Friday, October 9, 2009

Chris Jordan

I was able to visit the Pacific Science Center today, mainly to the see the Cartoon Network animation exhibit, but there was also something else. Photographer Chris Jordan has an exhibit about consumption. Make sure to click on the images to see the detail.

 
Running the Numbers
An American Self-Portrait

Running the Numbers looks at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics. Each image portrays a specific quantity of something: fifteen million sheets of office paper (five minutes of paper use); 106,000 aluminum cans (thirty seconds of can consumption) and so on. My hope is that images representing these quantities might have a different effect than the raw numbers alone, such as we find daily in articles and books. Statistics can feel abstract and anesthetizing, making it difficult to connect with and make meaning of 3.6 million SUV sales in one year, for example, or 2.3 million Americans in prison, or 32,000 breast augmentation surgeries in the U.S. every month.

This project visually examines these vast and bizarre measures of our society, in large intricately detailed prints assembled from thousands of smaller photographs. Employing themes such as the near versus the far, and the one versus the many, I hope to raise some questions about the roles and responsibilities we each play as individuals in a collective that is increasingly enormous, incomprehensible, and overwhelming.

~chris jordan, Seattle, 2008



Plastic Bottles, 2007
Depicts two million plastic beverage bottles, the number used in the US every five minutes.


  
Prison Uniforms, 2007 
Depicts 2.3 million folded prison uniforms, equal to the number of Americans incarcerated in 2005. The U.S. has the largest prison population of any country in the world.
 
   
Ben Franklin, 2007 
Depicts 125,000 one-hundred dollar bills ($12.5 million), the amount our government spends every hour on the war in Iraq.

 

 
Skull With Cigarette, 2007 [based on a painting by Van Gogh]
Depicts 200,000 packs of cigarettes, equal to the number of Americans who die from cigarette smoking every six months.
 
  
Cans Seurat, 2007
Depicts 106,000 aluminum cans, the number used in the US every thirty seconds.