NEWS HUB

Paul and Ed's Excellent Adventure

World-famous environmental photographer Edward Burtynsky and IDEAS host Paul Kennedy both grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario. In fact, their childhood homes were less than 300 metres apart, and young paperboy Paul delivered a daily dose of newspaper comic strips to future visual artist Ed.

Paul and Ed lived parallel lives close to — but separate from — each other. When they eventually met in 2008, they talked about one day doing an episode of IDEAS, in which they'd return home to revisit their shared roots. Well, they did it: welcome to Paul and Ed's Excellent Adventure. The two made plans to visit the old GM plant on Ontario Street where both of their fathers had worked. The plant was bought by General Motors in 1929 to manufacture cars after World War I and was the largest employer in St. Catharines until its closure in 2010. 

Listen to the full episode here.

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Toronto Film Critics name Anthropocene the year's best Canadian film

By Norm Wilner | NOW Toronto

But co-directors Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier surprised the room by giving away the $100,000 cash prize

The Toronto Film Critics Association awarded Anthropocene: The Human Epoch the Rogers best Canadian film award – and a cash prize of $100,000 – last night. It’s a despairing documentary about humanity’s devastation of the natural world, but Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier – who co-directed the film with photographer Edward Burtynsky – made a very optimistic move.

Having won the TFCA’s top award twice before, for their previous Burtynsky collaborations Manufactured Landscapes and Watermark (which claimed the TFCA’s second $100,000 purse in 2014), Baichwal and de Pencier announced they would not be accepting the prize money this time, instead dividing it into thirds and donating it to the young directors of the other nominated films, Sofia Bohdanowicz (Maison Du Bonheur) and Sadaf Foroughi (Ava), and to TIFF’s Share Her Journey project, for which Baichwal is an ambassador.

Read the full article here.

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ANTHROPOCENE grabs $100,000 Rogers Best Canadian Film Award

By Bruce Demara
Toronto Star

ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch, a film that chronicles humankind’s devastating impact on the environment, has been awarded the $100,000 Rogers Best Canadian Film Award by the Toronto Film Critics Association.

The award, the biggest annual prize in Canadian cinema, was given to filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier at the association’s annual gala Tuesday night by actor, writer and director Don McKellar. Photographer Edward Burtynsky shares the prize with them.

Read the full article here.

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Edward Burtynsky Depicts Our Alien Domain

By Louis Bury
Hyperallergic

The power of Edward Burtynsky’s landscape photographs is undeniable. Their sweeping aerial perspectives are shot in a style that verges on abstraction without losing their figurative referent. The breathtaking, large-scale images depict landscapes altered and scarred by human industry and development. The stepped terraces and switchback roads of a dusty, Mars-red mining site resemble the desiccated ruins of an ancient civilization (“Tyrone Mine #3, Silver City, New Mexico, USA,” 2012). A taupe jigsaw of desert roads connecting brine wells evokes a circuit diagram (“Brine Wells #1, Salt Flats, Atacama Desert, Chile,” 2017). Burtynsky’s intricately patterned and textured landscapes possess a crop-formation exoticism; yet it turns out that we humans are the architects of this unnerving and seemingly alien terrain.

Read the full article here.

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Stirring Images of Our Impact on the Environment

By Amy Brady
Hyperallergic

TORONTO — Standing in a spacious gallery at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in Toronto, I held back tears as I watched piles of confiscated elephant tusks go up in flames. The moment had been captured by filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier. The poignant short film is as part of the AGO’s Anthropocene, a deeply moving and thought-provoking exhibition about humanity’s impact on the Earth and its inhabitants. The exhibition includes large murals accompanied by short documentary films, three augmented reality installations, and dozens of photographs by Canadian artist Edward Burtynsky of landscapes forever altered by human activity.z

The art evokes many emotions: sorrow, anger, grief. Yet a quote attributed to all three artists printed in large lettering on a gallery wall insists that their work was never intended to place blame but, rather, to generate awareness: “Our ambition is for the work to be revelatory, not accusatory, as we examine human influence on the Earth both on a planetary scale and in geological time. The shifting of consciousness is the beginning of change.”

Read the full article here.

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TIFF's Top 10 Canadian Films names 'Anthropocene', Haida-language feature

CTV News

TORONTO -- A documentary about humanity's impact on the Earth and a feature shot in the Haida language are among TIFF's top 10 Canadian features of the year.

