With the Drifters Project, Longobardi collects, documents, and transforms oceanic plastic into installations and photography. The work provides a visual statement about the engine of global consumption and the vast amounts of plastic objects and their impact on the world's most remote places and its creatures. Longobardi's work is framed within a conversation about globalism and conservation.
"In 2006, after discovering the mountainous piles of plastic debris the ocean was depositing on the remote shores of Hawaii, I began collecting and utilizing this plastic as my primary material in my project called Drifters. Since then, I have made scores of interventions, cleaning beaches and making collections from all over the world, removing thousands of pounds of material from the natural environment and re-situating it within the cultural context for examination. These collection missions are often done solo, as part of my process. I approach the sites as a forensic scientist, examining and documenting the deposition as it lay, collecting and identifying the evidence of the crime.
"Plastic objects are the cultural archeology of our time. These objects I see as a portrait of global late-capitalist consumer society, mirroring our desires, wishes, hubris and ingenuity. These are objects with unintended consequences that become transformed as they leave the quotidian world and collide with nature to be transformed, transported and regurgitated out of the shifting oceans. The ocean is communicating with us through the materials of our own making. The plastic elements initially seem attractive and innocuous, like toys, some with an eerie familiarity and some totally alien. At first, the plastic seems innocent and fun, but it is not. It is dangerous. We are remaking the world in plastic.
"In keeping with the movement of drift of these material artifacts, I prefer using them in a transitive form as installation. All of the work can be dismantled, reconfigured but nearly impossibly recycled. The objects are presented as specimens on steel pins or wired together to form larger structures. I am a conceptual artist with a strong affinity to materials and process. I was trained as a painter and printmaker, and continue this in my studio practice, but have always worked in varying mediums, from photography to painting, and collage to installation, allowing the ideas to dictate the materials I work with. I am interested in the collision between nature and global consumer culture. Ocean plastic is a material that can unleash unpredictable dynamics. I am interested in it in particular, as opposed to all garbage in general, because of what it reveals about us as a global culture and what it reveals about the ocean as a type of cultural space, as well as a giant dynamic engine of life and change. As a product of culture that exhibits visibly the attempts of nature to reabsorb and regurgitate this invader, ocean plastic has profound stories to tell." - Pam Longobardi
Longobardi will attend the exhibition's opening and be available to sign her book, Drifters: Plastics, Pollution and Personhood. Books will be available at Momentum Gallery for the duration of her exhibition.