On 27 May 2019, ‘burnout’ was officially recognised as a medical condition by the World Health Organisation. It confirmed what many of us were already painfully aware of: a stress epidemic is engulfing society.
But it’s not just the workplace that’s wearing us down. Political turmoil. Climate change. Fragile economies. Technological dependence. Divisions that show no signs of eroding.
In the face of those anxieties, our 70th issue – featuring two split covers – is inspired by the spirit of survival: a unique set of stories about the drive to overcome forces bigger than ourselves.
As Tame Impala, Kevin Parker plays the world’s biggest stages to one of the most devoted followings in music. But four years on from the last album, and with fans growing restless, he’s still grappling with an all-consuming creative process – one that means pushing himself to new extremes.
Deep within a forest on the outskirts of Germany, a small army of activists is fighting to protect a 12,000-year-old natural resource from being destroyed. For photographer Néha Hirve, it’s a battle that feels like waiting for the end of the world to come.
In this tropical metropolis of northeast Brazil, a feverish subculture is emerging from the favelas. Bregafunk is a pulsing new sound with its own dance phenomenon, challenging prejudice in a place where just being visible can feel like an act of resistance.
As creators of the dystopian series Black Mirror, Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones have mastered the art of depicting society at its most anxiety-inducing. But when it comes to the future, the pair aren’t ready to panic just yet.
Rae Smith grew up not realising she was born intersex, leading to years of emotional upheaval where her true self was kept secret. Then she found skateboarding, inspiring her to carve out space for others on the margins.
Sometimes pushing for change can lead to despair. Movements that once felt radical can grow rigid. But it’s in the face of anxiety that activists are discovering a tonic for fights that may otherwise feel fruitless: the thrill of a concerted effort.
’93: Punching the Light
At the age of 15, Simon Burstall made two discoveries that would change him forever: photography and raves. Now, having trawled through a trove of material from his wildest years, the Australian has uncovered scenes from a subcultural oasis – and a turning point in his life.
Hip hop heavyweight ScHoolboy Q went from prison to platinum-selling artist, becoming a father in between. Five albums into a unique career, he’s hungrier than ever – just don’t expect him to take life too seriously.
There’s no such thing as an urgent email. Yet, somehow, modern work-culture has given rise to an unfortunate phenomenon: the Out Of Office message, a stopgap measure where ‘off-grid’ no longer means ‘off-limits’. But through tiny acts of rebellion, we can start reclaiming our downtime.
Pro skater Mason Silva is entering a new phase of his career. In an industry famed for chewing up talent and spitting them out, he has embraced film photography as a way to stay grounded in the present – preserving moments of magic in the process.
Colombia’s Coffee Comeback
Colombia’s coffee-growing region was once a violent no-go zone where all the best beans were exported, earning Western companies millions while leaving locals with the dregs. But as peace has spread, an influx of coffee fanatics is revolutionising the landscape – allowing Colombians to put the troubles of the past behind them.
Porn star. Activist. Radical philosopher. Conner Habib is barrelling through seemingly disparate worlds with the same rebellious mindset: a determination to set outdated ways of thinking alight.
As leader of New York garage punks Surfbort, Dani Miller is on a mission to champion self-acceptance – defying convention in the name of outsiders everywhere.
Doing Nothing, Finding Everything…
Technology’s grip on our attention span is grinding us down, sapping us of life. But artist and writer Jenny Odell has come up with a manifesto for opting out: a mindset where slowing down is the only way to survive.