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Monday, October 20, 2008

Putting the scale of our American Consumerism into perspective

I recently ran across an art project called Running the Numbers, by Chris Jordan, which visually examines the vast measures of consumerism in our society, in large intricately detailed photographs. For me, who does not have a natural math brain, statistics feel abstract and anesthetizing, making them difficult to connect with. These large photographs are joined together from thousands of smaller photographs, putting our wasteful consumerism into visual perspective.

Collectively we are committing a massive act of destruction, but in our individual anonymity, no one is accountable for the consequences. I am appalled by these scenes, and yet also drawn into them. I am not finger wagging either because I am guilty as sin of being wasteful.

Depicts two million plastic beverage bottles, the number used in the US every five minutes.

Partial zoom:


Depicts 426,000 cell phones, equal to the number of cell phones retired in the US every DAY.

Partial zoom:


Depicts 1.14 million brown paper supermarket bags, the number used in the US every hour.

Partial zoom:


Depicts 106,000 aluminum cans, the number used in the US every thirty seconds.

Partial zoom:


Depicts 60,000 plastic bags, the number used in the US every five seconds.

Partial zoom:

Detail at actual size:


Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

This is really effective messaging, this art stuff, you artist you.

But may I digress just a bit? Thank you. In that pile of discarded phones? Did you see one single solitary iPhone. Nope. Not one. Everyone should buy iPhones to stop pollution. Boo-ya.

katydidnot said...

isn't he brilliant?

just jamie said...

LOVE that. Love it.

Sam said...

That's amazing, Trish. Makes me want to remember to take my re-usable bags out of the car more often!

Thanks for your birthday wishes, and I look forward to bring some to you very soon! :)

dkuroiwa said...

Wow. that was amazing.
I wish everyone could see that..especially the people of Japan...over packaging here has reached levels that are just disgusting. Yes, I carry "my bag", actually I have quite a few with me at all most grocery stores, if you use your own bags you get a few yen's a start.