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Edward Burtynsky’s In The Wake Of Progress

Conceived, Directed, Photographed and Filmed by Edward Burtynsky

Edward Burtynsky’s In The Wake Of Progress

Date & Time

October 16, 2021



ASL Summary
Audio Description
Closed Captions
Radio LUMI
Visual Story

Event Supporters

Presented by:Learn more about RBC support

Sandro and Jim Pitblado, C.M.
Gretchen and Donald Ross, O.C.
The Michael Young Family Foundation
Lead Support byThe Hal Jackman Foundation
Louise MacCallum and Michael Barnstijn 
Supported byRichard W. and Donna Ivey
Joan and Jerry Lozinski
With generous assistance fromBullfrog Power
The S.M. Blair Family Foundation
The K.M. Hunter Charitable Foundation

Open-pit mines in Australia.
Nickel tailings in Sudbury, Ontario.   
Vast marble quarries in Carrara, Italy. 
The Three Gorges Dam project in China.
Pivot-irrigation systems across the Texas Panhandle.

These are the scars of modern human life on the Earth.
This is the wake of our progress.  

On October 16, 2021, Luminato Festival Toronto will unveil Edward Burtynsky’s In the Wake of Progress – a fully choreographed blend of photographs and film, including new and never-before-seen works, by world-renowned Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky. Created for the screens surrounding Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square, and filmed by Bokeh Collective for the 2021 Festival’s online audience, the piece tells the epic tale of humanity’s impact on the planet through photographs and film from Burtynsky’s 40-year career.

Climate Change through the photographer’s lens

This new 22-minute piece, co-produced by Canadian music legend Bob Ezrin, presents the powerful imagery of global landscapes devastated by human activity in contrast to the dazzling urban centre, at a moment when the health of our planet is an urgent international priority. Edward Burtynsky’s In the Wake of Progress includes an original soundtrack by composer and sound designer Phil Strong, featuring award-winning musical artist iskwē, as well as musicians of The Glenn Gould School at The Royal Conservatory of Music, co-orchestrated and conducted by Claudio Vena.  

Against the backdrop of the devastating effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic, In the Wake of Progress becomes an urgent call to action, and a quest for hope, as we face the greatest existential threat of our time: the climate crisis. 

Edward Burtynsky’s In the Wake of Progress is a multi-sensory film experience that will be streamed on the Festival’s digital platform on October 16, 2021. 

Produced in Association with

These images are meant as metaphors for the dilemma of our modern existence; they search for a dialogue between attraction and repulsion, seduction and fear. We are drawn by desire, a chance at good living, yet we are consciously or unconsciously aware that the world is suffering for our success. Our dependence on nature to provide the materials for our consumption, and our concern for the health of our planet, sets us into an uneasy contradiction. For me, these images function as reflecting pools of our times.”

Edward Burtynsky

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Creative Team

Produced by
Edward Burtynsky
Bob Ezrin
Julia Johnston

Immersive Experience Design and Direction
The Mustard Shop
Brian T. Moore
Alexandra Francis

Composer and Sound Design
Phil Strong

iskwē and Musicians of the Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory of Music

Co-orchestraed and Conducted by
Claudio Vena

In the Wake of Progress in Yonge-Dundas Square: The Film Produced and Directed by
Bokeh Collective
Rob Brunner, Director
Justin Harding, Director and Editor
Kris Elsley, Producer
Dana Alexander, Post-Production Supervisor

Edward Burtynsky Photography
Alanna Smith, Media and Communications Manager/Production Coordinator, Special Projects
Connie Hitzeroth, Director of Finance
Jim Panou, Project Coordinator
Julia Johnston, Head of Business Affairs
Karen Machtinger, Studio Manager & Arts Administrator
Marcus Schubert, Director of Publications, Exhibitions & Special Projects
Paul Seargent, Archivist & Manager of Production

With additional film footage by Nicholas de Pencier, and special thanks to Jennifer Baichwal (Mercury Films Inc.).

Images courtesy of Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto.

Special thanks to Veronica Barton and Waterford Partners. 

Luminato Festival Toronto, Production
Duncan Macmillan, Production Manager
Jalen Innis, Associate Production Manager