Internationally renowned Canadian artist Edward Burtynsky announces his most ambitious project to date. This ticketed, multidimensional indoor walkthrough experience titled In the Wake of Progress envelops visitors in 30-ft screens featuring 40 years of Burtynsky’s global landscapes impacted by the stark reality of the human industry, choreographed to a striking musical score. In the Wake of Progress premieres for the first time live at the ‘ground zero’ of Canada’s consumer activity: Yonge-Dundas Square as part of Luminato Festival Toronto on 11 June 2022 and 12 June 2022. Following this brief large-scale outdoor public presentation, In the Wake of Progress expands into a multifaceted experience at the Canadian Opera Company Theatre from 25 June 2022 until 17 July 2022.
“In the Wake of Progress unfolds more or less as a chronology, revealing a series of significant personal realizations and iconic moments of production that have marked the arc of my career,” says Edward Burtynsky. “My earliest experiences in youth, paddling a canoe through Algonquin Park and marvelling at the grandeur of the Earth’s perfection were quickly challenged by the polar opposite as an adult and artist confronting the sobering reality of the lasting devastation our civilization has inflicted upon it. My hope is that people around the globe will experience this important exhibition and be prompted to make changes, small and large, to ensure sustainable life on this planet for future generations.”
Burtynsky creates works that continually urge viewers to consider how our insatiable desire for consumption impacts our environment. Within a specially curated gallery that complements the main spectacle, visitors will witness brand new photographs taken in April 2022, alongside more familiar Burtynsky works, all of which provide a meditation on the urgency of the devastating effects of climate change. In addition to the gallery, visitors are invited to engage with two unique augmented reality (AR) experiences which explore the impacts and legacy of the internal combustion engine.
Burtynsky’s deep engagement with social and environmental issues through the photographic lens is in full effect with In the Wake of Progress. Surrounded by potent imagery of a planet usurped by human industry, the audience is surrounded by a powerful original score composed by Phil Strong and produced by Canadian music legend Bob Ezrin. This emotionally-charged and compelling new work, created from the powerful photographs and films of Burtynsky’s 40-year career, tells the story of humanity’s relentless impact on planet Earth.
In addition to Burtynsky’s traditional artworks and augmented reality experiences, In the Wake of Progress also introduces a space called the Change Station, where visitors are encouraged to become positive agents for change in their own local environments. The Change Station will present simple, tangible and engaging calls to action from select organizations, supported by the artist, all of which are designed to answer one question: what can I do now?
In the Wake of Progress offers an unmissable experience and further establishes the power of Burtynsky’s art in bringing our attention to today’s most urgent issues around climate change and the future implications of sustainable life on Earth. The experience is accompanied by a new 200-page book of the same name, produced in commemoration of the project, which contains personal reflections by the artist about his ethos and creative process, as well as quotes and extracts of texts by collaborators, curators, art historians, interviewers, and colleagues. The book will be available for sale during the run of the show.
Following the presentation at the Canadian Opera Company Theatre, the exhibition will embark on a global tour beginning in late 2022.
In the Wake of Progress is supported by TELUS, Loblaw Companies Limited, Hatch, RBC Tech for Nature, and The Michael Young Family Foundation.
Additional support from Bullfrog Power and the Canadian Opera Company Theatre.
Detailed Ticketing Information:
Canadian Opera Company Theatre: 227 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5A 1E8
Saturday, June 25 & Sunday, June 26
Thursday, June 30 to Sunday, July 3
Thursday, July 7 to Sunday, July 10
Thursday, July 14 to Sunday, July 17
General admission ticket prices are $30, and limited student and arts worker tickets are $15.
Guests are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance of arriving at the Canadian Opera Company Theatre. Guests can purchase tickets HERE. All shows require a timed ticket, please arrive 30 minutes before your ticket time for processing.
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About Edward Burtynsky
Edward Burtynsky is regarded as one of the world's most accomplished contemporary photographers. His remarkable photographic depictions of global industrial landscapes represent over 40 years of his dedication to bearing witness to the impact of humans on the planet. Burtynsky's photographs are included in the collections of over 60 major museums around the world. Major (touring) exhibitions include: Anthropocene (2018), Water (2013) organised by the New Orleans Museum of Art & Contemporary Art Center, Louisiana; Oil (2009) at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.; China (2005 five-year tour); and Manufactured Landscapes (2003), National Gallery of Canada. Film collaborations include Jennifer Baichwal's Manufactured Landscapes (2006); Watermark (2013); and the third film in the trilogy, ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch which opened in theatres across Canada in October 2018 and in theatres across the US in September 2019. Burtynsky’s distinctions include the inaugural TED Prize in 2005, which he shared with Bono and Robert Fischell; the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts; the Outreach award at the Rencontres d’Arles; the Roloff Beny Book award; and the 2018 Photo London Master of Photography Award. In 2019 he was the recipient of the Arts & Letters Award at the Canadian Association of New York’s annual Maple Leaf Ball and the 2019 Lucie Award for Achievement in Documentary Photography. Most recently he was awarded a Royal Photographic Society Honorary Fellowship (2020) and was honoured with the Outstanding Contribution to Photography Award (2022) by the World Photography Organization. He currently holds eight honorary doctorate degrees.