Hoarders, Gleaners & Dumpster Divers: Sustainable Practices for Modern Life?

Hoarders, Gleaners & Dumpster Divers: Sustainable Practices for Modern Life?

Rachael Grad
Aug 17, 2009

Continuing our obsession with hoarders, we recently watched Agnes Varda's documentary film "The Gleaners and I." Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers' fields after the harvest. The film examines this long-standing rural tradition and the transformation of gleaning to urban environments. Shown here is "The Gleaners" by Jean-Francois Millet (left) - which Agnes Varda discusses in the film - and a modern interpretation of the painting made before 2001 (right). More info on "The Gleaners and I" below the jump...

In the documentary, Agnes Varda interviews rural people who feed themselves from the leftovers of big agriculture, which dump food like potatoes by the roadside. She also features urban gleaners who dumpster dive and stake out supermarkets, restaurants, and wealthy neighborhoods. These people both feed themselves and pick up household items and furniture for resale in the city. Many turn into hoarders of discarded goods,and remind us of Song Dong's hoarder mother (the contents of her house are currently on view at The Museum of Modern Art). We were fascinated by the film's examination of the rural gleaning tradition and its mutation to urban life. Have you seen "The Gleaners and I"?
More information on gleaners and hoarders:
Gleaning from Wikipedia
"The Gleaners and I" film entry at IMDb
• watch Agnes Varda discussing the film on YouTube
Hoarder Horror Stories = Motivation to Clean
"Waste Not" by Song Dong at The Museum of Modern Art

(Images: montages via CityFood)

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