That Burtynsky guy

I know I turned at least one friend on to photographer Ed Burtynsky with this post from 18 months ago.

In the art world he’s hardly anonymous. But I don’t wine-and-cheese much; I just go: “Oooh, pretty pictures! I am moved” — without delving into comparative forms and styles and histories and what’s derivative. So here’s a bit more about him, from a recent show:

A lot of the photos linked there depict how oil is ultimately soul-crushingly destructive, or at least it leaves a mark that makes the Earth appear like just another disposable item. But of course our way of life revolves around oil. So we can’t flip the switch to “off” any quicker than the technological evolution that took us to this point where life is just so gosh darn convenient. (Yeah, I used some plastic at lunch, dammit.)

Or, from an even broader view: It’s always about carbon. The stuff of life, the stuff of death, the stuff of everything in between: carbon giveth and carbon taketh away. We just have to find the balance therein. (Ha, “just”…makes it sounds so easy. Like: Stop buying anything packed in plastic or styrofoam. Now. Good luck. I can’t even find a 4-cup replacement carafe that fits my still-working coffeemaker, so: Weeeeeee! Cheaper to buy a new plastic coffeemaker anyway!)

As if to drive home the point of our interconnected age, I think I was first turned to Burtynsky by a guy from overseas on the Killing Joke fan discussion list. And now those links above come via an art blog written by a guy in D.C. who comments frequently on a hockey site. Yeah, that’s all sort of “oooh, small world” cliche, but I can’t help marveling that this sort of information exchange didn’t happen in this way 20 years ago. As far as cultural shifts go, such free information flow is a little more significant than the development of microwavable popcorn.

Besides, it’s not every day that contemporary art, hockey and Killing Joke appear in the same sentence.


3 thoughts on “That Burtynsky guy”

  1. I just love The Internets.

    I can’t remember where I read this:

    5th grader says to dad, “Why do we have to go to school? The Internet knows so much more than my teachers will ever know.”

    Well, my guess is pretty soon you won’t have to go to school. But you sure as hell better have someone at home with you to help you navigate all the bullshit to get to the truth. Or not..

    Is there a book called Home-schooling For Dummies? Let me check the Internet..

    1. As I understand it, home schooling en masse would never take, because parents enjoy the free babysitting way too much. (Plus, they get to second-guess the babysitter when their child doesn’t get as charmed a grade as they feel he/she “clearly deserves.”

      “But he’s a very smart kid.”
      >>”Yes he is, which is why it’s so disappointing he didn’t lift a finger to actually do the work.”

  2. aahh, now it all makes sense. they never do and they never did pay ‘babysitters’ enough money.

    If I had a kid I’d home-school it, and for the socialization aspect I’d set up play-dates with other home-schooled kids. But we’d also live on a boat so they’d have no other choice.. they might just have to play with the dolphins and the albatross.

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