Manufactured Landscapes – Beautiful nightmares

Burtynsky - Three Gorges

Manufactured Landscapes is a documentary film that follows photographer Ed Burtynsky at work, while he shoots fascinating pictures of the underbelly of our beast: industrial waste, gigantic manufacturing plants, oil wells, shipyards and mines. Most of the pictures concern China’s extraordinary recent growth and its ecological and social consequences.

Burtynsky doesn’t attempt to polemize. He claims he just portrays our interactions with the rest of nature, as they are -with the same detachment with which we would observe a beaver dam or a bird’s nest. It’s the viewer’s role to judge them. And I must say I had a very hard time processing his images: On one hand, I can’t help but think how absolutely gorgeous they are; on the other hand, it is depressing and horrifying to see this is who we are and this is the footprint we, as humans, leave on the planet.

The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and it is now showing at several theatres in Toronto, at least during this week. It was well received, so I guess the chances of it running on other places as well are pretty high.

Ed Burtynsky - Plant

About Jorge Aranda

I'm currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the SEGAL and CHISEL labs in the Department of Computer Science of the University of Victoria.
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3 Responses to Manufactured Landscapes – Beautiful nightmares

  1. Igor says:

    Interesting. I saw Burtynsky’s exhibition at the AGO last year (or maybe 2 years ago?), and it was very fascinating. At the time the photographs were concerned less with China and more with the general theme of humanity’s impact on nature. I highly recommend seeing his photographs in person if you have the chance.

  2. Olivier says:

    Hello Jorge,

    Excellent blog posts. As usual, you are very articulate and well spoken (written?).
    I have an interest as well in cognitive science, having taken a couple of courses at university in Psychology and I find the premises of your blog to be captivating.

    You’ve gotten yourself another regular reader!


  3. Jorge says:

    Igor, somehow I missed his exhibition at the AGO and I really regret it… hope there’ll be another opportunity further down the road.

    Olivier, thanks for the comment! –the cognitive science stuff will continue to come up, I hope you’ll enjoy it.

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