Chris Jordan's Plastic Provocation
Artist Chris Jordan has become something of a cult figure for the green set, with his growing portfolio of mind-bending large-scale art that depicts our culture of consumption and waste in excruciating detail. His newest work, entitled Gyre, is an 8'x11' reproduction of the famous Great Wave Japanese woodblock print by Hokusai, made entirely with plastic trash.
On his website, Jordan states that the piece "depicts 2.4 million pieces of plastic, equal to the estimated number of pounds of plastic pollution that enter the world's oceans every hour." Jordan collected all of the garbage for Gyre from the Pacific Ocean. This work is part of a series called "Running the Numbers II," the second phase of an evolving collection of art made from the detritus of consumer culture.
"Finding meaning in global mass phenomena can be difficult," says Jordan, "because the phenomena themselves are invisible, spread across the earth in millions of separate places. There is no Mount Everest of waste that we can make a pilgrimage to and behold the sobering aggregate of our discarded stuff, seeing and feeling it viscerally with our senses."
Of course there are an increasing number of massive waste accumulations that amount to inadvertant landmarks, such as the Texas-size island of garbage floating in the Pacific (for which green adventurer David de Rothschild will soon set sail). Fittingly, Jordan's new work focuses on damage to marine ecosystems, referencing the fantastic plastic catastrophe developing in far-off waters; but previous projects also looked at electronic waste and the aftermath of natural disasters (his exhibition and book In Katrina's Wake explored post-Katrina New Orleans through photos). Check out a sequential zoom into the details of Gyre below, and see more here.