Friday, November 07, 2008

Chris Jordan

Kyle and I had drinks with the Grojeans yesterday evening. We had a wonderful time gathered around greasy nachos, laughing and chatting. We discussed a myriad of topics including the change in American thinking from when it was better to fix something broken to the new mindset of just throwing it out and getting a new one with sparkles. I want to discuss consumerism later on in more detail, but this conversation led to a new conversation about a new upcoming artist from Seattle named Chris Jordan. Chris Jordan's work trys to make us understand statistics better by helping us to relate more to numbers thrown at us. Often times these numbers are so huge they no longer have any meaning for us.

So for instance when we hear that America uses 2 million plastic beverage bottles every five minutes, he helps to define what that number really is using 2 million plastic beverage bottles. It is really fascinating work and I want to share some of his pieces with you. (remember if you click on the photos they will enlarge for better details)

This is his statement:
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 role of the individual in a society that is increasingly enormous, incomprehensible, and overwhelming.

~chris jordan, Seattle, 2007

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.

Barbie Dolls, 2008

Depicts 32,000 Barbies, equal to the number of elective breast augmentation surgeries performed monthly in the US in 2006.

Plastic Cups, 2008

Depicts one million plastic cups, the number used on airline flights in the US every six hours.

Cans Seurat, 2007

Depicts 106,000 aluminum cans, the number used in the US every thirty seconds.


Will Rutledge said...

haha... yes thank you for that... i would enjoy being buddies with you guys... you both are super cool. It was a little bit of a shocker but life is all about timing... so not too worried about it. :)

p.s Chris Jordan is awesome... he did something with cell phones that was cool but I couldn't find it to share with you...

Leslie said...

Wow that is amazing. I love seeing things like that. Truly makes you stop to think. Thanks for stopping by my blog the other day. I do appreciate the advice on flights. It's always good to look at other options to get the price down. I just can't wait to fly! Even my kids are putting stickers on a calendar each day to help them count down to the big day. :) Hope you have a good one! (OH and btw... my husband is Colombian, Spanish is his first language. He's been struggling with their weird version of spanish here.)

Danielle and Mason said...

That artwork is AWESOME!

Steph said...

that is the coolest thing ever! sad and wasteful...but very interesting.

Anonymous said...

those works were just AMAZING! thanks for sharing these with us..

hey, and thanks for visiting my blog.. :)

teacherwriter said...

How great to see more evidence of art communicating the opinions, ideas, conditions, etc. of society. Very moving. And your creative blogsite, Vanessa, is so inspiring...I will be back! :-)

Sarah said...

Very cool!

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Hope you'll come by again soon!!!

Laura said...

thanks for visiting my blog... this is amazing art!!