I recently saw the work of an artist named Chris Jordan. One of his sets is called Running the Numbers. Here’s the description from his website:
Running the Numers 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.
Seeing his work gave me an idea. What could be more sobering that a world map made of individual pictures of baby feet, each one representing one child that is aborted world wide each year. That’d be approximately 42 million…
I’m thinking that this is going to be one of my running pet projects. I mean, with 42 million baby feet, we’re talking one huge map. I won’t be starting anything on it until summer, but I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.