Boston Science Museum… of Art?

3 05 2010

I went to the Boston Science Museum this weekend with my sister and her husband and we had a great time. It had been years since we have all been there. The last time was probably 20 years ago on a school field trip. Everything was hands on, and we were all having so much fun. Well, now that we are older, and we already learned most of this stuff in grade school, the regular exhibits weren’t as fun. But we still went to the butterfly garden, and the electricity show. (It was cool, but again, much cooler when you’re ten.)

So we went walking through the museum trying to find something interesting. And I came upon an exhibit of artwork called Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan. I had heard of his work before, but never seen it in person. He creates manipulated digital photographs that represent statistics that are hard to imagine. Once you see his photographs, you no longer have to try to imagine it, it’s there for you to see.

For example, below is a close up and full shot of Cans Seurat, which depicts 106,000 aluminum cans, the number used in the United States every thirty seconds.

This next one looks like pipes:

but it’s actually Plastic Cups. There are one million plastic cups shown here, the number used on airline flights in the US every six hours.

This one is called Gyre. It shows 2.4 million pieces of plastic, equal to the estimated number of pounds of plastic that enter the world’s oceans every hour. All of the plastic shown was collected from the Pacific Ocean.

Statistics are numbers, and numbers can be hard to visualize. Chris Jordan turns these statistics into visuals for you and the result is staggering. They are beautiful and grotesque at the same time. Beautiful works of art that portray the grotesque nature of our consumerism. To see more of his influential work go to Chris Jordan’s website.

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