Friday, March 26, 2010

Thinking Green

Intolerable Beauty: Portraits of American Mass Consumption

Chris Jordan is a Seattle-based photographic artist who has an interesting take on our mass culture and consumerism. Look closely, as his art depicts piles of cell phones, aluminum cans, and other garbage. Click on the photo above to be taken to his website.
Artists statement from his website:
Exploring around our country’s shipping ports and industrial yards, where the accumulated detritus of our consumption is exposed to view like eroded layers in the Grand Canyon, I find evidence of a slow-motion apocalypse in progress. I am appalled by these scenes, and yet also drawn into them with awe and fascination. The immense scale of our consumption can appear desolate, macabre, oddly comical and ironic, and even darkly beautiful; for me its consistent feature is a staggering complexity.

The pervasiveness of our consumerism holds a seductive kind of mob mentality. Collectively we are committing a vast and unsustainable act of taking, but we each are anonymous and no one is in charge or accountable for the consequences. I fear that in this process we are doing irreparable harm to our planet and to our individual spirits.

As an American consumer myself, I am in no position to finger wag; but I do know that when we reflect on a difficult question in the absence of an answer, our attention can turn inward, and in that space may exist the possibility of some evolution of thought or action. So my hope is that these photographs can serve as portals to a kind of cultural self-inquiry. It may not be the most comfortable terrain, but I have heard it said that in risking self-awareness, at least we know that we are awake.


Lafe's Hidden Treasures said...

We are just spoiled and never think of what happens to our waste! As a child we burned everything on a farm. I couldn't imagine doing that now...how terrible. What a wonderful article! Have a fun filled weekend!

Sandy said...

At first I thought the picture was of cars. Cell phones make more sense, but still, what a waste!

The Pink Birdhouse said...

this would be a great post for all europeans to read, cuz they have long believed in keeping the world clean, at least they are that way here in Germany. Recycling is mantatory, old fashioned light bulbs are no longer sold since only the new energy-saving ones can be bought, shopping bags must be bought so in turn everyone just brings along baskets or reuseable shopping bags to help save the world from an over flow of plastic and waste. Well the list goes on and on, but germans are a consciencious folk who try hard to keep the water, air, and earth clean for the next generation. After livign here for so long, it has all become second nature to me, and it is even taught in the schools,. It can be done! And it can become something that every citizen is aware of, yet automatically does because they simply don't know any better! Good post, Denise. ciao, Debby