by Julie Steinberg
In director Lucy Walker’s documentary “Waste Land,” Brooklyn-based artist Vik Muniz returns to his native Brazil to see how his life could have ended up. He photographs a group of catadores – garbage-pickers who fish out recyclables at the world’s largest garbage dump – amongst the refuse everyone else has thrown away... The film premiered at Sundance and has won multiple audience awards since then.
The Wall Street Journal: Tell me about the collaboration between you and Vik on this project.
Lucy Walker: We were introduced by a friend. I had been a huge fan before and had seen his work in New York museums. The collaboration was a question of what the film was going to be. I had been obsessed with garbage for ten years. I had met a woman named Robin Nagle, who teaches a PhD seminar at NYU on garbage. I sat in her on her class and we went to visit Fresh Kills landfill. I thought it was such an amazing place. There was this crazy landscape with glass poking up and plastic bags, but it was a horrifying realization that everything we throw away comes to this place.