Film dives into a world of water controversy

Watermark: Trajectories explores the issues that stem from human interference in water processes

Out of all the forces in the world, water is the most coveted and awe-inspiring of them all.

It’s the relationship between mankind and water that the aesthetically stunning 2013 documentary Watermark: Trajectories explores.

The documentary, directed by Canadian Edward Burtynsky and Jennifer Baichwal, was held at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (AEAC) on Thursday.

This visual masterpiece explores our multifaceted relationship to this force of nature and the reciprocal nature of the connection between human beings and water.

Delving into this connection, the film reveals that there’s an interplay between technology and nature, in the fact that while nature and water shape our lives, we in turn shape water.

This interplay has generated consequences both good and bad.

Travelling across the globe, the film brings together different stories from the floating abalone farms off China’s Fujian coast where water has become known as a scarce resource.

This was compared to the construction site of the biggest arch dam in the world, the Xiluodu, where mankind has shown their prowess in shaping and disrupting the natural cycle of nature in order to bring about technological marvels.

In Colorado, we’re shown the desert delta where the Colorado River has dried up and has resulted in a barren wasteland.

Using a juxtaposition of utopian and dystopian images, the documentary highlights the beauty and majesty of nature and water before people interfered and tried to alter the natural cycles.

A contrast is then made with images of technological marvels such as dams, artificial water fronts and tannery factories that release chemicals and toxins into the water, changing the very nature of water and what it’s meant to be used for.

The film demonstrates that for the first time since mankind began, we’re now in a position where we’re no longer just passive observers of nature.

Instead, we now have the capacities and abilities to interfere with its natural cycle and harness its power for our own purposes.

The documentary subtly cautions us that the negative aftereffects we’re facing today are a result of human interference in the natural water processes.


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