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Chris Jordan :: Running the Numbers

Chris Jordan's images make the huge waste streams of our consumer culture visible in dazzling ways. This photo essay shows recent works of Chris Jordan from his Running the Numbers and Intolerable Beauty series.

“As an American consumer myself, I am in no position to finger wag; but I do know that when we reflect on a difficult question in the absence of an answer, our attention can turn inward, and in that space may exist the possibility of some evolution of thought or action.

So my hope is that these photographs can serve as portals to a kind of cultural self-inquiry. It may not be the most comfortable terrain, but I have heard it said that in risking self-awareness, at least we know that we are awake.”

spacer Chris Jordan, Cell Phones, 2007 :: From the Running the Numbers series

 

Click on the thumbnails below to see a sample of Chris Jordan's work.

 

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spacer spacer :: VIDEO: spacer Talk at Greener Gadgets, NY
spacer spacer :: VIDEO: spacer Interview on the Colbert Report
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spacer :: HOME: spacer See all of his work at www.chrisjordan.com

 


 

Chris Jordan Bio

 

Chris Jordan, www.chrisjordan.com
Chris Jordan, www.chrisjordan.com

Chris Jordan is an internationally acclaimed photographic artist whose work explores the detritus of American mass culture. His work is exhibited widely in the US and Europe, and has been featured in magazines, newspapers, weblogs, documentary films and television programs all over the globe. Prints of Chris’ work are held in more than two hundred public and private collections worldwide.

His newest series, titled “Running the Numbers,” depicts the staggering statistics that define American culture, in huge intricately detailed panels as large as thirty feet wide. These huge works invite the viewer to walk up close and see every detail as a symbol of the crucial role of the individual in hypermodern society.

See his work at www.chrisjordan.com

 


 

Artist's Statement

Intolerable Beauty DVD of Chris Jordan, www.chrisjordan.com
Made for America's youth, Chris Jordan's new 20-minute video features a narrated tour through all of Chris's consumerism images. Click HERE for more info.

Intolerable Beauty :: Portraits of American Mass Consumption
Exploring around our country’s shipping ports and industrial yards, where the accumulated detritus of our consumption is exposed to view like eroded layers in the Grand Canyon, I find evidence of a slow-motion apocalypse in progress. I am appalled by these scenes, and yet also drawn into them with awe and fascination.

The immense scale of our consumption can appear desolate, macabre, oddly comical and ironic, and even darkly beautiful; for me its consistent feature is a staggering complexity. The pervasiveness of our consumerism holds a seductive kind of mob mentality. Collectively we are committing a vast and unsustainable act of taking, but we each are anonymous and no one is in charge or accountable for the consequences. I fear that in this process we are doing irreparable harm to our planet and to our individual spirits.

As an American consumer myself, I am in no position to finger wag; but I do know that when we reflect on a difficult question in the absence of an answer, our attention can turn inward, and in that space may exist the possibility of some evolution of thought or action. So my hope is that these photographs can serve as portals to a kind of cultural self-inquiry. It may not be the most comfortable terrain, but I have heard it said that in risking self-awareness, at least we know that we are awake.

 

Running the Numbers, www.chrisjordan.com
Running the Numbers

Running the Numbers :: An American Self-Portrait
This new series 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 426,000 cell phones retired every day.

This project visually examines these vast and bizarre measures of our society, in large intricately detailed prints assembled from thousands of smaller photographs.

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