Recycling is a way of life in Cateura, Paraguay. Many people there earn money by scouring the huge landfill for items that can be recycled. A certain garbage picker, though, began recycling for much more than money: for the young people in his community. Nicolás Gómez began creating instruments – violins, cellos, drums, guitars – from the trash he sifted through and gave them to local children. The idea picked up steam and children’s orchestra known as “The Recycled Orchestra” came to life. Landfill Harmonic, a documentary on Gómez and the orchestra, is slated to capture the inspirational story. [via]
Over the weekend I had the pleasure of dropping by my neighborhood museum, the Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA), to check out new work by Guillermo Bert. The digital age has managed to find its way into places the mechanical age was never quite able to get to. In the exhibition’s accompanying essay, Peter Frank claims that this phenomenon has resulted in the poor becoming “confident operators” of this advanced technology. Of course accessibility is a good thing, but one can also argue that the arrival of this kind of technology can also put indigenous culture and tradition at risk. By combining QR Code technology with the very traditional art of textile weaving, Bert is bringing this infiltration of culture to the surface. The codes, when scanned with your mobile device, play one of a series of documentary films that contain several engaging protagonists who help unfold the story of the Mapuche people. Throughout history, textiles have been used by indigenous cultures to pass on the story of a culture from generation to generation. Perhaps Bert’s “encoded textiles” are a strange evolution of that tradition.
James Loveday’s project about the people who use Craigslist documents who they are, why they respond to the ads and what eventually happens when they get in front of the camera.
Over a period of several months James placed adverts on Craigslist offering a free portrait to anyone who wanted to come by my studio in Brooklyn and have it taken. Each time a person would come, he’d have everything set up and take their portraits. Some people would show up ready, knowing what to wear and what they wanted, others had a vague idea of getting famous and wanted to have pictures of themselves for their future careers as actors and models and some people were just intrigued, or bored.
Everyone filled out a questionnaire about themselves and why they wanted to be a part of the project. Their answers are included with their photo.
Undercity is a great short documentary that takes you on a ride through NYC subways, Amtrak tunnels, sewers and even to the top of the Williamsburg bridge. I’ve spent my fair share of time exploring abandoned warehouses, factories, and subway tunnels so this video was like a walk down memory lane. I’m not sure if it’s a guy thing but there is something amazing about going to places that you’re not supposed to go and exploring decaying structures that most people have forgot. Put aside the next 27:54 minutes of your day and explore NYC like you’ve never done before.
Brittany App is a photographer, avid travellist and life catalyst. Although she hails from in and around the central coast of California, Brittany is always on the move whether it be by plane, boat or bicycle. This image maker is full of life and the vibrancy she exudes is reflected directly back into her images via the welcoming faces of the people she photographs, such as the faces shown here from her London series. You can follow Brittany’s latest photo-documentary project as she prepares for her coast-to-coast bicycle tour – scheduled for the fall – in effort to raise money for her favorite charity, Water Aid.
“OPEN YOUR MOUTH AND SAY… MR. CHI PIG”, takes a look at the personal life of Kendall Chinn, AKA Mr. Chi Pig, singer of legendary punk band SNFU. The film documents the journey from Kendall’s troubled youth in Edmonton, Alberta to playing in front of thousands. The film recounts Kendall’s battles with mental disorders and drug addiction and their impact on his art. Open Your Mouth And Say… Mr. Chi Pig is a story of a man who impacted so many lives and his attempt to change his own life.
This doc has the feel of sitting and having a beer with some of the biggest names in the music industry as they recount tales of Mr. Chi Pig and his story so far. After more than 30 years of mental illness, drug addiction and punk rock, Mr. Chi Pig is back to take one last crack at success. Featuring interviews with Kendall Chinn, Jello Biafra and many other punk legends.
Amos Coal Power Plant, Raymond, West Virginia 2004
Massachusetts-born photographer Mitch Epstein has been documenting life in America since the early 1970s. As Rachel Esner says, “much of Mitch Epstein’s work is…a reflection on America, on American values and ideology, on America’s place in the world today. It is the formal and associative elements in Epstein’s images that lift them to a higher plane. These are not documents in the strict sense, because they transcend and reinvent the objects photographed and in the process invest them with symbolic meaning.” Well said, Ms. Esner.