pop culture of the 2010s. "Those who could create something have left the country. And whoever didn't leave simply cannot find the spiritual strength to create."
Orion | June 30, 2022
Ultimately, a society’s laws and policies change, because the hearts and values of people change. And art, in all its forms, provides a direct route to people’s hearts, regardless of culture or background.
Biophilia Magazine has extended our submission deadline to September 10th, and intend to publish our first edition this October! We're looking for environmentally themed creative works of any kind.
We are also hoping to have a pop up art gallery and events space, called The Nest, in Dumfries, Scotland for the month of October, and are looking for physical pieces to display in that space. If you're based out of Scotland or England, and looking to display your environmental art, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!
Into the Mix
Tackling climate change can feel so overwhelming, but the featured guests in this episode approach their climate justice work one event at a time. Punk icon Patti Smith, along with her friend, writer and activist Bill McKibben, stages inspiring events that use music, poetry and letter-writing (yes, letter-writing, in the middle of rock concerts) to mobilize against climate change.