To call Chris Jordan a photographer or an artist is to deny the simultaneously empathetic and journalistic bent of his works. Jordan, whose collection Running the Numbers was on display at the Allen Memorial Art Museum in 2008, is a master of subjectivity.
Chris Jordan creates art on a large scale–one might even call it mass produced–for a public which he believes is anesthetized by the overabundance of product as well as of information. His pieces are designed to wake the American public by mixing objective fact with subjective truth. Jordan’s relationship to his audience is incredibly complex, a fact to which his blog attests. He writes,
My friend the artist Richard Lang says the opposite of beauty is not ugliness, but indifference. For me this means that to live ethical lives, we are called to turn toward the staggering enormity of human-caused catastrophes like the Pacific Garbage Patch and the Gulf Oil Disaster, opening our heart to their horrors, and taking the risk that we might be overwhelmed by the potent feelings this process brings up in us. I can see no other acceptable approach, yet I fear that by dwelling on the awfulness of these tragedies—and the smorgasbord of others we survey in the news every day—we may lose our already tenuous connection with life’s beauty, mystery, humor, and joy. I want to learn to stand in the paradox of these conflicting realities, turning more fully toward each of them despite the anxiety involved, as they generate their respective teachings about what it means to live as an engaged citizen in our times.
He calls on America with a gentle but serious voice. Unlike so many of those bemoaning the state of the modern American consumerist conscience, from aritsts to activists, Jordan works with rather than against the so-called failings of the human mind, including the “collective negligence” which have caused the very problems against which he works. Jordan asks his viewer to respond to the problems of a consumerist world on both an emotional and intellectual level by mixing statistic with sweeping image in his Running the Numbers series, and questions the the nature of waste itself in the haunting, recently occupied wreckage of In Katrina’s Wake. These impulses combine beautifully in Jordan’s present project, Midway, which documents the deaths of young albatrosses due to the over-consumption of plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean.
In short, Clarence recommends that you check out Chris Jordan’s work!