Film Night: Waste Land

Andrew Cobb organised a screening of Waste Land on Friday. Waste Land documents contemporary artist Vik Muniz’s return to his home of country of Brazil to share the experience of creating art with the pickers of the worlds largest landfill.

This film is a fascinating look at the impact of art on all walks of life. It can be controversial at times, with topics touching on exploitation, showing people worlds they can not easily work to get to, and what it means to “help” people.

Hopefully it will serve as a good incubator for ideas about what the importance of art is in communities and what that means for 19 Tory St or just be a fun evening to chat and meet folks! The screening was followed by an energetic discussion: which Andrew summarizes below:

Thanks to everyone that made it out to see the film. It was amazing to feel the energy being shared during the discussion afterward. Here are a few notes from the post Waste Land film night discussion. Sorry if I did not capture all of the great ideas and topics of the discussion. Please feel free to add what you heard or felt…and correct anything I might have misinterpreted.

  • Some interest in taking photos of homeless in Wellington and selling them with the intention of the proceeds benefiting the people in the photos.
  • Homeless should be heard, just as the pickers wanted the world to have a greater awareness of who they are and what they are doing
  • Talking adds to the global consciousness
  • Impossible to fully inclusive, instead focus on what is right for us and be open to those who want to participate
  • It’s ok to speak and share what you believe in, even in situations like parties or bars. Although, be careful with this, because if you do it too much or are too forceful in your ideas, then you will end up pissing folks off and loosing friends!
  • Understanding and acceptance is something that comes from experience. It is not necessarily said or read about, but instead is felt once you work together. The example of this was the pickers not understanding what Vik was doing, and Vik not understanding who the pickers were, but by they end of it they had a deep respect for each other after working side by side to create beautiful works of art.
  • There is interest in having more face to face discussions at 19 Tory St. Being in the presence of others is a richer experience than posting on a Facebook wall.
  • There is interest in deciding how to regulate each other in discussions at 19 Tory St. In some cultures, if people get out of line or are disruptive in a community event/meeting, they are immediately called out. The culture of New Zealand is not in tune with that, but some people during this discussion felt that the space should be open to allowing this. If the group feels that someone is being disruptive, then there should be a process for dealing with them immediately, so that a healthy discussion can continue.
  • The people of 19 Tory St have their own culture, and that should be celebrated and acknowledged because if it is not, then the group could easily break apart with one strong willed people trying to enforce their views upon the group.
  • One description offered up of 19 Tory St was that it could explore social issues through art that is fun and empowering.
  • There was discussion about process vs intention. Should we have a clear list of intentions for the space and group, or should it be more about creating a process that is in line with the values of the group. An example of process might be respecting each other and an example of intention might be openness. Intension was said to be stagnant and restrictive yet more clear. Process is less clear but allows for intensions to evolve organically.
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