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The Alpine Review: A Compendium of ideas for a world in transition.
Initially launched in 2012, The Alpine Review has grown into a globe-spanning endeavour that finds its way into the world once a year or so as three or four hundred ad-free pages worth of print magazine. Made by a small team out of Montréal and Toronto, printed in Barcelona - The Alpine Review deliberately tackles preposterously large questions over a preposterous page count, while remaining skeptical, joyful, and playful at all times.
ISSUE N°3 – PERMANENCE
Permanence is a contradictory idea. The moment of “now” is as fiercely urgent as it has ever been. Now is the only time we will ever live in, and the only time we can do anything about. But as with every generation, most of the things that concern us in this moment will be lost to the remorseless sweep of time. When the lone and level sands stretch far away, and the Anthropocene draws to a close, our dreams of reconfiguring our bodies through gene editing, or colonizing Mars rather than fixing things at home, will seem, well, Ozymandian. When that desertful of dust finally settles, what will be left?
It’s not apocalyptic thinking and it’s not doomsaying to explore the implications of this moment—a moment in which all the moments that have ever been and might ever be are at stake—a moment, in short, like any other. As Barry Lopez urges in our feature interview, it’s a time not for fight or flight, but for a third alternative: to gather. In this issue, we are excavating the past and harvesting the present to trace the dim outline of the future. From alchemy and witchcraft to the post-human dream of science, just over the mountain range. We travel from the spiffed-up streets of Moscow, where the echoes of revolution continue, however strangely, to reverberate, to the salty shores of Orkney, where stone-age carvings still ring with teenage drama, and park along the far-flung roads of northern Alaska, teetering between the noise of the human world and the mysterious silent wild. Finally, we meet people who want to spin out still further, to Mars, and ask what this means for the home they dream of leaving behind, where we still haven’t quite solved the problem of toilets.
ISSUE N°2 – RETURNS As the rate of change accelerates, many of us are devoting more and more energy to finding meaning, balance and a map that works. In pursuit of steady ground, we find ourselves looking to the past for solutions, inspiration, humility and truth. This more complete perspective allows us to weigh and measure the findings of today and yesterday, to pick what is appropriate, what works and what is real, and discard the obsolete, superfluous or absurd. Returning to first principles, original baselines and classic simplicity we take what has worked to solve what hasn’t, equipping ourselves with the wisdom of the ages as we correct and forge our path ahead.
ISSUE N°1 – ANTIFRAGILITY We see industries, countries and culture going through massive shifts, one after the other. The sum total of those shifts points to an emerging consensus: the world is rebalancing. The established global order, its institutions and its foundations are being challenged. In this ‘new normal’, innovative frameworks and ways of thinking are needed. Understanding Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s explorations of fragility and ‘antifragility’ as a framework leads to a new kind of thought process and a novel way of organizing our thinking through these chaotic times. What is antifragile? What is merely robust, and what will ultimately prove too fragile to survive the tumultuous future?
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