Jun 30, 2007

Running the Numbers

From the project 'Running the Numbers' by Chris Jordan. Above you see 6 panels displaying 2.3 million folded prison uniforms, equal to the number of Americans incarcerated in 2005. Below is a detail in actual size.

The brilliance of this project is how it visualizes those unfathomable quantities in a way so they become almost tangible. 2.3 mill. is no longer an abstract number, but can now be "experienced fundamentally through a bodily identification rather than as mere external objects" - if you remember Pallasmaas and Benjamins thoughts from this post.

You step up close to the panels. Zoom in. And can imagine the human body fitting inside each of the folded uniforms. You take five steps back. And as you do it, the overwhelming scale and tragedy of the American prison system presents itself. The abstract numbers are really understood through your body, its position in space, its relation to the image on the wall.

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