The Anthropocene Project at the MAST Foundation in Bologna: A Wake-up Call to Save the Planet

By Nicolò Gallio

When was the last time you felt mesmerised and guilty at the same time, while looking at a piece of art? It happened to me last Saturday more than once when I was visiting the Anthropocene exhibition at the MAST Foundation in Bologna. I knew I was going to experience an impactful show given the topics – pollution, deforestation, mining, climate change, urbanization – but did not fully realise the beauty that came across the powerful images captured by the cameras of world-renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky and award-winning directors/producers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier.

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Our planet's future: are we doomed or is there hope?

CBC Ideas

In Paul Kennedy's final week at IDEAS, he looks back at his four decades with the program. We begin the series with an episode inspired by the Muskoka Summit on the Environment, an event Paul has moderated since 2010.

Paul has long had a passion for stories about the environment. Having grown up in St. Catharines, Ontario. he saw firsthand the impact of industry on the surrounding landscape.

For this program, Paul invited three guests to join him on stage for a live event at the Glenn Gould — photographer Ed Burtynsky, microbiologist Nadia Mykytczuk, and Henry Lickers, Environmental Science Officer for the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne. 

Paul asked the panel two basic questions about our collective future: are we doomed? And what inspires hope?

Listen to the full episode here.

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Oh Dear: Photos Show What Humans Have Done To The Planet

By Jonathan Lambert and Rebecca Ellis

Humans have made an indelible mark on the planet. Since the mid-20th century, we've accelerated the digging of mines, construction of dams, expansion of cities and clearing of forests for agriculture — activity that will be visible in the geological record for eons to come.

Some scientists are calling it the Anthropocene era, or the age of the humans ("anthropos" is Greek for human).

Photographer Edward Burtynsky and filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier were inspired by this ongoing discussion of the debate over this new geological era. These three Canadian artists traveled to 22 countries to research and document "places of obvious, physical human incursions on the landscape," says filmmaker de Pencier.

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Edward Burtynsky: Human Nature.

By Steven Threndyle
Montecristo Magazine

In an elevator inside downtown Vancouver’s Telus Garden, a news item flashes on the TV. “WWF says 60 per cent of the world’s wildlife has been wiped out since 1970.” It is apt timing for such a fact, as just minutes before, renowned Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky had participated in a Nature Conservancy of Canada panel discussion within this building’s walls, and shown stirring images from his latest project: a collaboration with Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier called Anthropocene.

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Anthropocene (Goose Lane Editions) Wins Canadian Museums Association Award

Anthropocene (Goose Lane Editions, 2018) is the winner of Outstanding Achievement in Research in the art category by the Canadian Museums Association. The award, presented in Toronto on April 17th at the AMA’s 2019 National Conference, was the latest honour for the book, film and gallery project, which was deemed by judges as “nationally significant and exceeded the current standard of practice by going beyond the conventional approach.”

In Anthropocene, Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal, and Nicholas de Pencier, chronicles the massive and irreversible impact of humans on the Earth — on a geological scale.

Read the full announcement here.

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REVIEW – Edward Burtynsky with Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier: Anthropocene (Steidl, 2018)

By Katriina Etholén

I have here on my table the latest book by the Toronto based photographer Edward Burtynsky. The scale of the book is impressive – three kilos, 36 by 29 centimetres and 236 pages. But it’s not just the book’s size that is impressive; the theme is vast as well. It was while viewing the wondrous photographs on the walls of the Flowers Gallery in London that I decided that I needed to familiarize myself better with his current Anthropocene project and the book with the same name.

This is not the first time I have explored Burtynsky’s work. I had the privilege of meeting and interviewing him in the spring 2011 in Stockholm, just before the opening the exhibition Burtynsky: Oil in Fotografiska. I wrote two articles about him, one to go together with the oil exhibition and other one describing his large-scale project concentrating on water that he was working on at the time.

Edward Burtynsky is one of Canada’s most significant contemporary photographers. He has won multiple prestigious awards for his work and is known for his large colour photos of man-made landscapes. His projects are deep studies of the subjects, usually lasting several years. He has shown the scars and wounds that man has cut on the earth and completed vast projects on oil and water, the liquids that fuel and sustain our everyday life. His diverse body of work includes mines and quarries – which have followed him from early projects to this latest one – salt pans and ship breaking yards, railcuts and container ports, homesteads, consumerism, recycling and so on. Anthropocene is his thirteenth book and is part of a larger project.

