NEWS HUB

Envisioning the Anthropocene

By Esther Hershkovits
Good Trouble Magazine

Over the last five years, three visual artists documented the staggering state of our current geological epoch - ‘The Anthropocene’ - collaborating with a research team of scientists to investigate our indelible signature on the planet.

The Anthropocene Project is a multidisciplinary body of work from world-renowned artists Nicholas de Pencier, Edward Burtynsky and Jennifer Baichwal. Through September 22, 2019, Fondazione MAST showcases their collaborative work. Good Trouble spoke to one of the artists, Edward Burtynsky, about the philosophy of the project/exhibit and its implications for the future.

How do you define the Anthropocene?

As part of the Anthropocene book, we wrote a glossary of terms that we had approved by the Anthropocene Working Group. “Anthropocene” is defined as follows: the proposed current geological epoch, at present informal, in which humans are the primary cause of permanent planetary change.

“Our mission would be to evangelize the word ‘Anthropocene’, raise awareness for the issues it presented, and bring both the word and its implications forward in people’s consciousness.”

When did you first hear about the term “Anthropocene” and what was your initial reaction? 

We have been aware of the word and concept for well over a decade, and it was when we were wrapping up Watermark that Jennifer suggested that this is what we should title our next project. I wondered if a project titled with an unfamiliar term could be successful. It was then that we decided our mission would be to evangelize the word Anthropocene, raise awareness for the issues it presented, and bring both the word and its implications forward in people’s consciousness.

Read the full interview here.

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

By Jonathan Lambert and Rebecca Ellis
NPR

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.

Read the full article here.

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Anthropocene, L’impronta Umana Sulla Terra

By Daniele Del Moro
Green Planet News

Alla FONDAZIONE MAST [Manifattura di Arti, Sperimentazione e Tecnologia] di Bologna arriva in anteprima in Europa la mostra che indaga l’impatto dell’uomo sul pianeta attraverso le straordinarie immagini di Edward Burtynsky, i filmati di Jennifer Baichwal e Nicholas de Pencier e le esperienze immersive di realtà aumentata

Anthropocene, la mostra multimediale, foto, video e quant’altro, che vuole documentare la traccia umana sul nostro povero pianeta. Ci sarà da ridere? Oppure da piangere? Sarà una messa in stato di accusa col dito puntato sul famigerato bipede o forse una mano tesa tra umani pensanti che ancora hanno a cuore le sorti di Base Terra?

Di certo, la mostra Anthropocene, a ingresso gratuito, curata da Sophie Hackett, Andrea Kunard, Urs Sthael, per la prima volta in Italia, a Bologna al MAST fino al 22 settembre 2019, costituisce una seria base di riflessione per farci tutti una domanda: amiamo la vita e dunque il terreno su cui calchiamo i nostri consumati passi?

La mostra, esplorando gli effetti delle attività umane sul Pianeta, si inscrive nel progetto artistico dellaFondazione MAST che dal 2013 conduce una riflessione approfondita sul rapporto tra l’uomo e il mondo del lavoro attraverso esposizioni di fotografia [tratte dalla collezione di Fondazione MAST o provenienti da musei, archivi e raccolte private], che raccontano il settore produttivo, le comunità dei mestieri e l’occupazione in genere.

Read the full article here.

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Burtynsky con Baichwal e de Pencier al Mast

35 fotografie, 4 enormi murales, alcune videoinstallazioni e 3 installazioni di realtà aumentata

By Monica Poggi | Il Giornale dell'Arte numero 397, maggio 2019

Bologna. Siamo nell’Antropocene, vale a dire: stiamo distruggendo il nostro pianeta. Ce lo ripetono scienziati e ricercatori, lo urlano le proteste giovanili in piazza e da qualche anno lo sottolineano  anche gli artisti. Nello specifico il fotografo internazionale Edward Burtynsky e i documentaristi Jennifer Baichwal e Nicholas de Pencier con una mostra al MAST intitolata «Anthropocene», curata da Urs Stahel, Sophie Hackett e Andrea Kunard e organizzata dalla Art Gallery of Ontario e dal Canadian Photography Institute della National Gallery of Canada in partnership con l’istituzione bolognese.

Dopo aver debuttato in Canada lo scorso settembre, l’esposizione arriva per la prima volta in Europa negli spazi della Fondazione bolognese dal 16 maggio al 22 settembre. Il progetto nasce dalla collaborazione quadriennale dei tre autori e si basa sul lavoro dell’Anthropocene Working Group, un gruppo internazionale di scienziati impegnato a dimostrare come l’uomo sia diventato la forza più potente in natura, in grado di modificare con le proprie azioni il corso delle ere geologiche.

Read the full article here.

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The Anthropocene Project

By Daniel Nash
Billionaire

A highly-anticipated multimedia project documents the indelible human footprint on the Earth.

