Experiments in Culture
The New Modality is a new publication and community about experiments in culture, founded in late 2019.
We explore the edges, asking: What is a meaningful life in this rapidly changing world? The New Modality looks at culture, art, both science and spirituality, relationships, tech, business, governance, and beyond, because change is occurring at all levels: the individual, family, community, city, nation, and the world.
We’ll print three issues per year. We’ll also post some material online free, for anyone to read. And we will host events, starting in the Bay Area and New York. The money we raise from subscriptions, donations, and crowdfunding will go to printing expenses, paying contributors, and all the other costs of starting a new publication — and in the future, we dream about supporting experiments in culture by giving grants of our own.
In October 2019, we launched our website, where you’ll find:
- An article on “New Modality Weddings: How To Get Married Without Selling Out” by Jessica Carew Kraft. Kraft is a former wedding industry insider whose previous writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, and more. For this article, she investigated non-traditional weddings, noting that “If we look beyond the glossy magazines, there are as many ways to get married as there are options, in a combinatorial matrix of gender spectrum, sexuality, age, wealth, cultural tradition, and spiritual background.”
- Concept art from Antariksha Sanchar, a steampunk-psychedelic game-dance-transmedia thing created by Avinash Kumar and Quicksand Design, which tells the story of a late-1800s mathematician hero from a small Indian village who goes to Mars. Antariksha Sanchar describes itself as “a speculative science fiction adventure inspired by the vibrant cultures of South India, created earnestly to celebrate the independent exploration of our Universe.” The concept art contains an astounding array of references, from early 1900s pulp fiction to Kumar’s mom, a traditional Indian dancer.
- An op-ed, “The Ideology of Transhumanism: The Ethics of Transcending Our Physical Bodies” by Anna Lewis, a biotech ethicist currently at Harvard. Lewis, who used to work in the biotech industry, describes how transhumanism intersects with current tech culture. She then lays out the different philosophical schools that could affect the tech that gets built.
- A short exploration of “What’s New About The New Modality?” by Benjamin Wachs. Wachs was previously Burning Man’s official “philosopher in residence” and the lead writer/researcher for its education program, and we’re grateful to him for penning this piece about whether we’re actually doing anything new. As he points out: “The absurdist playwright Eugene Ionesco said that it’s the job of the avant-garde to rediscover eternal truths.”
… And more, with more to come!
At The New Modality, we believe that no problem is too big and no issue is too small to be addressed with optimism, empathy, and human brilliance.
If you think it’s time to reimagine how we live and you want to learn from others who are doing the same, join us.
(The New Modality is led by Lyda Laurenson. Thank you to the NewMo Advisors and Catalysts who joined us for the video: Dorothy Santos, John Law, Zarinah Agnew, Ben Aldern, Jonathan Stray, and Nick Pinkston. Videography and editing by Nick Kasimatis, with interstitial photos donated by Jane Hu, Matt Bell, and Unsplash.)