Friday, January 16, 2009

Backwards visualization (as an art form)

Wikipedia defines visualization as "any technique for creating images, diagrams, or animations to communicate a message". Usually, it's main goal is to make information clearer in a broad view. Though, Chris Jordan - known photographer - uses the concept backwards to prove a point, as a form of art.
Chris' work depicts the usual America (meaning U.S.) mentality, which seems to grieve for some disasters (Chris mentioned 9/11th as an example in his talk on TED back in June), but misses actual daily massive disasters (he also mentioned the 1100 deaths due to nicotine usage daily as an example).
He takes random expressive statistics about common habits simulates the usual view of the population on it by showing massive numbers of objects mashed together to form an image. When the viewer drills down to the picture detail, the actual object, subject of the piece, shows itself.
His main pieces can be found on his website (Chris Jordan Photographic Arts). The most impressive to me are the Oil Barrels, which shows 28.000 42-gallon barrels, the amount of oiled consumed in the U.S. every minute, Plastic Cups, portraying 1 million plastic cups - the amount of cups used on airline flights in 6 hours everyday in the U.S. (none of which are reused or recycled in any way) -, and the Cell Phones, which consists of 426.000 cell phones - the number of cell phones retired in the U.S. everyday.

You can enjoy Chris' talk on TED.


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