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Vik Muniz's Award-Winning DVD, Waste Land.

By       Message Gentry L Rowsey     Permalink
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Once upon a time there was an excellent contemporary Brazilian artist who did his thing for the largest garbage dump in the world, which is located outside Rio de Janeiro, and for Hollywood, which is not, and the result of Vik Muniz's efforts became a prize-winning DVD called Waste Land (released in 2010 and available at Netflix). I've watched it twice and I'm here to say it is something, something which probably warrants watching more than twice.


I'm also here to say that the clincher quotation from the DVD for me - "99 is not 100" -- a quotation from an old man of the dump who spent 23 years picking salvage from refuse before cancer got him -- not only applies to recyclable waste selection but to the almost insurmountable difficulties we face in dealing with money and power unleashed by widespread awareness of The End, which several of us still have faith may be stoppable before it ends humanity on Earth. I mention this because it was the realization that this movie was a new and original way to admonish the wealthy to wake-the-hell up to the difficulties facing us all that really caught my attention.

As of today's date, Vik Muniz is the fourth most-viewed artist of the 300 listed at Artnet online.

Vik is not only Brazilian, and the grown child of a lower middle-class family in Brazil, he's extremely up on the history of modern art. But most important, Vik was capable of bestowing instantaneous fame and riches on a previously anonymous, ex-labor-leader, a Brazilian "garbage-picker" named Tiao Santos who is the real star of the movie; and Vik took the time to do just that.

Santos was also the subject for Muniz's picture of Marat Sade murdered in his bathtub, see above.

Finally, since my powers are failing me so spectacularly now -- and my ability to locate artworks at Artnet online has diminished so much -- I won't waste time trying to include in this article artworks by Muniz which were not produced in the course of making Waste Land. Instead, I'll leave it to you, gentle readers, to find your fave works from the DVD and include them with your comments to this article, should you be so inclined.

And as some blankedy-blank artist might say in closing:

TA ! ! !


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I have a law degree (Stanford, 66') but have never practiced. Instead, from 1967 through 1977, I tried to contribute to the revolution in America. As unsuccessful as everyone else over that decade, in 1978 I went to work for the U.S. Forest (more...)
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