My prose-y response to a new Edward Burtynsky exhibit.

Oil Spill #10

Words by JILL ENSLEY. All photographs copyright EDWARD BURTYNKSY.

The Scars of Our Connections: Edward Burtynsky’s ‘Water’

As a Gulf Coast resident, it’s not easy to look at “Oil Spill #10,” (above).   The photograph’s deceptive beauty comes from its vibrant, emerald water streaked with jagged rivulets of black oil.  Taken out of context, it could be a close up of of raw gemstone, yet the horizon gives it away, pushes you back and you see the quiet horror of our collective actions–or inactions–in those dark rivers.  Personally, living in Louisiana, on the Gulf Coast, it’s hard not to go into Edward Burtynsky’s new exhibition of photography, Water, without preconceived notions about oil and water, the result of being surrounded by each one, both threatened and sustained by each.  It’s hard not to view such industry with a critical eye when you live so close to the largest man-made environmental disaster the United States has ever seen.  Yet, most of the world lives near water, it’s human nature, it’s survival, it’s necessary, it’s primal.  And unlike oil, we need it to live.  That’s the uneasy part of the work, of nearly all of Edward Burtynsky’s catalog, his “inverted sublime” worlds, the upside down-ness of resource mining on a grand scale. Water simply brings us to the new frontier, the new commodity and future industrialization and scarcity of the very resource that covers 70% of our planet.  There are companies at this very moment looking into the logistics of shipping pure Icelandic water–from melting glaciers, no less–to areas that have tainted their own supply.  According to UNESCO, “By 2025, an estimated 60 percent of the world’s population will live in water-stressed conditions, and a similar proportion will be without adequate sanitation.”  This is the next big business.

Read full response at Southern Glossary…

“Water runs concurrently at the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Contemporary Arts Center through January 19th, 2014.

Can’t make it to see the exhibit in person?  There’s an app for that.”

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The Museum of Jurassic Technology Is A Dark And Wonderous Place

Way back in the early, early 2000’s, I worked for an adult entertainment company in the wilds of Culver City (Los Angeles), CA.  That’s another story for another time, but no, I was not a performer.  It was much more mundane than that.

HOWEVER, I did work nearly across the street from the Museum of Jurassic Technology.  I passed it at least twice a week on my lunchtime walks and never actually went in.  I was always curious, but for some reason there always seemed to be “time to do that later”  Well, later came in 2010 on a return trip to visit friends and remind myself (once again) why I do not live in Los Angeles anymore (again, another story).  I’m a little mad at myself for passing it by all those years, but am very glad I have friends that made me finally go.

I’ve heard it described as “if David Lynch had a museum” and that seems pretty accurate.  It’s full of antiquated bits of “technology” (though not in the modern sense of the word), meshed with folklore, mythology, a tinge of religious zealotry, and the absolute mysterious.  You’re never quite sure what is truth and what is fiction.  Glimmers of facts shine through the descriptions and exhibits on occasion, only to leave you confounded by the next installation.  It’s a healthy mixture of art, science, myth, and history, sometimes all at once.

We missed having tea in the tea room, as we went just before closing, but I vow to go back next time and spend more time perusing and taking it all in.

**I have also just noticed that they do not want photos to be taken in the museum.  I was honestly not aware of this and a quick web search reveals I am not the only one.  In sharing these, my only intention is to spark interest and share some interesting visual images that I have let linger on a hard drive for far too long. bells&wheels3WEBbells&wheels2WEBprojection1WEB projection3WEBprojection2WEBimplosionexplosionWEB mjt_curtainprojectionmjt_globes1mjt_globes2 minipopeWEB mininapoleonWEB minigoofyWEB minigardenWEB minicamperWEBradiograph1WEB mjt_rabbit1

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The pole outside of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art with the CAC in the background (plus a little addition ;).  See y’all tomorrow night, August 4th, for White Linen Night!  6-9pm 925 Camp St., New Orleans, LA.