The photographs of Edward Burtynsky and the animated museum

The touring exhibition of the wonderful photographs of Edward Burtynsky reaches the Cantor Arts Center today and runs till September 18.

Burtynsky - Sudbury

Nickel tailings #30 – Sudbury, Ontario

Like Gursky, [Link] Burtynsky works in large format – the pictures are up to 5 feet across. His subjects are envrionmental impacts. Great holes in the ground like open cast mines and quarries, Wasted landscapes – his series of rivers running blood red polluted with toxic mineral waste is extraordinary. Landfill sites – urban mines as he calls them. Sites of epic industrial spectacle – the beach shipbreakers of Bangladesh, oil refineries.

There is plenty of environmental politics here. As well as simply awesome pictures of huge holes in the ground.

Susan Cameron, Phil Dhingra, Annie Wyman, Erica Simmons, Bill Rathje and myself have started an accompanying web site exploring what we see as the contemporary sublime in Burtynsky’s archaeography[Link] We are using Mark Roseman’s fabulous software ProjectForum – the same social software that we have enthusiastically adopted in the Metamedia Lab at Stanford.

Burtynsky at Stanford

The aim – to open up the exhibited apace to the visitors – animating the encounter with commentary and conversation.

PS the exhibition ended in September – an archive of the site is available at

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