Posted in Uncategorized, tagged audi, bike, biking, brasil, brazil, bycycle, cornish, electricity, incarceration, jail, prison, prisoner, sentence reduction on July 16, 2012 |
Leave a Comment »
An Associated Press story on an “innovative program that allows inmates to reduce their sentences in exchange for generating power” caught the attention of NPR today. It seems that prisoners may volunteer to help “illuminate the town of Santa Rita do Sapucai [Brazil] at night.
“By pedaling, the inmates charge a battery that powers 10 street lamps along a riverside promenade. For every three eight-hour days they spend on the bikes, [the volunteers] get one day shaved off their sentences.
“The project in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais is one of several across Brazil meant to cut recidivism by helping restore an inmate’s sense of self-worth. Prisoners elsewhere can trim their sentences by reading sentences — in books — or taking classes.
“Officials say they’ve heard a few complaints the initiatives are soft on criminals, but there’s been little criticism in the country’s press or in other public forums.” Read more at National Public Radio.
Here is what such a bike might look like.
Photograph: Eric Luse, The Chronicle / San Francisco
Read Full Post »
Posted in Uncategorized, tagged art, art gallery, artist, brasil, brazil, film, garbage picker, healing, marwencol, movie, netflix, poor, poverty, psychology, recyclable, recycled, vik muniz, waste land on June 12, 2011 |
We watched a couple unusual documentaries last night and last weekend. Often by the time films are available on Netflix, all I remember about the review is that someone highly recommended them. I know only that we will get a big surprise.
“Marwencol” and “Waste Land” were amazing surprises. They turned out to have something in common, too — the idea that art can lift people from despair, help them see things in a way that opens up their world. What was different between the movies was that for the troubled guy who created art in “Marwencol,” showing his work in a NYC gallery is quite beside the point of his healing process and probably the last thing he needs.
The movie is beautifully executed, but one has the sense that the young filmmakers who think the protagonist will benefit from the big-time art world don’t understand psychology very well.
The protagonist of “Waste Land,” successful Brazilian artist Vik Muniz, although equally idealistic, understands his subjects better, having experienced a life similar to theirs in his impoverished childhood. He decides to combine an art project with helping “garbage pickers” in the world’s biggest landfill, in Rio. Getting to know a few of the workers really well, he develops tremendous admiration for them and their deep dignity. He pays a few to work with him on giant portraits on themselves, portraits that play on the themes of some famous paintings. They use recyclables to complete the images, which are then photographed and shown in galleries and at auction. The proceeds come back to the people and help them both individually and collectively.
But the biggest transformation is not monetary but rather what Vik anticipated based on his own life experience — that by seeing things in a new way, they would get new ideas about themselves and their possibilities.
Read Full Post »