TCOLab's The Journal #10 – Escapism in the Age of Covid

Each month, TCOLab publishes The Journal, a newsletter tracking the shifts and drivers impacting culture.

Culture is always fast-paced and ever-evolving but in these times of radical change and upheaval, it’s moving at extraordinary speed. At TCOLab, our mission remains the same throughout the crisis and beyond – to help brands adapt to this changing future/futures.

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TCOLab Journal 10: Escapism in the Age of Covid

Welcome to Issue 10 of The Journal from TCOLab, exploring global shifts, trends and wave-makers shaping and defining emerging culture.

With lockdown 2.0 in full effect and most of our culture and travel currently restricted, we’ve been thinking a lot about the concept and value of ‘escapism’ here at the Lab. We view escapism less as something that's about pure hedonism or serves as a distraction or departure from reality, but more as a tool to experience new ways of thinking and a window into possible scenarios and futures that might serve our planet and people better.

When we’re faced with hardship, ‘escapism’ can help us shift our perspective, make sense of the world around us and in some cases shape a future we want to see. In this issue, we're celebrating the artists and thinkers who are stretching our imaginations and opening up new worlds and realities for us to explore and reflect upon.

Mushrrom People magazine (launching 2021)

On Our Radar

A24’s upcoming The Green Knight film starring Dev Patel is a fresh spin on a classic Arthurian tale and the trailer is the best thing we've seen all month.

From the team behind Broccoli mag, Mushroom People (launching in 2021) will examine “abstract interpretations of what it means to love mushrooms".

Writer Bettina Makalintal explores the aesthetic appeal of blobs in 2020 and how colourful shapes and squiggles can bring us joy in troubled times.

The North Face's Reset Normal initiative is encouraging people everywhere to reset through exploration and has pledged $7M to diversify the outdoors.

In case you missed it, our latest think piece Diaphobia: The Fear of Dialogue explores why we seem more divided than ever before, when the need for collective action – against a global pandemic, climate crisis, gaping wealth discrepancies and systemic racism – is greater than it’s ever been.

We were inspired to write it on visiting Grayson Perry's exhibition The MOST Specialest Relationship on at Victoria Miro – head over to the TCO London blog to read it.

Follow This

Weird Walk zine is self-described as a “journal of wanderings and wonderings” and provides a sideways look at the UK countryside and its more mythical and obscure offerings and history.

70% of people in the UK think that mythology and folklore is a good way to take their minds off the real world, while 43% think that these types of stories can teach us something about everyday life.

YouGov survey, 2019 – commissioned by English Heritage

The Long Reads

From wellness and science to fashion and design, mushrooms 🍄 are certainly having a moment in 2020 – in a piece for The New York Times Mushrooms, The Last Survivors, writer Ligaya Mishan explores the rising interest in fungi in the West and how they have confounded humans since ancient times.

"They are a reminder of our tenuous place in an uncertain world... in which we are not the masters or even stewards of nature but simply part of it.”

What’s On(line) In November

  1. Our very own Helen Job is hosting a masterclass as part of 180 Media Academy on November 24th, exploring new discourses and trends that are making the world.
  2. Gucci's virtual film festival GucciFest will screen films by 15 emerging fashion designers including Mowalola Ogunlesi – from November 16th - 22nd.
  3. The much-anticipated Mogul Mowgli stars Riz Ahmed as a rapper who reconnects with his spiritual roots after suffering a chronic illness – stream on BFI Player now.

The nature of fantasy is it that it tells us what we want and need to happen.

Grayson Perry
Grayson's Art Club on C4
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