debbie millman

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Effects of Denial

Artist and photographer Chris Jordan shows us an arresting view of what Western culture looks like. His supersized images picture some almost unimaginable statistics -- like the astonishing number of paper cups we use every single day. We use 40,000,000 cups every day, mostly for hot beverages.

He makes large-format, long-zoom artwork from the most mindblowing data about "stuff" and what we consume. His 2003-05 series Intolerable Beauty examines the hypnotic allure of it all: cliffs of baled scrap, small cities of shipping containers, endless grids of mass-produced goods. His 2005 book In Katrina's Wake: Portraits of Loss from an Unnatural Disaster is a chilling look at the toll of the storm. And his latest series of photographs, "Running the Numbers," gives dramatic life to statistics of US consumption. Often-heard factoids like "We use 2 million plastic bottles every 5 minutes" become a chilling, viewable reality. This past April, Jordan traveled around the world with National Geographic as an international eco-ambassador for Earth Day 2008. This is his speech from the last Ted conference.

Via my dear friend Elizabeth Boyle.


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