‘In the Wake of Progress’ by Edward Burtynsky

“… these images function as reflecting pools of our times.” – Edward Burtynsky

‘In the Wake of Progress’ by world-renowned environmental photographer Edward Burtynsky brings together an epic and timely body of work, 40 years in the making, that captures the blinding reality of humanity’s destruction of the planet.

The urgent call for action on climate change is upon us. This work comes with the hope of shifting collective consciousness towards a more sustainable relationship with the natural world. One that will carry humanity beyond our own lifetime.

Edward Burtynsky. Photograph: Jim Panou

From 26 August to 18 September Burtynsky’s powerful multimedia presentation will premiere in Sydney for its second only showing since it debuted at Luminato Festival Toronto in June.

The large-scale installation will transform Oxford Street’s Taylor Square into an immersive digital feature highlighting some of the most devastated and fragile landscapes from the world over.

A nine-metre wide screen delivers the devastating impact that industrialisation continues to have on the natural world with a mesmerising digital curation of Burtynsky’s photographs and film footage beautifully tuned to the sounds of an original music score by multi award-winning composer Phil Strong and co-produced by Canadian music legend Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, Lou Reed).

The installation will elicit a deeply moving art experience for audiences that will draw them ever closer to the plight of our planet in this extraordinary journey around the globe. From the shores of ship breaking yards in Bangladesh, over superhighways in the US, to the orange glow of nickel tailings in Ontario, and into rainforests and soaring landscapes, a dire story unfolds.

Shipbreaking #23, Chittagong, Bangladesh, 2000, HD. © Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Sundaram Tagore Galleries, Hong Kong and Singapore / Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto

Presented as part of Sydney Festival’s annual celebrations, ‘In the Wake of Progress’ will not only captivate audiences in the immensity of its presence but the sensorial experience itself will envelop viewers in the urgent call of a planet in deep trouble. Plundered for economic resource, bled of its purity and non-human life.

“It’s incredibly exciting to have In the Wake of Progress travel across the world to be presented by the illustrious Sydney Festival right after its world premiere in Toronto,” Burtynsky says.

I’m so grateful to know that we are officially at the beginning of having this work seen by as many people around the world as possible at a time when awareness of and the need for action on the climate crisis has never been more urgent. – Burtynsky

Questions arise. What will it take to turn the tides on this recklessness? How far will humanity go for the sake of progress? What will the future be if we don’t take action now?

Highway #2, Intersection 105 & 110, Los Angeles, California, 2003_HD. © Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Sundaram Tagore Galleries, Hong Kong and Singapore / Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto

The public program invites viewers to further engage in Burtynsky’s work and ideas across a series of talks at the Australian Museum from 1 to 3 September. The series includes a panel discussion on Friday 2 September at 11am titled ‘Radical Change for a Net Zero Future’. Burtynsky will join Craig Reucassel (War on Waste), Natalia Isaacs, founder of climate action movement 1 Million Women, and Diana Callebaut from climate change investment and advisory firm, Pollination, in a solution-based discussion about climate action and a more sustainable future. Register here

‘In the Wake of Progress’ urges us to “rethink our legacy and seek a more sustainable future.”

For more information visit sydneyfestival.org.au and edwardburtynsky.com