Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A browse through Orion Magazine is hugely rewarding this month. Continuing with my (increasingly unhealthy) "numbers" tendency is an interview and extra with US photographer Chris Jordan.

Jordan currently has a brilliant exhibition (click thru to Running the Numbers) highlighting "contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics". His approach is somewhat similar to the Yann Arthus-Bertrand sustainable development exhibition you saw at the Waitangi Park opening last year.

Jordan brings consumption numbers to life through a brief story and image. eg. Plastic Bags, 2007 "[d]epicts 60,000 plastic bags, the number used in the US every five seconds."

It's scary stuff, but strangely beautiful in an other-worldy fractal kinda way.

But a word from the artist: "My only caveat about this series is that the prints must be seen in person... their scale carries a vital part of their substance which is lost in these little web images." I'm guessing this wont be in New Zealand any time soon, so view online.

Another Orion mag article hits squarely on a post of mine from last year highlighting the importance of "wild nature play" for kids. It's an exposure of the tendency of residential land developers to close off nature, and it's also a plug for the intriguing Leave No Child Inside movement.

Not only does the article touch on themes from my earlier piece, it is all but a direct reflection of key themes from The End of Suburbia. "They market their subdivisions by naming their streets after the trees and streams that they destroy." But overall it's a story of hope.

Read the entire online copy of Orion. It'll be fun!


Graham said...

Speaking of visualising statistics, check out the new platform from IBM, 'Many Eyes'

There have been a lot of datasets uploaded in its short one and a bit month history, but there are few related to sustainability so far...
A few examples:
World population
World wind power MW
World oil consumption

Also, no new Marsden gas power plant from MRP now. Has anyone yet seen a public statement by someone influential to the effect of "maybe NZ should set an absolute cap on energy supply"?

mikeymike said...

many eyes looks sweeeet! i think i'll be using this (the wind power image lacks something though).

as for marsden b - great news!

Graham said...

I had a play with the data to turn the wind stats into Watts per person - much more meaningful. Had to download the datasets and do the merge in excel tho - they need to develop a cross-dataset-analysis capability.

When you compare it to population density, Germany wins! Don't tell them - they'll gloat.