Three years ago, photographer Chris Jordan told the Vancouver Sun about an epiphany he'd had one day that he said “was almost like waking up from The Matrix.” He'd been shooting fine-art photos of colorful garbage as a way of finding a kind of beauty amid discarded rubble. But friends would look at the work and see a deeper statement about the impacts of rampant consumerism.
That's all Jordan needed to find a new path—he's since created several series that comment on how consumer culture impacts the environment.
Six photographs from his most recent ongoing collection, Midway: Message from the Gyre, are on view at the Museum of Photographic Arts (MoPA) in Balboa Park as part of a larger exhibition, Infinite Balance: Artists and the Environment. Midway depicts the decomposing carcasses of baby albatrosses on Midway Atoll, an island in the Pacific Ocean. The images reveal bits of plastic from the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch that were mistaken for food by mother birds and fed to their offspring.
“It's pretty sad,” says Chantel Paul, curatorial assistant at MoPA.
But Jordan isn't just an environmental activist; he's also an artist. “There's an abstract quality to the images,” Paul says. “Some of them may have a beak or may have what really looks like a wing, but if you look at them closely, they're really abstract, and it's really difficult to tell what it is, until the viewer spends a little bit more time investigating. Once it clicks, they're really powerful images.”
At 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, MoPA will hold An Evening with Chris Jordan, a lecture during which the photographer will talk about his Midway series and the calamity that's befallen the albatross population. Afterward, he'll sign copies of the book Prix Pictet 2010—Growth, which features his work. The cost of the lecture is $8, or $6 for students, seniors and military servicemembers. Get tickets at mopa.org, and visit chrisjordan.com.
2 Wanted: mixed-race marrow
The first round of chemo didn't work for former CityBeat staffer Kia Bowman Momtazi, a young Persian-American woman diagnosed with lymphoma. We started bugging people, especially those of a similar ethnicity, to join Be the Match, the national bone-marrow registry, so Kia could find a match and get a lifesaving transplant. Lots of you joined—thanks!—but, at Kia's request, while she undergoes more chemo and prepares for an ex- perimental transplant using non-matching marrow from her mom, we're asking even more of you to join the registry or just show support by coming to Tiger!Tiger! (3025 El Cajon Blvd. in North Park) from 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, for the Get Swabbed fund-raiser. A portion of proceeds will benefit Be the Match and some will go toward buying Kia a banjo—because playing music lifts her spirits.
3 Bold Mould
Musician Bob Mould emerged from Minneapolis-St. Paul in the early 1980s with Hsker D, which evolved from hardcore punk to melodic hard rock. Later, he fronted the pop-rock group Sugar before performing as a solo artist. His career has earned him a place as one of the forefathers of post-punk and alternative music. Mould will be at The Casbah (2501 Kettner Blvd., doors at 8:30 p.m.) on Thursday, Nov. 17, to play songs from his repertoire and read from his new autobiography, See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody, an intimate account of his life and career, including his struggle with, and ultimate embrace of, his homosexuality. Tickets: $18-$20. Then, at 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, Mould will return to The Casbah with Blowoff, his DJ project with producer / re-mixer Rich Morel. Tickets: $12-$14.