For his ongoing project, an American artist creates visual representations of abstract statistics surrounding global issues and contemporary American culture, with pieces — some of them recreations of famous artworks — assembled using thousands of pieces of trash items and more.
Through his series entitled “Running the Numbers,” artist Chris Jordan hopes to raise awareness on various issues plaguing contemporary American culture, but instead of merely echoing the figures and statistics that he considers “abstract and anesthetizing,” he makes images that represent these quantities. He tackles one issue at a time, builds a concept around it, and proceeds to selecting a “medium” to cement the visual representation with.
Some of the pieces are stunning recreations of well-known works by legendary artists, such as A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges-Pierre Seurat made using plastic bottle caps, The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh made using cigarette lighters, The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli made using plastic bags, _and The Great Wave off Kanagawa ukiyo-e painting by Katsushika Hokusai made using pieces of plastic collected from the Pacific Ocean.
Part painting and part sculptural installation, Jordan’s work is an interesting take on presenting all the pressing environmental issues brought about by waste and mass consumerism. On the motivations behind his series, Jordan says:
“Sociologists tell us that the human mind cannot meaningfully grasp numbers higher than a few thousand; yet every day we read of mass phenomena characterized by numbers in the millions, billions, even trillions.
Compounding this challenge is our sense of insignificance as individuals in a world of 6.7 billion people. And if we fully open ourselves to the horrors of our times, we also risk becoming overwhelmed, panicked, or emotionally paralyzed.
I believe it is worth connecting with these issues and allowing them to matter to us personally, despite the complex mixtures of anger, fear, grief, and rage that this process can entail. Perhaps these uncomfortable feelings can become part of what connects us, serving as fuel for courageous individual and collective action as citizens of a new kind of global community. This hope continues to motivate my work."