The organization that runs the Toronto International Film Festival released its Top Ten lists of features and shorts of 2018.

View the full list for Canada's Top Ten here.

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Aerial Photographs Convey Humanity’s Devastating Effects on Nature

By Lev Feigin
Hyperallergic

“If we view ourselves from a great height, it is frightening to realize how little we know about our species, our purpose and our end,” wrote the novelist W.G. Sebald in Rings of Saturn. From the window of a plane above an urban sprawl, we witness among geometries of rooftops, factories, and highways “infinite networks of complexity that goes far beyond the power of any one individual to imagine.”

Photographing such complex, large-scale networks from the air has been the career-spanning pursuit of the Canadian artist Edward Burtynsky. For more than three decades, his work has focused on the impact of human activity on the environment from a God’s-eye view, prompting us to think about our species, our purpose, and our end.

Read the full article here.

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The Anthropocene—Coming Soon to a Theater (and Museum, and Bookshelf) Near You

By Clara Chaisson
OnEarth

Anthropocene is a clunky word for an even more unwieldy concept. But props to the Merriam-Webster team who have given us a dictionary definition that’s easy enough to follow.

[…]

Try to list those planet-altering human activities, though, and you’ll quickly realize that you could go on forever. Even geologists, those who decide if the Anthropocene merits an official geologic epoch, disagree on which specific markers characterize this nebulous yet distinct time. (Plastic pollution, nuclear tests, concrete particles, artificial fertilizers, and even domestic chickens are all contenders.) Our impacts on the planet are so vast and multifaceted, there’s just no simple way to illustrate their scope.

But filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal, photographer Edward Burtynsky, and cinematographer Nicholas de Pencier are giving it a try. Wisely, these collaborators don’t limit themselves to one approach or even one medium. The Anthropocene Project fuses photography, film, virtual reality, augmented reality, and research, resulting in a body of work that attempts to give audiences a panoramic view of the Anthropocene. The project, currently on view at the Art Gallery of Ontario, takes the form of a traveling exhibit, educational program, book, and documentary film.

Read the full article here.

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The Sundance Film Festival’s anticipated premieres include the Canadian documentary Anthropocene and a making-of doc about Alien

By Peter Howell
Toronto Star

The 2019 Sundance Film Festival will take moviegoers from the Earth to the moon and to the deepest part of space where no one can hear you scream.

Robert Redford’s annual independent film showcase in Park City, Utah, running Jan. 24 to Feb. 3, could be called a “Triple A” event for three of its most anticipated offerings: the Canadian-made environmental exposé Anthropocene, a 50th-anniversary revisiting of the Apollo 11 lunar achievement and a making-of documentary on the horror classic Alien.

Read the full article here.

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The Art Gallery of Ontario puts human destruction on display and calls for change

By Fatima Syed
National Observer

When you first walk into the Anthropocene exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario, you stop to watch a man with mismatched boots trudging slowly over a 50-year-old landfill just outside Nairobi, Kenya that was declared full in 2001 and shut down.

You watch the man walk through what looks like a road forming a canyon. It looks like there are mountains on either side of his path, but its actually just one great, continuous mound of discarded plastic of all shapes and colours — the cheapest material to recycle across the world. He keeps walking until he meets a few more people scavenging and sorting through the garbage landscape for small things of value.

The landfill was shut down but is still active, says the description of the video: 2,000 tonnes of waste continue to be dumped there every day. And for the 1 million people who reside on and around it, the site is a primary source of income.

Continue reading the article here.

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Edward Burtynsky – An earthen canvas.

By Deirdre Kelly
Nuvo Magazine

Edward Burtynsky has made his name standing behind the lens. But today he is out front and in focus as the man who would save us from ourselves. It’s mid-morning at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and as the Canadian master photographer strolls through The Anthropocene Project, the acclaimed multidisciplinary exhibition combining large-scale resource extraction images, scientific research, and immersive media, he is recognized by several gallery-goers, who rush over to take his picture. They close in when Burtynsky pauses by a 10-by-20-foot high-resolution mural of a pristine coral bed in Indonesia’s Komodo National Park, one of thousands of images he has made of at-risk ecosystems in a 35-year career documenting the beauty and the brutality of the industrial footprint.

