Wasteland discussion questions

Wasteland on Vik Muniz’s journey to Rio de Janeiro was about people who worked on trash picking, which they recycled those reusable materials and reassembled the waste. In Brazil, the problem of decomposing garbage has been a problem, as they took up the land available and were hard to decompose. Those trash pickers in the documentary are from the Brazilian working class and make a living through this job.
To reflect on the documentary, I would like to raise two discussion questions: How did the trash picking job change the people in the documentary? What is the impact of Vik Muniz’s photography project domestically and internationally? The participants of the documentary are from working class and live in favelas outside of Rio de Janeiro. Some of them experienced unemployment in the whole family, and this job gave them a way to support their daily life as their job. Some of them were in poverty as single mothers, and this job provided an opportunity to change their lives, as they did not need to be involved in prostitution. For the head of the organization, reallocating the waste and recycle the materials would help the environment and make use of more land available, so it would not be taken by the trash. The trash picking job overall granted the characters opportunities to change their environment, and their life, which they could make a living through the job and this career gave them another option over drug trafficking or prostitution.
Vik Muniz’s photography utilized trash for aesthetic values initially as most of them went into waste. Nevertheless, by taking pictures of trash pickers, they revealed their struggles and raised audiences’ awareness of reallocating waste. The organization started for this was doubted by the mass on the effectiveness of the environmentally friendly behavior, but after the photos and artworks were displayed in Brazil and even globally, waste allocation and working class people were more present in the media, which as a result brought more attention to the Brazilians. Vik Muniz also gained higher recognition in art internationally.