Film screening and discussion: Wasteland


When: Tuesday 3rd of February 2015, 18:30 hrs
Where: The Lock Keeper’s Cottage
Sponsored by CGR (in collaboration with CRED)
Waste Land is a remarkable oscar-nominated documentary by director Lucy Walker that puts on public view the realities of waste-pickers in Jardim Gramacho (one of the biggest rubbish dump in the world) in Rio de Janeiro. Following the work of one of the most influential Brazilian contemporary artist, Vik Muniz, Lucy explores the impact that art could have on the lives of people who spend their entire lives salvaging recyclable material from a landfill. The journey inevitably puts on show the working conditions in which more than 3000 people are exposed to on a daily basis; the threat that this poses on their health and safety and the failed dreams and broken aspirations of individuals who are often marginalised and ‘discarded’ from an increasingly unequal Brazilian society. 

The uplifting power of the messages conveyed in the documentary and the ever optimistic approach of Muniz’s to his art and to his intervention in Jardim Gramacho raise questions as to what extent the documentary is an exploitative mechanism to make Muniz more famous? or how much his artwork can really change the social conditions of the waster-pickers’ community without messing up their lives in the process? 

Rubbish turned into art to be collected by the rich European elite, undoubtedly a bold adventure. Aesthetically, a masterpiece!



Light refreshments will be served and the film will be followed by a discussion.

Questions for debate

1. Does art really have the power to bring about social change?
2. Intervene or not intervene?

Please address all queries to Gynna: g.f.millanfranco@qmul.ac.uk

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