Waste Land

An artist (Vik Muniz) known for creating portraits out of a variety of materials returns to his native home of Brazil to photograph garbage. Vik hires waste pickers from the world’s largest landfill (Jardim Gramacho) to collect artifacts from the dump and lay them out on a warehouse floor so that they can be photographed. The photographs are eventually shown in a local museum and flown to London to be sold at auction.

This film is more about the lives of the pickers than it is about art. The pickers are given a chance to step outside of their unappreciated, low income lives and be part of an artist’s creative process.  After Vik leaves to go home, will the pickers be better off?  You’ll have to see the film and decide for yourself.

There was a documentary a few years back called ‘Manufactured Landscapes‘ that contained footage of enormous landfills in China.  Viewed from a distance, the color, scale and repetition of the waste was beautiful.  I really wish there were more landfills in the world, and that none of us recycled, because there would be more raw material to use for making art…

Venue: Seattle International Film Festival, 2010
Genre: Documentary
Country: Brazil, UK
Language: Portuguese, English