Employing the poor to make art with the trash of the wealthy

  • Sumo

First-generation American immigrant artist Vik Muniz’s recent art-social project has been documented in the film Waste Land (2010). His idea was to photograph Rio’s garbage pickers and then to employ them to make art by arranging refuse items into patterns that recreated their own portraits. Photograph prints of the arrangements of trash-likenesses are being sold with some of the proceeds going to help these particular garbage pickers. Muniz hopes that the gap created between self and knowledge by this experience shows how art can change what is possible. This process is an example of how the dialectic of form and content can be used to show that the human experience is both aesthetic and political.