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Anthropocene, the new multimedia exhibition by Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier explores human-altered landscapes through immersive technology


Anthropocene, the new multimedia exhibition by Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier explores human-altered landscapes through immersive technology

Canada NewsWire

  • Featuring 31 large-scale photographs, 12 films, 3 high-resolution murals with film extensions, and several augmented reality installations offering a new sensory experience for visitors to the National Gallery of Canada
  • On view from September 28, 2018 until February 24, 2019 - Free with admission to National Gallery of Canada
  • Anthropocene the film, a TIFF 2018 Special Presentation, premieres in Ottawa at the National Gallery of Canada on September 27, 2018

OTTAWA, Aug. 14, 2018 /CNW/ - Two cubes sit in an otherwise empty exhibition space. It is not until a specially designed app is activated that the visitor truly experiences two impressive and profound works of art at the centre of the new exhibition Anthropocene, on view at the National Gallery of Canada from September 28, 2018 to February 24, 2019.

One of the installations brings Sudan, the last male northern white rhinoceros who died last March at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, back to life through a detailed 3D image triggered by the app. The other enables the viewer to relive the largest burning of illegal ivory tusks in Kenya - representing the lost lives of more than 6,000 elephants.

The installations are a sample of the immersive technology used by renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky and award-winning filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier in their new exhibition Anthropocene which presents thought-provoking and beautiful artworks that explore such themes as deforestation, urbanisation, terraforming and extraction. 

The show is part of a larger project based on the research of the Anthropocene Working Group, an international group of scientists who are trying to determine if the Earth has left the Holocene and entered a new geological epoch - the Anthropocene in which many geologically significant conditions and processes are profoundly altered by human activities.

"Solutions to the problems we face as a species and as stewards of the planet will be found in collaboration and community", said Burtynsky, Baichwal and de Pencier.  "This subject was so all-encompassing that it took five years and our three interwoven perspectives to realize, beginning with the inspiring research of the Anthropocene Working Group scientists, and leading to the extension of lens-based media in order to promote experiential understanding of the issues."

In addition to the two augmented reality installations, the National Gallery of Canada will display 31 large-scale photographs, three high resolution wall-sized murals with film extensions embedded into them, as well as 12 film installations.

The images and films reveal profoundly altered landscapes that have been drained, drilled, excavated and extracted for their resources and material worth. What the artists also capture is the unsettling beauty in what has been left, while offering multiple opportunities for awareness that humans are the primary drivers of permanent planetary change.

"The exhibition reveals how art can function in the Anthropocene. Can it lead to new ways of thinking about ourselves in the world, our relations with one another, the environment, and other forms of life?" notes Andrea Kunard, Associate Curator at the Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada and curator of the exhibition at the Gallery. "Anthropocene also brings new types of experiences to the Gallery that I hope will extend our appreciation of the power of lens-based media like photography and film."

A highlight of the exhibition is the display of several interactive experiences that feature innovative augmented reality projections. These can be accessed by all visitors who have downloaded the free exhibition app, which is then used to trigger the augmented reality installations and the film extensions in the high resolution murals. A limited number of iPads with the app installed will also be available in the exhibition space. 

Anthropocene includes an interactive area where visitors can learn more about The Anthropocene Project and share their comments about what they have seen and experienced touring the show. A thought-provoking educational program explores the issues raised in the photographs films and augmented reality installations. As Burtynsky himself noted, "The work asks more questions than it answers; which is what artists are there to do."

The Ottawa premiere of the film Anthropocene (2018, Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier, Edward Burtynsky), a cinematic meditation on humanity's massive reengineering of the planet, takes place September 27, 2018 at the National Gallery of Canada. Tickets may be purchased online through Four years in the making, the documentary was selected by TIFF to premiere as a special presentation at the 2018 festival. The Ottawa screening will be followed by a conversation with the filmmakers, moderated by Associate Curator Andrea Kunard.

Anthropocene is organized by the Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), and co-produced with the Fondazione MAST. A parallel exhibition will be on view at the AGO at the same time as the show at the Gallery. The simultaneous exhibitions are a rich pair of distinct experiences with certain key works appearing in both venues.

The exhibition is presented at the National Gallery of Canada with the generous support of Scotiabank, Founding Partner of the Canadian Photography Institute, and project partner TELUS.

Follow #AnthropoceneProject for updates.

About Edward Burtynsky

About Jennifer Baichwal

About Nicholas de Pencier

About the Canadian Photography Institute

About the National Gallery of Canada                              

About the Art Gallery of Ontario

About Fondazione MAST

About the National Gallery of Canada Foundation


SOURCE National Gallery of Canada

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