Photographic artist Chris Jordan has a series of huge prints currently on tour, Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait. The prints feature actual objects to display statistics like the number of plastic bags, paper bags, aluminum cans, and such used in the U.S. within a distressingly short period of time -- minutes or seconds in some cases. Some of the images create art, such as the Cans Seurat, made up of 106,000 cans, the number used in the U.S. every 30 seconds. Others, such as Plastic Bags 2007 simply display 60,000 plastic bags, the number used every five seconds in the U.S.
It's one thing to hear statistics like these. The giant number are difficult to imagine, so the impact of a mere figure isn't much. But to see the numbers displayed graphically really makes the viewer think.
My favorite: the Energizer battery quote. Oh, the irony.