As part of the Ephemeral Coast series of exhibitions and events, Oceans: Surface/Below presents the work of United States-based artists Pam Longobardi and Diana Heise.
Both artists use environmental mapping to consider the effects of plastic contamination, industrial fishing and habitat degradation within the world’s oceans.
Pam Longobardi’s work investigates the ubiquity of plastic contamination within the world’s oceans. Longobardi uses beach community clean-ups and international expeditions to identify and gather oceanic plastics that she then presents in gallery spaces. In exhibitions, she transforms these common place objects into installations that query the effects global capitalism, specifically its cultures of discard and waste, have upon aquatic life. Her installations bring attention to the mobility of plastic toxicity and remind viewers of their relationship with plastic and ocean life.
Diana Heise’s filmic and photographic work considers the effect of human activity on coastal habitats and their impact upon traditional fishing communities. In Mauritius, Heise created a series of intimate lens based studies that examine the relationship between Creole fishing communities and a shoreline that is increasingly distressed by the effects of industrial fishing, pollution, coral acidification and the disappearance of mangroves, a vital ecology for coastal life. Like Longobardi, Heise uses activist strategies; recently, she initiated a letter writing campaign to US senators in order to address the decline of artisanal fishing communities in her native Vermont.
Together, these artists focus our attention upon environmental waters through the ethical responses that emerge from art.
An Ephemeral Coast is curated by Celina Jeffery in Association with Mission Gallery, Swansea
Ephemeral Coast presents a series of interconnections between environmental considerations, a succession of embodied creative practices, and shifting regional geographic identities. It frames the coast as a hybrid geography and instigates a series of creative interventions that consider the material and ethical sensibilities of what it means to live and coexist with water, oceanic life, and the matter of waste.
This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada