Transporting us all over the world — from the man-made All-American Canal on the Colorado River to the sacred waters of the Allahabad in India to the immense Xiluodu Dam in China — Watermark explores the massive impact that human intervention has had on the world’s water supply with images of astonishing (and sometimes terrifying) beauty.
Watermark | 92 min | CANADA | 2013
Directed by Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky
Watermark is a feature documentary from multiple-award winning filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier, and renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky, marking their second collaboration after Manufactured Landscapes in 2006. The film brings together diverse stories from around the globe about our relationship with water: how we are drawn to it, what we learn from it, how we use it and the consequences of that use. We see massive floating abalone farms off China’s Fujian coast and the construction site of the biggest arch dam in the world – the Xiluodu, six times the size of the Hoover. We visit the barren desert delta where the mighty Colorado River no longer reaches the ocean, and the water-intensive leather tanneries of Dhaka. We witness how humans are drawn to water, from the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach to the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, where thirty million people gather for a sacred bath in the Ganges at the same time. We speak with scientists who drill ice cores two kilometers deep into the Greenland Ice Sheet, and explore the sublime pristine watershed of Northern British Columbia. Shot in stunning 5K ultra high-definition video and full of soaring aerial perspectives, this film shows water as a terraforming element, as well as the magnitude of our need and use. In Watermark, the viewer is immersed in a magnificent force of nature that we all too often take for granted- until it’s gone.
Edward Burtynsky is known as one of Canada’s most respected photographers. His remarkable photographic depictions of global industrial landscapes are included in the collections of over sixty major museums around the world, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in California. Burtynsky was born in 1955 of Ukrainian heritage in St. Catharines, Ontario. Early exposure to the sites and images of the General Motors plant in his hometown helped to formulate the development of his photographic work. His imagery explores the collective impact we as a species are having on the surface of the planet; an inspection of the human systems we’ve imposed onto natural landscapes.
Jennifer Baichwal was born in Montréal and grew up in Victoria, British Columbia. She studied philosophy and theology at McGill University and received an M.A. in 1994, supported by a McGill Major Fellowship and a 2 year FCAR Master’s Scholarship. She has been directing and producing documentaries for 15 years.
“An immersive experience, with stunning visual language, that will transform the way we think about water, and our relationship to it.”
This is a past event
The program will also be a segue from NYU Abu Dhabi’s Coral Reefs of Arabia conference earlier in the month, and will be followed by an expert panel discussion on the subject of water.
Imagine Science Film Festival is presented in partnership with NYUAD Institute.
OPENING NIGHT RECEPTION
Thursday, February 19th 7-8 pm EAST PLAZA
Featuring water-themed projections Holoscenes by artist Lars Jan and Coral Morphologic by artist Colin Foord alongside the opening of Experimental Records in The Project Space.
Light refreshments will be served.
ARTS IN CONTEXT
Post Screening Panel 9:30 pm
Following the film we’ll continue deeper into the submarine world with a conversation between art and marine biology. Will everyday life go on underwater? Will oceans claim shores? Will corals thrive in the submerged cities of our future, turning them to massive reefs?
JOHN BURT//Marine Biologist & Associate Professor of Biology, NYUAD
A marine biologist, John Burt uses the Arabian Gulf as a natural laboratory to study coral reef ecology in extreme environments and to understand how these may serve as a model for the possible impacts of future climate change on reefs elsewhere.
COLIN FOORD // Marine Biologist & Cofounder of Coral Morphologic
Colin Foord is a marine biologist and artist and is one half of the marine biological art-duo Coral Morphologic, whose fluorescent coral imagery has graced Miami since 2007. His work will be featured at the Opening Night Outside Reception and in exhibit Experimental Records in the Project Room.
LARS JAN // Artist & Director of Holoscenes
Lars Jan is a director, designer, writer, and media artist His new performance installation HOLOSCENES — a triptych of massive aquariums inhabited by performers — explores the evolution of human endurance and habitual behavior in the context of natural catastrophe, particularly through the lens of mythic, contemporary and coming deluge. His work will be featured at the Opening Night Outside Reception and in exhibit Experimental Records in the Project Room.
MOHAMMED YAHIA // Associate Publisher & Chief Editor of Nature Middle East
For over six years, Mohammed Yahia has worked on raising the profile of science and science journalism in the Middle East. He is interested in exploring ways to apply journalism to evolving areas such as social networks, virtual worlds, and media integration. Prior to joining Nature Middle East, Mohammed was the MENA region coordinator for the website SciDev.Net.