Silhouetted against one of his artworks, Burtynsky’s black suit contrasts sharply with the faded abstract-expressionist colour burst that makes the print look more like a Jackson Pollock painting than a call to action. And he makes no apologies for it. “Aesthetics is still one of the most powerful tools at the disposal of a visual artist,” the 63-year-old Burtynsky says. “Not to engage in a powerfully visual way with the image seems to go in an opposite direction.”

Read the full article here.

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The Anthropocene Project

AIPAD Exposure

AIPAD member galleries are supporting photographer Edward Burtynsky in enriching the current discourse on our changing planet.

Burtynsky is well known for his large format photographs of industrial landscapes that are on display in more than 50 museums, including the Guggenheim Museum, the National Gallery of Canada and the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. His latest project, The Anthropocene Project, is a multidisciplinary body of work he completed with collaborators Nicholas de Pencier and Jennifer Baichwal. The project combines art, film, virtual and augmented reality, and scientific research to investigate human influences on the state, dynamic and future of the Earth.

Read the full article here.

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Art and the Environment: Museums Adjust to a New Climate

By Greg Morrison
Sotheby’s Museum Network

“We cannot take action together on something we don’t discuss,” says Miranda Massie, director of New York’s Climate Museum. She’s referring to the fact that although 65% of Americans purport to be anxious about climate change, only about 5% speak about it.

Her institution, founded in 2015, is working to change that through art and culture. It is the only dedicated climate-change institution in the world, and so far has hosted exhibitions and events in temporary and public spaces across the city. But the museum is currently without a permanent home – a status that reflects how its necessity has only recently been understood, and how the discussion of climate change is only now taking its place at the heart of the cultural world.

Read the full article here.

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EDWARD BURTYNSKY & THE BIG PICTURE

By Holly Hughes
PDNOnline

Edward Burtynsky thinks big. Since the 1980s, he has been making large-format images of the extraction and exploitation of natural resources and the impact of these vast operations on the environment. His latest project is his most ambitious to date. In two exhibitions on view now at the National Gallery of Canada in Toronto and the Art Gallery of Ontario, a new book being published by Steidl, and two gallery shows opening in New York City in November, Burtynsky invites viewers to consider the subject of geological time. The title of the project, “Anthropocene,” comes from the name used to describe what, after extensive research, some scientists argue is a new geological epoch, in which dramatic changes to the Earth have been created not by a giant meteor, but by human activity.

Read the full article here.

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Photo Essay: The Anthropocene Project by Edward Burtynsky

Emergence Magazine

Nature transformed through industry is a predominant theme in my work. I set course to intersect with a contemporary view of the great ages of man: from stone to minerals, oil, transportation, silicon, and so on. To make these ideas visible, I search for subjects that are rich in detail and scale yet open in their meaning. Recycling yards, mine tailings, quarries, and refineries are all places that are outside of our normal experience, yet we partake of their output on a daily basis.

These images are meant as metaphors for the dilemma of our modern existence; they search for a dialogue between attraction and repulsion, seduction and fear. We are drawn by desire—a chance at good living—yet we are consciously or unconsciously aware that the world is suffering for our success. Our dependence on nature to provide the materials for our consumption and our concern for the health of our planet set us into an uneasy contradiction. For me, these images function as reflecting pools of our times.

View the photo essay here.

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PODCAST: Ep. 3 - Anthropocene: The Human Epoch

TVO Podcasts

“There's no black and white here… there's no easy answer to this dilemma we find ourselves in of tipping the Earth outside its natural limits.” — Jennifer Baichwal

The team behind Manufactured Landscapes and Watermark is back with a new film that explores the ways human activity has fundamentally changed the planet. Colin sat down with filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal, Edward Burtynsky, and Nicholas de Pencier to discuss the massive impact we’ve had on the Earth.

Listen to the podcast here.

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REVIEW — Edward Burtynsky: The Human Signature

By Chris Waywell
TimeOut London

★★★★

Edward Burtynsky’s new show is dominated by a six-metre-long photograph of a quarry. A massive orange digger sits in the middle, but it looks like a toy in its surroundings. Burtynsky fans’ spidey senses go on high alert: EB is showing us the rape of the earth by man.

Read the full review here.

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