The Anthropocene Project

anthropocene BURTYNSKY Beekman Foundationis a multidisciplinary body of work from world-renowned collaborators Nicholas de Pencier, Edward Burtynsky and Jennifer Baichwal. Combining art, film, virtual reality, augmented reality, and scientific research, the project investigates human influence on the state, dynamic and future of the Earth.

We have reached an unprecedented moment in planetary history. Humans now arguably change the Earth and its processes more than all other natural forces combined. Climate change, extinctions, invasive species, technofossils, anthroturbation, terraforming of land, and redirection of water are all part of the indelible human signature.

ANTHROPOCENE : relating to or denoting the current geological age,

viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.

The exhibitions use both new and traditional lens-based art to create an innovative and dynamic expression of humanity’s incursions on the planet.

A cinematic meditation on humanity’s massive reengineering of the planet, ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch is a four years in the making feature documentary film from the multiple-award winning team of Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky.

Third in a trilogy that includes Manufactured Landscapes (2006) and Watermark (2013), the film follows the research of an international body of scientists, the Anthropocene Working Group who, after nearly 10 years of research, are arguing that the Holocene Epoch gave way to the Anthropocene Epoch in the mid-twentieth century, because of profound and lasting human changes to the Earth.

From concrete seawalls in China that now cover 60% of the mainland coast, to the biggest terrestrial machines ever built in Germany, to psychedelic potash mines in Russia’s Ural Mountains, to metal festivals in the closed city of Norilsk, to the devastated Great Barrier Reef in Australia and surreal lithium evaporation ponds in the Atacama desert, the filmmakers have traversed the globe using high end production values and state of the art camera techniques to document evidence and experience of human planetary domination.

At the intersection of art and science, ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch witnesses in an experiential and non-didactic sense a critical moment in geological history — bringing a provocative and unforgettable experience of our species’ breadth and impact.

anthropocene BURTYNSKY Beekman Foundation

On September 28, 2018, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in Toronto and the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) in Ottawa presented simultaneous, complementary exhibitions of Anthropocene, in conjunction with Fondazione MAST, in Bologna, where the show will travel in the spring of 2019 for its European premiere. A four-year collaboration between Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier, the exhibitions use both new and traditional lens-based art to create an innovative and dynamic expression of humanity’s incursions on the planet. The exhibitions are comprised of traditional photographic prints, high-resolution murals with film extensions, film installations, and augmented reality (AR) installations.

The shows also marked the first time ever that the AGO and NGC presented parallel exhibits at the same time. While some pieces were common to both galleries, most of the installations were unique to either Ottawa or Toronto, allowing visitors who wished to travel to both cities a wider experience.

In conjunction with the openings, the documentary began its theatrical release across Canada on October 12, 2018.

Human Epoch BURTYNSKY anthropocene Beekman Foundation

anthropocene Beekman Foundation

anthropocene BURTYNSKY Beekman Foundation



Accompanying the film and museum shows is a large coffee table-style hardcover book published by Steidl. Primarily consisting of colour photographs by Edward Burtynsky, the Anthropocene book also features essays by Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal, and Nicholas de Pencier, as well as an overview from Anthropocene Working Group scientists Jan Zalasiewicz and Colin Waters. Anthropocene also includes new work from celebrated author and poet Margaret Atwood.

Similar to the museum shows, the Anthropocene book will also incorporate augmented reality (AR) enhancements, which can be activated using the official project app (which will be available on both iOS and Android). Each trigger will summon complementary visual assets, such as the tusk pile in miniature.

anthropocene BURTYNSKY Beekman Foundation

Hardcover: 236 pages

Publisher: Steidl (1st edition October, 2018)

Language: English

ISBN-13: 978-3-95829-489-9

Product Dimensions: 36 x 28.7 cm


With many thanks to The Anthropocene Project