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A big cloud of blue smoke filling a green field of grass
Fig. 1

Documentation view of Hicham Berrada’s Celeste, 2014. Photo credit: Amandine Bajou. Courtesy of the artist and kamel mennour, Paris

The Ryerson Image Centre explores climate change in photography and video

Sep. 13, 2016

The Ryerson Image Centre explores one of the most pressing issues of our time: climate change. Opening Wednesday, September 14, with a party from 6 pm to 8 pm, The Edge of the Earth: Climate Change in Photography and Video presents recent and historic work by a range of pioneering and visionary artists from around the world. Also launching in conjunction with the exhibition, Climate Talks is an 8-episode video series featuring discussions between children and adults about their hopes, fears and failings as they confront a future impacted by climate change.

The Edge of the Earth features over 20 contemporary artists from Canada and abroad, including: Amy Balkin, Raymond Boisjoly, Edward Burtynsky, Peter Goin, Naoya Hatakeyama, Isabelle Hayeur, Mishka Henner, Chris Jordan, Richard Misrach, Evariste Richer, Joel Sternfeld and Sharon Stewart. Photographs from the RIC’s famed Black Star Collection will also be on view, providing historical context alongside these artistic reflections. This environmental photojournalism serves as a totem of a neglected prophecy, forewarning a slowly unfolding disaster.

The exhibition questions traditional views and challenges our environmental consciousness, proceeding from the conviction that we have entered the Anthropocene – the era marked by total human domination of the planet. Guest curated by Montreal-based art historian Dr. Benedicte Ramade, this in-depth exhibition fosters a reconsideration of climate change, envisioning the present crises and future consequences of humanity’s harsh imprint on the planet. To accompany The Edge of the Earth, the RIC is pleased to partner with Black Dog Publishing to present a large-format book with critical texts by Dr. Benedicte Ramade and T. J. Demos.

“We need to renew our approach to climate change,” says Dr. Ramade. “Since climate change is by nature disproportionate, it often overwhelms our understanding of scale and impact, becoming virtually impossible to visualize. Art is certainly one of the most powerful mediators for changing our vision.”

Created by Toronto-based art collective Madeleine Co., Climate Talks brings honesty, humour and refreshing candour into a deeply polarizing discussion around the impending threat faced by future generations. Most importantly, it starts a new conversation – one that bridges the opportunity for youth and adults to act together to face climate change. The documentary series features children age 9-12 from Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood leading intimate conversations with adults – from their parents and teachers, to artists, activists and politicians, including renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky, Canadian MP Julie Dzerowicz and Toronto city councillor Gord Perks.

On view from September 14 to December 4, 2016, The Edge of the Earth is generously supported by Cineplex Media and Invesco, and by media sponsors Toronto Life and Toronto Star. Climate Talks is made possible with generous support from the City of Toronto through Toronto Arts Council and ArtReach Toronto.

Also on view from September 14 to October 23, 2016 in the RIC Student Gallery is Elisa Gonzalez & Daniel Froidevaux: The Quiet Zone. This two-channel video installation calls attention to the visible and audible evidence of both the electro-sensitive and scientific communities’ attempts to control, mitigate and record the radio environment.