Dear Friends,

We hope you can join us for a reading by Allison Cobb in the Summer Salon Series at the San Diego Museum of Art, Friday, August 17 at 7:30 pm. Museum admission is $12 for adults, $8 for students with college ID, and open to the public.

In conjunction with Agitprop, the Agitprop Reading Series is collaborating with the San Diego Museum of Art for the third year in a row to present the Summer Salon Series. Every Friday evening, from June 1 through August 31, the San Diego Museum of art will be hosting artists, lecturers, poets and performers to investigate the topics of historical fictions and the dissemination of information.

Allison Cobb is the author of Born2 (Chax Press, 2004) about her hometown of Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Green-Wood (Factory School, 2010) about a famous nineteenth-century cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. The New York Times called Green-Wood “a gorgeous, subtle, idiosyncratic gem.” Cobb’s work combines history, nonfiction narrative and poetry to address issues of landscape, politics, and ecology. She was a 2009 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow and received a 2011 Individual Artist Fellowship award from the Oregon Arts Commission. She works for the Environmental Defense Fund. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Cobb will read from her work in progress, The Autobiography of Plastic.  For this work, the author is tracing the journey of a single piece of plastic that probably came from the Consolidated factory in San Diego during WWII. It was stamped VP-101, the name of a WWII PBY squadron. It turned up on Midway Island in 2004, inside the belly of a dead albatross chick. As more plastic pollution enters the ocean, this is becoming a common phenomenon: One study says 40% of albatross chicks die from swallowing plastic, Cobb says.

“We can read such statistics, but we may not really feel their full meaning,” she notes, “unless we can understand about a single piece of plastic and the lives it passed through.” In this case, they include the factory workers in San Diego, the young Navy pilot who survived being shot down by the Japanese but lost his plane, and the wildlife photographer who removed every piece of plastic – more than 500 in all – from the albatross chick she had been photographing only the day before. “I hope,” says Cobb, “that by uncovering such traces I can show that the autobiography of plastic is really the autobiography of all of us.”


San Diego Museum of Art
Friday, August 17, 7:30

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