Summer Salon 2012: Allison Cobb
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."