Oviatt exhibits “Drifters: Plastics, Pollution, Personhood” artwork

Aimee Lastrella

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The Oviatt Library presentation room was filled with drift garbage Wednesday.

CSUN students and staff gathered to hear and see the artwork and discussion of artist and Georgia State University Professor, Pam Longobari.

Longobari spoke about her recent artworks and project called “Drifters: Plastics, Pollution, Personhood.” The presentation exhibited her artwork through a PowerPoint slideshow creating a relationship between biology and art, which Longobari also has a degree in.

The Institute for Sustainability and the Graduate Studies Program sponsored the event, said Sarah Johnson, administrative analyst and part of the event planning team.

“The event went really well,” Johnson said. “We are really happy with the turnout and I feel the presentation was really powerful.”

David Zeetser, 22, an urban studies major agreed with Johnson about the presentation.

“I think her artwork is interesting,” Zeetser said. “The fact that she is taking garbage that was washed up on shore and making it into a form of self-expression that encourages an awareness and discussion is artwork in itself.”

Longobari used a multitude of materials and mediums ranging from paintings, installations and photography,  said Helen Cox, director of the Institute for Sustainability, as she introduced Longabari.

“I feel as though I am a conceptual artist,” Longobari said. “I get the message through my materials.”

She exhibited this through her numerous pieces that were shown among her slides and the discussion, as she took the audience through her journey  reflecting back to her childhood and memories with her parents.

“I remember when my father was cleaning out the house and he gave me the diary I had when I was 12,” Longobari said. “I was looking back and I came across an entry from Thanksgiving 1970, where I wrote the three things that I was thankful for, (which) were my house, animals and nature.”

Longabari said that while reading over her entries she realized her house was the planet.

“I’ve found some of my inspiration through reading scientific journals,” Longobari said when describing the marriage of science to conceptual art.

She gave an example in further detail about the Drifters project, when discussing the North Pacific Gyre and The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

“Being an artist you are drawn to bright colors,” Longobari said about her trip to Green Sand Beach in Hawaii, located at South Point. “As I was walking closer, I noticed that all of these bright colors were plastic materials being spit out from the ocean.”

Longobari said she went further into the study of the Gyre and found the size of this “plastic continent” is equal to the size of the U.S. and how plastic is not biodegradable.

She said her project started as simple documentation.

“It seemed as it (the garbage) was already installed,” Longobardi  said. “I would document the area, then do a cleaning. I would carry as much as I could carry.”

Her works range from toy car tires, hairbrushes, combs, child teacups, and numerous pieces of melted and morphed pieces of plastic.

“It’s something we need to care about,” Longobardi said. “We do not intend for it (plastic) to have an afterlife, but it does. We can blame fishermen for their nets, but it’s really us and our things that is out there in the ocean.”