From concrete seawalls in China that now cover 60 percent of the mainland coast, to the biggest terrestrial machines ever built in Germany, to psychedelic potash mines in Russia’s Ural Mountains, to the devastated Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and surreal lithium evaporation ponds in the Atacama desert, from the marble quarries in Carrara to one of the world’s largest landfill sites in Dandora, Kenya, humans' impact on Earth is unmistakeable and ubiquitous.

A new photography exhibition comprising four years of scientific research into this global phenomenon, is about to make its debut in Europe at Fondazione MAST, in Bologna, Italy, from May 16th - September 22nd 2019.

Read the full article here.

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Edward Burtynsky, le Yann Arthus-Bertrand de la fin du monde

By Margaux Dussert
L'ADN

Les images du photographe Edward Burtynsky ont des allures de peintures abstraites. Avec elles, c'est la dévastation de la Terre par nos industries que ce dernier enregistre : une réalité de pétrole, de métal, de pelleteuses et d'épaves. L'anthropocène vu du ciel en somme.

J’ai toujours été frappé par ce paradoxe : nous sommes dépendants d’une foule d’objets issus de mines et d’usines, et pourtant, on ne voit jamais ni les unes, ni les autres.

Vous êtes né en Ontario, au Canada, une région marquée par sa dépendance à l’industrie automobile. Ce souvenir a-t-il été l’élément déclencheur de votre travail ?

EDWARD BURTYNSKY : Oui, je crois. Mon père travaillait chez General Motors. Le métal qui coule dans d’énormes cuves, les immenses machines... sont mes premiers souvenirs. Je crois que j’avais 7 ans. St. Catharines, où j’ai grandi, a toujours été un lieu de passage pour les porte-conteneurs. Ils y chargent et déchargent une grande quantité de matériaux en vrac. J’ai été exposé très jeune à tout ça, et j’ai rapidement compris comment ces industries fonctionnent, comment les matériaux nous parviennent, dans quels contenants…

Read the full interview here.

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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.

Read the full article here.

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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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‘Anthropocene’ Tops Canadian Screen Award Doc Winners

By Pat Mullen
Point of View Magazine

Jennifer Baichwal, Nick de Pencier, and Ed Burtynsky are triple crown winners! The team scored its third win from the Canadian Academy when Anthropocene: The Human Epoch took the Ted Rogers Award for Best Documentary Feature at last night’s Canadian Screen Awards. The filmmakers previously won the Genie for 2006’s Manufactured Landscapes and the CSAfor 2013’s Watermark, making them unstoppable for their landmark environmental trilogy. Anthropocene also won the doc prize for Best Cinematography for de Pencier at yesterday’s awards. The win caps off a remarkable run for Anthropocene on the Canadian circuit, which included a spot on Canada’s Top Ten and the Rogers Award for Best Canadian Feature from the Toronto Film Critics Association. (Read more about Anthropocene in this profile from TIFF.)

Read the full article here.

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Tire towers, mesmerizing mines and deforestation: Amazing aerial photos show the staggering scope and scale of how humans reshaped the planet

By Dusica Sue Malesevic
DailyMail.com

The images are, at times, otherworldly and unrecognizable. Others clearly show the tire towers, highways bisecting lush green fields, and row after row of water-damaged cars.

For photographer Edward Burtynsky, his aerial takes of landscapes, such as the one above of a phosphor tailings pond in Florida, are a way to show how humans have reshaped the planet.

The photos are part of an undertaking called the Anthropocene Project, which Burtynsky worked on with wife-husband filmmaker duo Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier, and includes a new book, exhibitions, and a documentary film that had its recent U.S. premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. 

Read the full article here.

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'Anthropocene,' the Groundbreaking Exhibition With Thought-Provoking Imagery and AR Installations, Will Travel From Canada to Europe

ARTFIXdaily

Breathtaking photographs and films, immersive augmented reality experiences, cutting-edge technology: Anthropocene ends Friday in Ottawa

This groundbreaking exhibition explores human impact on the planet through large-scale photographs by Edward Burtynsky, film installations by Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier and, new from the artists, augmented reality installations. A 236-page exhibition book is available.

The show will travel to Fondazione MAST, in Bologna, in the spring of 2019 for its European premiere.

Anthropocene, the multimedia exhibition on view at the National Gallery of Canada until February 24, 2019, is the result of an ambitious four-year collaboration between the renowned artist Edward Burtynsky and award-winning filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier. Using the most cutting-edge technology of our time, combining film, photography, augmented reality (AR) and scientific research, the exhibition offers a spectacular panorama of the enormous impact humanity has had on the planet.

Read the full article here.

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'Anthropocene' Introduces the Darkest Man-Made Wonders of the World

By Luke Hicks
Nonfics

Astonishment. Pure, lurid, ravishing, genuine astonishment. That is Anthropocene: The Human Epoch. At times, you have to quadruple take, and what you’re looking at still doesn’t fully click. It’s so impossible to comprehend yet such a significant achievement in scientific study and documentary storytelling. Its story is massive in scope. On the short end, it covers 10 millennia, the span of human history. On the long end, it spans 4.5 billion years, the duration of the Earth.

