The Operating System

FIELD NOTES: Jacob Perkins, From the Cannery : Pt 3 :: Exxon Oil Spill


Pushing off the dock in Kodiak with a solid three weeks of work behind us, the small cannery we called (temporary) home, Alitak, lies behind a hundred miles of fog and snowcovered peaks. We set off on a thirty hour run north, to an equally small town, Kenai, for the salmon season on the Cook Inlet.
I’d like to tell you about jigging for cod over this time, on a small boat in high wind and waves, but I find myself interested in showers, and their locations, scarcity. Sleeping three people on a 34 foot boat is basically a nightmare, plagued with light sleepers, chainsaw snorers, dragging anchors and rolling swells. Finding time to shower in an hour timeframe on a dock lined with sorters, canning equipment, workers and forklifts at 3am is nightmare of another magnitude itself. Two weeks in, covered in cod juice, scales, squid (bait) and old fashioned sweat, almost nothing sounds better than your first shower. Enter the bathhouse, crank the handle; lo and behold: ice cold water piped down from the tarn above camp. PERFECT.
Fast forward another week, as yet unshowered, Kodiak Harbor: ELEVEN DOLLAR SHOWER.
These things aside, today is the day I’ve met up with two artists, Ian Koebner (program/organization extraordinaire) and Pablo Cardoso (Ecuadorian realist painter who’s shown at several biennales representing that country) to begin a project on the Exxon oil spill and its effect on the fishing industry that my father and I are a part of. We are spending the week visiting locations across south and southeast Alaska patching together an image of the oil industry and the damage it’s had on the people and workers of Prince William Sound and beyond.
Much to come and much to see as we move our work around new parts of the world. Pablo has a history of covering subjects such as this, inspired by a series he began in his home country and a spill that claimed lives and ecosystems near his town, Cuenca.
READ MORE: Part IV of Jacob Perkins’ “From the Cannery” Field Notes >>

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