TEXTS


Drain Magazine  The Ocean Gleaner:  Feature Artist Interview  by Celina Jeffery

Hyperallergic One Artists Quest to Turn Beach Plastic into Art by Ben Valentine

Sculpture Magazine Terrible Beauty:  A Conversation With Pam Longobardi  by Sally Hansel

SIERRA Magazine Look. Look Again. Do Something. commission for cover,  Spout:  The Finer Side of Flotsam by Steve Hawk and Can Art Schools Save the Planet? by Amy Westervelt

VOGUE Magazine People are Talking About: American Beauty by Kate Guadagnino

Wall Street Journal The State of  ‘State of the Art’ by Peter Plagens

Emerging Infectious Diseases Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach by Byron Breedlove

JStor Daily Artists Respond to Plastic Pollution by Ellen Caldwell

National Geographic NewsWatch The Mirror of Armila by Pam Longobardi and Carl Safina

National Geographic Magazine NEXT: Current Work by Margaret G. Zackowitz

National Geographic Film GYRE: Creating Art from the Plastic Ocean by Dudes on Media

National Geographic Newswatch Filmmakers Document the Weirdness of Marine Garbage on GYRE Expedition by Brian Clark Howard

New American Paintings GYRE: The Plastic Ocean at Anchorage Museum by Ellen Caldwell

Art in America Pam Longobardi by Stephanie Cash

Smithsonian Magazine Artists Join Scientists on an Expedition to Collect Marine Debris by Vicky Gan

City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs Artist Spotlight Interview by Iman Person

ArtsATL   Seductive Warnings on Murder by Plastic by Dinah McClintock

ArtsATL Longobardi Uses Art to Seduce Viewers to Awareness of Ocean Crisis by Stephanie Cash

Burnaway  Pam Longobardi Confronts the Anthropocene by Tom Berlangero

Podcast with Ocean Allison  https://www.podcat.com/podcasts/7qmaxc-ocean-allison-podcast/episodes/3coygq-pam-longobardi-plastic-pollution-artist-and-activist

Burnaway Shows Tackle Eco-Abuse by Amanda Arnold

Eidé Magazine  The Savant Issue ‘Portrait in Plastic’ by Jessica Hough

SciArt in America Functional Art and Water Science by West Marrin

NPR / WABE Using Beauty as a Weapon Atlanta Artist Wins $50,000 Prize by Catherine Mullins

MotherNatureNetwork Plastic Collecting Artist Wins Prestigious $50,000 Prize by Laura Moss

Ocean Heroes http://gogreenforblue.blogspot.com/

Atlanta JournalConstitution Prize-winning artist’s work on display

Hudgens Center for the Arts http://thehudgens.org/the-hudgens-prize/2013-hudgens-prize-winner/

Radio Interview on ARTSPEAK  http://burnaway.org/artspeak-pam-longobardis-drifters-project/

Got2BeGreen Material Drift, A Well-Travelled Exhibition by Amanda Sandos

MOM Culture  Pam Longobardi -Artist by Lenore Moritz

Harmony  Flotsam & Jetsam by Deborah Moss

Mapping the Marvelous   OCEANOMANIA book, Mark Dion project Monaco  by Marion Endt-Jones

Feature article DRAIN magazine Supernature 
Convergence Zone:  The Aesthetics and Politics of the Ocean in Contemporary Art and Photography by Abigail Susik

Article in Fiber Arts
Creative Flow:  Three Activist Artists by Sally Hansell

PROLIFIC magazine profile
Seeing What Others Don’t  by Ryan Keane

Drift Surfing  Fragile Beauty by Rebecca Godson

Coastal Living  We Salute Coastal Hero Pam Longobardi by Sarah Latta

Catalog essay for Berlin SAVVY Contemporary exhibition                                                                                                              The Social Life of Pam Longobardi’s Drifters Project by Joey Orr

“…even though from a  theoretical point of view human actors encode things with significance, from a  methodological point of view it is the things-in-motion that illuminate their human and social context.” Arjun Appadurai, The Social Life of Things

In his introduction to The Social Life of Things, Arjun Appadurai explains that the commodity is not a kind of thing, but rather a phase in the career of certain things. As part of her field work, Pam Longobardi rescues objects that have moved out of their commodity phase in order to counter their environmental harm: she removes plastic that has washed up from the ocean. In her Drifters project, she reintroduces these objects into the flow of cultural exchange: she exhibits photo-documentation and installs sculptural forms and environments made from the objects themselves.

The arrival of Longobardi’s work into spaces of cultural exchange is, of course, a new phase in the life of these often toxic objects as transformed commodities. The materials have already been produced and consumed within a system of economic and human value exchange, but the environment has reproduced them with different formal and signifying qualities, which the artist uses as a commentary on global capitalism for our visual and intellectual consumption. The project is recursive in the sense that this second phase of commodity exchange is meant to inform the future first phases of consumption, endowing the work with a strong activist tenor. But for the purposes of an exhibition document, the question becomes: how does this second commodity phase function as art?

Is it some kind of trash art? Should we look back to Kurt Schwitters and other Dada artists for early appropriations of non-art materials? Do we align Longobardi’s Drifters Project with movements like arte povera or histories of anti-aestheticism? Or does the work signal new formulations like artistic research? If so, what does the exhibitionary phase of these things-in-motion illuminate about our human and social context? This is a question about the potential for knowledge claims in the field of contemporary art production, and indeed Longobardi refers to herself variously as a field worker collecting evidence and a forensic scientist.

If we are going to make an epistemic claim, then what does the art know? Or, rather, what does the artist know having engaged in the process of art making? Perhaps there is a kind of non-discursive knowledge gathered through the objects about the ocean and also about our own inventiveness and desires, or about the tensions between the circulation of commodities through cultural and economic networks and through natural processes. But epistemic claims are the result of particular sets of practices that produce them. In this case, the methods include excavations on the borderlands of water worlds and land and the examination of symbolic and material relationships. Through this second phase of exchange the commodities return with a deeply ambivalent status, a familiar commentary on modernity at least since World War I. But, contemporary artistic and hybrid work might also create new kinds of knowledge that reflect our humanity in both its toxic and rejuvenating forms. This is finally captured by the uncanny objects themselves whose deep unfamiliarity and dark strangeness turn out to be nothing less than the archaeological remnants of our own presence on the earth.

Joey Orr is Arts and Sciences Fellow at Emory University and editor at Journal of Artistic Research