An exhibition in Bologna about the causes and effects of climate change
A photographer and two directors whose idea is to crudely but not artificially illustrate man’s impact on the natural balance of planet Earth. This is the starting point for the Anthropocene project, a multimedia exploration developed for a traveling exhibition that combines art, film, augmented reality and scientific research. Across a four-year collaboration, Edward Burtynsky (photographer), Jennifer Baichawal and Nicholas de Pencier (directors) have documented climate change as it is caused by human activities, taking pictures and gathering video testimony. The exhibition will be on display in Italy through September 22nd at the Fondazione MAST (Manifattura di Arti, Sperimentazione e Tecnologia) in Bologna.
Our work can offer an exciting look at what is happening. Ours is a real eyewitness account. To experience this reality through photography is to create a powerful mechanism that can shape consciences.
A familiar concept, the power of images, with many examples of photographs that have changed the course of history and come to symbolize entire generations. The photo shot on June 8th 1972 by Nick Ut of Phan Thi Kim Phuc and other young Vietnamese fleeing their village, or the one of the Chinese student in 1989 who single-handedly faced a column of army tanks in the People’s Republic during the protests in Tienanmen Square, are just some examples. What truly distinguishes Anthropocene compared to other exhibitions that focus on the effects of climate change generated by human activities, is the vision underlying the entire initiative. «We don’t wish to point fingers or deny our guilt, underlined de Pencier. We live in the real world and we need the same practical solutions as everyone else. It is therefore our responsibility to use the camera as a mirror, and not a hammer, and therefore to invite the viewers to become witnesses to these places and to let everyone react in his own way».
The exhibition itinerary will allow visitors to see with their own eyes, through an immersive experience, the consequences of the development of human activities in various zones around the world. From the seawalls built along 60% of the coasts of China, to the potassium mines on the Ural Mountains with their psychedelic colours, to the marble quarries in Carrara and the enormous landfill in Dandora, Kenya. The project itself is based on the research of the Anthropocene Working Group, an international group of scientists committed to gathering proof of the transition from the Holocene (the current geological age) to the Anthropocene, the age in which man has become the single most decisive force in the mutation of balance in Nature.
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translation by Olga Barmine