Running the Numbers

Charts and graphs can only get you so far. To communicate the effects of global warming, overconsumption, and excess waste, Seattle photographer Chris Jordan opts for a pointillist approach in his new show Running the Numbers. Using Photoshop and a large-format printer, he reiterates a tiny motif—dollar bill, Barbie Doll, SUV logo—in direct proportion to some damning stat. Thus, Mt. McKinley is rendered in Denali Denial as 24,000 nameplates from a GMC Yukon Denali. Or the $12.5 million hourly cost of the Iraq War becomes a giant portrait of Benjamin Franklin—as in 125,000 Benjamins intricately collaged together. In a companion video, Jordan freely admits the show’s activist theme. It’s not representational, like his earlier photorealstic portraits of our trash, but symbolic—using “the austere lens of statistics” to illustrate environmental ills. But his didactic images aren’t directly confrontational or scolding. They invite you in for a closer look. In fact, they require you to look closer to discern the visual kernel being replicated. And then, by extension, to look for it in your own life. BRIAN MILLER

Saturdays, Sundays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Mondays, Wednesdays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Starts: Oct. 3. Continues through Jan. 3, 2009

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