This post is in reference to an artist mentioned during my previous feedback session, Chris Jordan.
Chris Jordan (born 1963) is an artist based in Seattle, Washington who is best known for his large scale works depicting mass consumption and waste, particularly garbage. He has been called “the ‘it’ artist of the green movement”
One project of his in particular stands out when considering the direction of my own – Midway. In essence, this ongoing creative project confronts the issues of mass consumerism and waste production, looking at how our ever increasing population demands greater plastic consumption which in turns becomes discarded with little concern for the consequences. In this, Jordan looking a series of small island in which birds have suffered as a result of this mass detritus, many of whom have become confused by the flood of waste produce, foraging for food and feeding their young plastic waste who then die as result. This is represented through Jordan’s disturbing images of the decaying remains of albatrosses. This speaks of a broader story of first world human neglect, our ever increasing population, pollution of seas and unsustainable consumerist lifestyles.
Midway: Message from the Gyre
(2009 – Current)
On Midway Atoll, a remote cluster of islands more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent, the detritus of our mass consumption surfaces in an astonishing place: inside the stomachs of thousands of dead baby albatrosses. The nesting chicks are fed lethal quantities of plastic by their parents, who mistake the floating trash for food as they forage over the vast polluted Pacific Ocean.For me, kneeling over their carcasses is like looking into a macabre mirror. These birds reflect back an appallingly emblematic result of the collective trance of our consumerism and runaway industrial growth. Like the albatross, we first-world humans find ourselves lacking the ability to discern anymore what is nourishing from what is toxic to our lives and our spirits. Choked to death on our waste, the mythical albatross calls upon us to recognize that our greatest challenge lies not out there, but in here.
~cj, Seattle, February 2011
I found that this series had a huge impact upon me as it encapsulates many aspects that make me despair about the human condition, especially in regards to western ideology. It also speaks of a sometimes neglected issue of water/marine based wildlife, conservation and management.
There is certainly a good level of potential and scope within a project of this nature. It is easy to forget the wider implications of negative human influence. This body of work adopts a very modern standpoint on the issues of human consumerism and negligence.
I would like my own project to perhaps be hard hitting and certainly topically relevant. However, I would likely follow a broader concept that would allow for a good range of landscape and wildlife images.
I will continue my research.