Statistics as Art
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist
Running the Numbers
An American Self-Portrait
This new series 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 426,000 cell phones retired every day. This project visually examines these vast and bizarre measures of our society, in large intricately detailed prints assembled from thousands of smaller photographs.
The link takes the viewer to the images as described above by the artist. My favorite image (aesthetically speaking) was the “patchwork quilt” of shipping containers at the very bottom. Art aside, each image carries its own daunting message.