Every living thing requires water. We humans interact with it in a myriad of ways, numerous times a day. But how often do we consider the complexity of that interaction? Watermark (2013), co-directed by Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky, is a feature documentary film that 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.
The story of Watermark is concerned with the 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 – amongst other watery landscapes. Shot in stunning 5K ultra high-definition video and full of soaring aerial perspectives, the film shows water as a terraforming element and the scale of its reach, as well as the magnitude of our need and use. This is balanced by forays into the particular, including the discovery of a pilgrim’s private ritual among at the water’s edge.
Directed by multiple award-winning filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal and renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky, Watermark is the third part of Burtynsky’s Water project, which includes a book Burtynsky: Water and a major photographic exhibition. This exhibition of Burtynsky’s photographs is presented by NOMA, New Orleans from 5 October 2013 to 19 January 2014 and at the Flowers Gallery, London from 16 October to 23 November 2013. The film Watermark will be debuted at Toronto International Film Festival.
1. Images copyright Edward Burtynsky, Courtesy of Flowers, London.