“Anthropocene” refers to the recently coined epoch that many distinguished geologists and scientists believe we have entered as a result of the human manipulation of the Earth and its resources. Technically, as far as the official Geological Time Scale is concerned, the Anthropocene Epoch has not been legitimized. But, as you can imagine, it takes a little while to prove that the geological conditions and processes of the Earth have been altered enough to warrant official worldwide identification and confirmation of our current time interval.

Read the full review here.

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A man-made landscape is writ large on the screen in Anthropocene: The Human Epoch

By David D'Arcy
The Art Newspaper

After its US premier at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, the visually stunning documentary heads to Berlin

The deep brown curves of a strip mine in New Mexico seem like contours of a woven carpet. So do the rows of a palm oil plantation in Borneo alongside a lush green rainforest. A vast garbage dump in Kenya has its own luminous topography, with plastic gleaming like jewelled inlay. Like glowing flows of molten lava, these and the many manmade environments observed in the film Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, which premiered at Sundance, are no less troubling for their eerie allure. Nature isn’t what it used to be.

Read the full article 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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Alicia Vikander-Narrated Climate Change Doc ‘Anthropocene’ Nabbed by Kino Lorber

By Etan Vlessing
Hollywood Reporter

The Canadian film, by directors Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky, is set for a September theatrical release.

The Canadian documentary Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, narrated by Oscar winner Alicia Vikander, has had its U.S. rights nabbed by Kino Lorber.

The climate change film that explores the human impact on our planet debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival before a recent screening at Sundance and ahead of a European premiere in Berlin. Kino Lorber plans a September theatrical release to coincide with the UN Climate Change Summit 2019.

Read the full article here.

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Seville International licences ‘Anthropocene: The Human Epoch’ to Kino Lorber (exclusive)

By Jeremy Kay
Screen Daily

Seville International announced from Sundance on Tuesday (29) it has licensed US rights on Anthropocene: The Human Epoch to Kino Lorber and struck key additional international sales.

The documentary from Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky is the first acquisition by Kino Lorber in association with Kanopy, the free streaming platform available to college students and professors, and public library members across the US.

Read the full release here.

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“Anthropocene: The Human Epoch” Beautifully portrays the horrors of man’s new era

By Pamela Powell
Reel Honest Reviews

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“Anthropocene: The Human Epoch” is the third film by Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky to address the environment, preceded by “Manufactured Landscapes” (2006) and “Watermark” (2013). The film, narrated in layman’s terms by Alicia Vikander, gives us a stunning visual education of our current world’s state as we leave behind the Halocene Era, one which nature provides changes, to the Anthropocene Era, where man is responsible for all of them.

Read the full review here.

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“I was Amazed That We Got Permission to Film in Russia”: Directors Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky | Anthropocene – The Human Epoch

Filmmaker Magazine

Whenever directors watch their own films, they always do so with the knowledge that there are moments that occurred during their production — whether that’s in the financing and development or shooting or post — that required incredible ingenuity, skill, planning or just plain luck, but whose difficulty is invisible to most spectators. These are the moments directors are often the most proud of, and that pride comes with the knowledge that no one on the outside could ever properly appreciate what went into them.

So, we ask: “What hidden part of your film are you most privately proud of and why?”

The scenes in the film from Norilsk and Berezniki in Russia have particular resonance for us, for a number of reasons.

I was amazed that we got permission to film in Russia. All our research indicated that it’s never been harder to get a North American camera crew into the country since the Cold War. And we were pushing it even more by trying to get into underground mines in the Ural mountains and into the “closed city” of Norilsk. To film in the subterranean, psychedelic potash mines, the tunnels of which span over 3,000 kilometers, we needed an invitation from the mining company. Norilsk, 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, is a one company town of around 175,000 people. It has the largest colored metal mine (chances are your cellphone has palladium in it from Norilsk) and heavy metals smelting complex in the world, and is one of its most polluted cities. There is no road or rail access. Because of its strategic importance and gulag forced-labor history, even Russian citizens need special permission to go there. It took a long time to process the visas and I felt the odds were insurmountably against us, and that we were just going through the motions to say we had tried. Then one day they arrived. Incredible. — Nicholas de Pencier

Read the full article here.

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Sundance Film Review: ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch

By Alexander Ortega
Slug Magazine

ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

Directors: Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier, Edward Burtynsky

Imagine yurt-like structures made of elephant tusks. Then shift your vision to bright-green pools of lithium in a middle-of-nowhere desert, with pipes flowing the alien-looking liquid from one area to an adjacent one. Grimy machinery forges red-hot iron shapes then cools the metal objects in pools with nary a human hand. These images, together, may seem like they’re from a space western or a novel set in a dystopian future, but they’re contemporary, real-life images from Earth, depicted in Sundance documentary Anthropocene: The Human Epoch.

Read the full review 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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