Anthropocene: The Book

Accompanying the film and museum shows is a large coffee table-style hardcover book published by Steidl. Primarily consisting of colour photographs by Edward Burtynsky, the Anthropocene book also features essays by Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal, and Nicholas de Pencier, as well as an overview from Anthropocene Working Group scientists Jan Zalasiewicz and Colin Waters. Anthropocene also includes new work from celebrated author and poet Margaret Atwood.

Similar to the museum shows, the Anthropocene book will also incorporate augmented reality (AR) enhancements, which can be activated using the official project app (which will be available on both iOS and Android). Each trigger will summon complementary visual assets, such as the tusk pile in miniature.

In photos as beautiful as they are disconcerting, Burtynsky explores issues such as extinction (large-scale burning of elephant tusks to disrupt illegal trade and the black market, the plight of the last white rhino), technofossils (Nigerian landfill sites entirely of plastic, massive concrete tetrapods to protect Chinese coastline from erosion), and terraforming (mines and industrial agriculture). Containing specially commissioned poems by Margaret Atwood published here for the first time, a statement by Burtynsky and a range of essays, Anthropocene presents compelling artistic and scientific responses to these urgent topics.

The book is one part of the larger Anthropocene project, a multi-disciplinary body of work with film-makers Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier which includes a major traveling exhibition, documentary film and interactive website. Its starting point is the research of the Anthropocene Working Group, an international body of scientists advocating to change the name of our present geological epoch, Holocene, to Anthropocene—the period where human activity dominates climate and environmental change. Including images of the video components and augmented reality experiences from the exhibition, the book, like the overall project, combines traditional and new lens-based media in an innovative and dynamic expression of humanity’s profound and lasting changes on the planet.
Anthropocene: The Book

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