In his exhibition Running the Numbers: an American self-portrait Chris looks at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics, but brings them to life through clever imagery.
This depicts 2.3 million folded prison uniforms, equal to the number of Americans incarcerated in 2005
How this presentation looks in an exhibition:
There’s more to his work than just prison uniforms, however.
And in case you think he’s a one-hit wonder, I strongly encourage you to visit his showcase page and marvel for yourself at how he puts together images on:
- 65,000 cigarettes, equal to the number of American teenagers under age eighteen who become addicted to cigarettes every month
- nine million wooden ABC blocks, equal to the number of American children with no health insurance coverage in 2007
- 24,000 logos from the GMC Yukon Denali, equal to six weeks of sales of that model SUV in 2004
- 213,000 Vicodin pills, equal to the number of emergency room visits yearly in the US related to misuse or abuse of prescription pain killers
- 29,569 handguns, equal to the number of gun-related deaths in the US in 2004
- 60,000 plastic bags, the number used in the US every five seconds
- 30,000 reams of office paper, or 15 million sheets, equal to the amount of office paper used in the US every five minutes
- 3.6 million tire valve caps, one for each new SUV sold in the US in 2004
- 125,000 one-hundred dollar bills ($12.5 million), the amount our government spends every hour on the war in Iraq
- 170,000 disposable Energizer batteries, equal to fifteen minutes of Energizer battery production
- 38,000 shipping containers, the number of containers processed through American ports every twelve hours
- 410,000 paper cups, equal to the number of disposable hot-beverage paper cups used in the US every fifteen minutes
- 106,000 aluminium cans, the number used in the US every thirty seconds
- 1.14 million brown paper supermarket bags, the number used in the US every hour
- 426,000 cell phones, equal to the number of cell phones retired in the US every day
- 11,000 jet trails, equal to the number of commercial flights in the US every eight hours
- 8 million toothpicks, equal to the number of trees harvested in the US every month to make the paper for mail order catalogs
- 200,000 packs of cigarettes, equal to the number of Americans who die from cigarette smoking every six months
- two million plastic beverage bottles, the number used in the US every five minutes
- one million plastic cups, the number used on airline flights in the US every six hours.
The picture underneath depicts 32,000 Barbies, equal to the number of elective breast augmentation surgeries performed monthly in the US in 2006
And it doesn’t stop there.
As Chris says,
Currently I am working on three new Running the Numbers sub-series that I am hoping to release this fall and winter. Experts in these fields are helping me to develop issues and visual themes, but I welcome additional ideas from scholars or activists in any of these areas:
–THE WORLD’S OCEANS: This series will look at the numbers associated with the exploitation and destruction of our oceans, including issues such as overfishing, illegal fishing, by-catch, ghost nets, shark finning, bottom trawling, and plastic pollution.
–AFRICA: This series will depict numbers related to contemporary Africa, including issues such as refugees, water-borne disease, child pregnancy and others, as well as some more hopeful issues such as African internet and cell phone usage, micro-lending and some others. This series will be featured at the TED Africa Conference in Capetown in September-October.
–THE EXTINCTION TRADE: This series will look at statistics associated with the worldwide mass killing and trading of animals for their tusks, horns, eggs, paws, teeth, fur, etc.
Amazing stuff! Go visit and marvel…