Read the full review 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.

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By Holly Hughes

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.

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REVIEW – Edward Burtynsky: The Human Signature

By Matthew Rudman
Studio International

In July 2017, construction workers were digging the foundations for a new fire and police station in the town of Thornton, Colorado, when they uncovered something unexpected: the fossilised remains of a triceratops dating back 66m years. “A lot of times these will be ploughed up and they won’t be recognised,” the curator of a local natural history museum said. Humans have been manipulating the natural world since the dawn of civilisation, but the past 100 years has seen an exponential and uncontrolled increase in disruption and destruction of delicately balanced ecosystems and geologies previously undisturbed for millions of years. We are all-too familiar with the consequences: crumbling ice caps, bleached coral reefs and rising sea levels threatening to engulf our settlements with acidified water.

In the mid-20th century, hundreds of atmospheric nuclear weapons tests were conducted, coating the Earth in a thin layer of radioactive particles. Many scientists are proposing using this layer of toxic dust as the indelible signature of a new geological age, the Anthropocene, an era defined by the impact of humanity on the Earth’s ecology. Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky (b1955) has long been preoccupied with the troubled intersection of human industry and natural ecosystems, and his most recent output, The Human Signature, on show at the Flowers Gallery, London, is part of his recently launched Anthropocene project, which explores the various manifestations of human mark-making on our planet.

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Edward Burtynsky "I’ve become hardened like a war photographer"

By Ari Stein
52 Insights Magazine

He’s spent most of his career unravelling this thread of human destruction, so much so we now have a word for it, The Anthropocene.

As a photographer he seeks to capture scenes of environmental devastation to educate and inspire us into action, the question constantly arising throughout his work is how did we get to this point? This is a pertinent question that motivates Edward to climb, rail and ascend some of the worlds farthest reaching places. Deploying his arsenal of drones, helicopters and assistants, he magically converts man-altered landscapes into images of sublime beauty.

What the world has gained from Burtynsky’s shock and awe images is the ability to piece together our every day withdrawal from the earth and put it into a whole new perspective. There is no doubt that our earth is experiencing a tipping point but only through the work of people like Edward Burtynsky can we be truly aware of what we are doing. In this exclusive interview, we sit down with Edward to ask not only how 35 years of shooting have changed him as a person but what has he learnt from doing it.

Read the interview here.

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Striking photos of human scars on Earth

By Cameron Laux
BBC Culture

The Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky is a master of the post-industrial sublime. His sweeping point of view is, at the very least, ambivalent. His shots, most recently taken from the coolest possible standpoint of a helicopter and sometimes a satellite, are at first sight surreal and glorious, but they have an ominous documentary undertow.

His large-format photos aestheticise mining, deforestation, industrial waste and decay, monumental piles of garbage, plastic, rubber; expanses of new and decommissioned equipment so vast that they look like crystalline formations; dense human settlements which from an Olympian standpoint look like creeping mould or infestations.

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The Human Signature: Edward Burtynsky's Anthropocene – in pictures

The Guardian

Burtynsky’s unsettling large-scale images of industrial-scale extraction, urbanisation and deforestation reveal humanity’s devastating impact on the planet

The exhibition will run at Flowers Gallery Londonfrom 17 Oct - 24 Nov.

View the gallery here.

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Huge fossil-like scars of the Anthropocene mark walls of Russian mine

By Simon Ings
New Scientist

THE lasting geological impact of our species is clearly visible within the galleries of this potash mine in Russia’s Ural mountains. The Urals contain one of the largest deposits in the world of this salt, one of the most widely used fertilisers. Mining has left behind vast subterranean galleries, their walls machine-carved with enormous ammonite-like whorls.

The Canadian photographer and artist Edward Burtynsky took this photograph for The Anthropocene Project, a collaborative chronicle of geologically significant human activity such as extraction, urbanisation and deforestation.

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By Truc Nguyen
NUVO Magazine

This month, Anthropocene—a photography and multimedia art exhibition from artists Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal, and Nicholas de Pencieropens simultaneously at the Art Gallery of Ontario and the National Gallery of Canada, the first time the two museums have offered concurrent, complementary shows from the same artists. The Anthropocene Project also encompasses a feature documentary film arriving in theatres next month, a hardcover book from Steidl, and an exhibition of photographs by Burtynsky at the Nicholas Metivier Gallery in Toronto.

