I have had the pleasure of watching the documentary Wasteland before, and it was even more rewarding viewing it a second time. The story is truly compelling and very much evolves through out its narration.
Like many artists, Vic Muniz gains some notoriety from a project creating the portraits of impoverished children out of sugar. He is then able to travel back home to his native Brazil to begin his next project, which is what the movie documents. Vic is fascinated by the massive landfill Jardim Gramacho, just outside of Rio De Janeiro, and the people who live and work in the surrounding trash-scape. These collectors often take out and sort through 200 tons of garbage per day. That would be like sorting through the trash of a 200 person city!
Once he is able to meet and hear these people’s stories, Muniz becomes even more fascinated with the working residents of Jardim Gramacho. Now he knows what his subject will be. He takes their photos then projects them onto a huge warehouse floor. Then the residents use the trash that they collect and dig through for a living to create a giant collage type mural, that will only last in a picture. It becomes apparent quick that this project is not just about the final outcome, it is about the experience of working and collaborating with people of different backgrounds.
Not only does the project allow for collaborative efforts between rarely congruent worlds, it offers these fringe peoples the opportunity to participate in a culture and part of society that is aesthetically acceptable. The truly emotive experiences is watching them react to their pieces in a museum. I featured the piece of Tia, who was an elder lady that had spent the majority of her life in the landfill. Especially at that scale and in its unfinished state, I think it is an impressively colorful piece full of texture.