Running the Numbers / An American Self-Portrait by Chris Jordan

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

Prison Uniforms, 2007
10×23 feet in six vertical panels

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.

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Detail at actual size:

Installed at the Von Lintel Gallery, NY, June 2007

 

Cell Phones, 2007
60×100″

Depicts 426,000 cell phones, equal to the number of cell phones retired in the US every day.

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Detail at actual size:

 

Constitution, 2008
8 x 25 feet in five panels

Depicts 83,000 Abu Ghraib prisoner photographs, equal to the number of people who have been arrested and held at US-run detention facilities with no trial or other due process of law, during the Bush Administration’s war on terror.

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zoomed in closer:

Detail at actual print size:

 

Cigarettes, 2007
60×82″

Depicts 65,000 cigarettes, equal to the number of American teenagers under age eighteen who become addicted to cigarettes every month.

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Detail at actual size:

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~ by barisyilmaz on 12/20/2009.

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