Art in a Waste Land

Last week Jake gave us all of the Ethnotek Bags' eco-friendly gossip from Vietnam. That was fun, and oh-so-cool. We were inspired and all fired up about the recent eco news straight from the source in the sample room. And then, the Tribe Scribe taught us all a lesson about the notion of 'Less Stuff, More Happiness'. Man, has the Tribe been getting schooled lately, or what?! We're doing our best. Along the lines of these insightful posts, I wanted to share with you a thought-provoking documentary called 'WASTE LAND'. Two words: watch it. And one more, NOW. Watch it NOW.


This film offers stirring evidence in the transformative power of art and the alchemy of the human spirit. Filmed over nearly three years, 'WASTE LAND' follows renowned artist Vik Muniz as he journeys from his home base in Brooklyn to his native Brazil and the world's largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. There he photographs an eclectic band of "catadores" - or self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Muniz's initial objective was to "paint" the catadores with garbage. However, his collaboration with these inspiring characters as they recreate photographic images of themselves out of garbage reveals both dignity and despair as the catadores begin to re-imagine their lives. Walker has great access to the entire process and, in the end, offers stirring evidence of the transformative power of art and the alchemy of the human spirit.

To me, this film told a beautiful story. A story about humanity and spirit and the fact that a little bit of hope can go a long way. It also told a story of community and connectedness, and the power thereof. Lastly, the power of art...the way it brings people together and makes people think. Hard. This is just breath-stealing. Don't you think? The fact that you can find extreme beauty and hope in the least likely of places...that's what gets me. I just love this message.

And, among all of these good vibes...a little adrenaline (not the good kind) was coursing through my veins as I marveled over the heinous amount of waste in that garbage dump. We produced that waste. Doesn't that just blow your mind?! I can't be the only one who feels this way. It's a call to action for me, in a way...a very simple one at that: consume less.

A bit of a side (though related) note, I’ve been on a massive documentary kick lately, and have watched some amazing films…here are a few favorites (I recommend all of ‘em) of the recent doc kick:

The Human Experience

I AM

180 Degrees South

The Happy Movie

If you have a favorite documentary, please feel free to share with us. In the meantime, remember (and use/abuse) the three Rs (if it helps, you can listen to the Jack Johnson tune):

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, 

Tribe Scribe

October 18, 2012 by Tribe Scribe
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