An endeavor for which the artists travelled to 46 different locations in 20 countries over the last four years, visiting every continent except Antarctica, the project aims to document and highlight the effect of human activity and industrialization on our planet. “Anthropocene is a word that was coined in 2000 by Paul Crutzen, and it’s a word that tries to describe what humans are doing to the planet, that we’re shifting the planet into another geological epoch,” explains Burtynsky. “Geologists are trying to tell us that we’re actually now a planetary force as a species; all of the work, whether it’s deforestation, or mining, or quarries, or farming, all of these things are key drivers of tipping us into this other state.”

A collaboration between photographer Burtynsky and filmmakers Baichwal and de Pencier, Anthropocene is a follow up to their previous films and creative projects, Manufactured Landscapes (2006) and Watermark (2013). Using both traditional photography processes and newer technology such as augmented reality and satellite imagery, the AGO exhibition showcases sites of human activity and environmental degradation as varied as the burning of a mound of confiscated ivory tusks in Nairobi, a clearcut forest on Vancouver Island, and a potash mine in Russia.

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Age of Anthropocene: Art highlights human destruction of Earth

By Jesse Tahirali & Marlene Leung
CTV News

Rainbow mountains of coloured plastic. Artificial cliffs carved into a coal mine. Sheets of pale dirt shaved clean from a shrinking forest.

Humanity’s fingerprints are pressed all over the Earth’s surface, and famed Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky is putting them on full display at the Art Gallery of Ontario and the National Gallery of Art this fall.

His new exhibit uses photo murals, video and augmented reality displays to take a wide-angle look at the “human signature” we’ve left on our planet.

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New exhibit Anthropocene opens at the Art Gallery of Ontario

Metro Morning with Matt Galloway

A new art exhibition opens today at the AGO, looking at how humans have irreversibly transformed the planet. We hear from the three artists at the centre of the project: photographer Edward Burtynsky and filmmakers filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier.

Listen here.

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Anthropocene art show and documentary will shock you with a view of human impact on the planet

By Kate Taylor
The Globe and Mail

The project, which includes not only a new documentary but also two museum exhibitions and an art book, gives a chilling, yet sometimes beautiful, examination of the indelible and spreading mark of human activity on the planet.

Like some eerie sculpture, a dome-shaped pile of elephant tusks glimmers in a darkened gallery. It’s a non-existent thing, the virtual recreation of a huge cache of contraband ivory burned to ashes two years ago.

Poaching is pushing the African elephant to the brink, yet another example of our species' pervasive impact on the planet. The indelible and spreading mark of human activity is the meaning of the term Anthropocene and the theme of a four-year collaboration between award-winning landscape photographer Edward Burtynsky and the documentary filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier. Following on their environmental films Manufactured Landscapes and Watermark, the Anthropocene project includes not only a new documentary but also two museum exhibitions and an art book.

To produce it, the trio visited every continent except Antarctica, stopping in 20 different countries. One of those countries was Kenya where in 2016 their cameras recorded an unusual event: the burning of 100 tonnes of elephant tusks and rhino horns by government officials. Determined to save these species by demonstrating to poachers that the ivory and horn is worthless unless attached to a living animal, the Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta set light to the largest pile.

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Toronto's most famous photographer brings stunning images to the AGO

Amy Carlberg

Edward Burtynsky has arrived at the AGO along with collaborators Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier in a sprawling exhibit that explores the impact humans have had on the earth. In Anthropocene, chilling yet beautiful images come to life through large scale photography, video and augmented reality installations. 

Check out the photo gallery here.

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Master photog Edward Burtynsky shows us the lay of the land in new National Gallery exhibit

Lynn Saxberg
Ottawa Citizen

Master photographer Edward Burtynsky has dedicated much of his life to documenting the impact of humans on earth through dramatic, large-format photographs of industrial landscapes around the world.

The St. Catharines-born artist has won numerous awards for his work, and his striking photos are included in the collections of some of the world’s most prestigious institutions, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum, as well as the Tate Modern in London.

Now a powerful new multi-media exhibition, Anthropocene, opens this week at the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario. The accompanying film, Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, a TIFF 2018 special presentation, will be screened at the gallery Thursday.

The result of a four-year collaboration between Burtynsky and filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier, the Anthropocene project consists of large-scale photographs, films, high-resolution murals with film extensions, and augmented reality installations that bring you into the landscape. The title refers to the proposed geological term for the current epoch, defining an age when human activity has been the dominant force in changing the planet.

Read the full article here.

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