“If we destroy nature, we destroy ourselves. I believe that as a fundamental philosophical position when I look at the world.”
I am an Edward Burtynsky fan, but was not aware of the documentary films about his work until I saw Watermark mentioned in the Vita Vitale exhibition, Azerbaijan’s pavilion at La Biennale 2015. The presentation of this documentary wasn’t working at the exhibition on the day I was there. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. When going to rent Waterways I saw Manufactured Landscape listed too, being the older film it made sense to watch this first.
At the end of the film Burtynsky talks about the political nature of his work and the future: “If I said ‘this is terrible thing we are doing to the planet’ then people with either agree of disagree. By not saying what you should see, that may allow them to look at something that have never looked at and to see their world a little differently. So I think many people today sit in that uncomfortable spot where we don’t necessarily want to give up what we have but we realise what we are doing is creating problems that run deep. It’s not a simple right or wrong. It needs a whole new way of thinking.”
While I wait for Watermark to arrive on DVD, I’ll be watching his TED talks, My wish: Manufactured landscapes and green education.