The Anthropocene Project is a unique multidisciplinary investigation including:
A feature documentary by Jennifer Baichwal, Nick de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky; a fine art book published by Steidl and a museum exhibition including video, virtual reality and large scale Burtynsky photographs. The projected release date is Fall 2018. This educational and interactive website is now live and will both disseminate relevant information about the Anthropocene (check out The Hub) and provide updates on the project.
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Anthropocene is a cinematic meditation on human civilization's massive re-engineering of our world and its natural processes. It marks the third in a trilogy of feature documentaries including Manufactured Landscapes (2006) and Watermark (2014) from filmmaking team Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier (Mercury Films) and Edward Burtynsky. The film follows an international group of geologists who want to change the name of our present interglacial epoch, Holocene, to Anthropocene in recognition of lasting changes to the earth’s system, both positive and negative. Using high-end production values and cutting edge camera technologies the filmmaking team has traversed the globe to document the most profound evidence of human planetary interaction and impact — from terraforming of the earth’s surface through mining, urbanization and agriculture to vast landscapes transformed by the damming of rivers and redirection of water, from deforestation so systemic it can be seen from space to large scale national reforestation initiatives, and from global seed and gene banks to extinctions thousands of times greater than natural background rates. Combining hard science with stunning visual sequences, Anthropocene marks an historic moment in human history and brings a visceral and unforgettable understanding of our species’ reach and impact.
Immersive Interactive Experiences
Anthropogenic Space will take viewers on an immersive experiential journey, using state of the art capture techniques to bring to life a number of iconic anthropogenic events or locations. Gigapixel photographic essays will allow users to investigate every detail of super high resolution panoramic still photographs. Accessible through the Anthropocene website, the essays will also feature rich soundscapes and audio cues with narrative and observations from the creative team: world-renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky and multiple award-winning filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier. In addition, a series of virtual reality experiences will bring viewers to some of the documentary’s most remote and stunning locations, offering an unprecedented sense of scale and immersion. For those without VR headsets, the films will be viewable as pan-able 360° shorts online.
The multidisciplinary museum show will explore the idea and trajectory of the Anthropocene as a distinct geological period using signature extra large scale Burtynsky photographs, video installations from Baichwal and de Pencier, select virtual reality experiences and didactic material from the Anthropocene Working Group.
The exhibition will premiere simultaneously at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and National Gallery of Canada (NGC) in Fall 2018.
Fine Art Photographs
Edward Burtynsky will release a body of photographs focused on the Anthropocene as part of the Project. These photographs will be included in the Anthropocene Museum Show and exhibited in Burtynsky’s galleries around the world.
A hard cover fine art book entitled Anthropocene, published by Steidl, will be released as part of the project. Primarily photographs in the tradition of books already published on Edward Burtynsky's work, the book will also include essays on the Anthropocene and film/VR production diaries.
A cornerstone of the Anthropocene project is an educational component, developing classroom materials and curriculum for teachers to utilize independently or alongside film screenings and museum show visits. These will draw on the research of the team and the AWG’s work, as well as new technologies to share and disseminate didactic information in dynamic, interactive ways. The previous films in the trilogy have free Educational Guides () that offer teachers discussion points and activities that can be modified for all levels, from elementary to university. With Anthropocene, the team intends to go beyond guides to create independent material for use by teachers in and outside classrooms.
Virtual Reality, by the nature of the technology, is usually solitary. However we are examining the possibilities of creating a shared experience in which several people can watch the VR films at the same time, allowing them to have post-screening discussions and further engagement. This is unprecedented in VR and presents exciting opportunities, especially in gallery and classroom settings.