A number of pieces in his "Running the Numbers" serieses (I and II) relate to our consumption of plastic. This piece depicts the number of plastic bottles consumed every minute in the United States in the form of 400,000 plastic bottle caps, resembling A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte when viewed from afar (photograph zoomable for the full effect on his website). Another favorite of ours, titled Plastic Bottles, depicts two million plastic bottles, the number consumed every five minutes in the U.S..
In a recent interview with Daily Good, Chris Jordan explained the difference between his "Running the Numbers" series and his latest work, photographing and filming on Midway Island.
I was always a little dissatisfied with my "Running the Numbers" work because what I really want to do is help people [to] understand that these global issues are personal to each one of us. I wanted to create a bridge between the global and the personal. My "Running the Numbers" work is inherently abstract, conceptual art. It points in the right direction, but what I'm really interested in is feeling. That's the power of art. It reminds you how you feel about something.
Chris Jordan's most recent work is concerned with embedding more feeling into images; he uses the struggles of albatross on Midway Island (one of the most remote places on earth) to bring a new meaning to the way our lifestyle can have global impacts. What started as a series of photographs ("Midway: Message from the Gyre") "Midway" has transformed into a film documenting the same tragedies of the albatross on Midway Island.
The feature length film, "Midway", is set to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 6th. According to Jordan it "explores the plight of Laysan albatross plagued by the ingestion of our plastic trash. Both elegy and warning, the film explores the interconnectedness of species, with the albatross on Midway as a mirror of our humanity."
"Midway" is one of the few at the renowned Toronto International Film Festival without a distribution deal, but apparently Jordan's team has recruited many top sound designers, editors, and producers hoping to make an impression (previous works include March of the Penguins, The Lord of the Rings, Argo, and Titanic).
Here is a new trailer for "Midway".
If you have the time there are a number of other resources available to learn more about Chris Jordan's work. There is interview mentioned above, on Daily Good as well as a number of videos; here is a TED talk about his "Running the Numbers" series, here is a TEDx talk about ocean pollution and "Midway", and here is an interview concerning his work on Midway Island. There is also an informative article from Audubon Magazine.org mainly concerning the albatross and how trash is killing them. Also visit his website at www.chrisjordan.com and the website for the upcoming Midway Film at www.midwayfilm.com.
Notes: The film shows multiple times (including Friday, September, 13th) so keep an eye out for any news or reviews from those in Toronto. Jordan's team will likely edit the film following the festival and possibly act according to any deals they encounter.