Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan

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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.

Chris Jordan.

Barbie Dolls depicts 32,000 Barbies, equal to the number of elective breast augmentation surgeries performed monthly in the US in 2006.

Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan

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Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan

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Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan

Plastic Bottles depicts two million plastic beverage bottles, the number used in the US every five minutes.

Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan

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Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan

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Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan

Prison Uniforms depicts 2.3 million folded prison uniforms, equal to the number of Americans incarcerated in 2005.

Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan
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Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan

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Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan

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

Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan

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Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan
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Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan

Cans Seurat depicts 106,000 aluminum cans, the number used in the US every thirty seconds.

Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan

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Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan
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Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan

Handguns depicts 29,569 handguns, equal to the number of gun-related deaths in the US in 2004.

Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan

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Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan
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Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan

Ben Franklin depicts 125,000 one-hundred dollar bills ($12.5 million), the amount our government spends every hour on the war in Iraq.

Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan

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Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan
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Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan

13 Comments to “Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan”

  • Very nice and strong concept! The meaning of life

  • How did they make Ben Franklin out of 100s? Every 100 looks identical.

  • That is both awesome and terrifying!

  • Well maybe after their printed, but after you touch them they deff look different from other $100 bills ;p

  • @Paul:

    It seems to me that the opacity of each bill was played with.
    That’s only if it’s digital.

    Otherwise, Paul’s_Mother got it. Bills change through time after being touched too much.

  • yeah. I sure he use Photoshop to darken/lighten some bills

  • wow…crazy perspective.

  • This is all very scary…

  • this is complete liberal bullshit.

  • Brilliant. It’s not enough to say thigs, they have to be well said. Also, it’s not enough to do things well, they have to say something.

  • Mr. Robert Lee,

    Please show statistics which say otherwse.

  • I have to say, I agree with Mr. Robert Lee. It’s not that the statistics are necessarily inaccurate, but they are presented in such a way as to make the viewer jump to a certain negative conclusion about American society. The message of every picture is essentially, “Look how excessive and messed up we are.” For example, the “Handguns” picture depicts the number of firearms related deaths in 2004, with the message being “Guns are bad. Look how many people guns killed in 2004. This is outrageous!” When in reality, firearm related deaths didn’t rank in the top ten causes of death in 2004, or even the top 100. These pictures present facts, but leave out more pertinent facts of the bigger picture in almost every case, thus leading you to jump to an incorrect conclusion. Therefore, Lee’s statement, “This is complete liberal bullshit.” is well justified.

  • You can see zooming versions at:

    http://seadragon.com/showcase/chris-jordan

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