Anna Silva Unconscious Evil

Anna Silva

Unconscious Evil 


“Gyre / Chris Jordan” by Ars Electronica is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
“Albatross at Midway Atoll Refuge” by USFWS Headquarters is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Preface: My name is Anna Silva and I am presenting my portfolio, “Unconscious Evil”. I have used the creative license CC BY-NC-ND for this portfolio.


Introduction: My portfolio highlights the work of Chris Jordan, an environmental photographer, whose art depicts the ramifications of human life on nature. Jordan has several works illustrating the severity of pollution in the Pacific Ocean, specifically in his “Midway: Message from the Gyre” series and smaller series “Gyre”. The series “Midway: Message from the Gyre” shows the demise of several baby albatrosses due to them devouring human waste. In “Gyre” Chris Jordan depicts plastic pollution taken from the waters of the Pacific Ocean’s Pacific Gyre, an immense clockwise current composed of four ocean currents. Chris Jordan is well-renowned for his disturbing and shameful images of human’s expansive conception of products. Jordan captures first-hand devastation of America’s mass consumption.


Themes: Within Chris Jordan’s work are the two themes of nature and our unintentional evil and consumer’s consumption. Jordan takes pictures of deceased albatross babies whose carcasses are horrifyingly filled with plastic bottle caps and plastic debris, emphasizing the first theme of nature and our intentional evil. A small, plastic cap thrown away without a second thought, is engulfing the 2 million inhabitants of Midway Atoll. Similarly another theme, consumer’s consumption is present in “Gyre”, a miniseries composed of 2.4 million of pieces of plastic seized from the Pacific Gyre, representing the amount of waste per pound that infiltrates the sea hourly. Human’s vast expenditure of products is almost encouraged to devour our oceans.


Analysis: In 2009, Chris Jordan met with scientists to discuss the Pacific Garbage Patch, a group of pollutants in the Pacific Gyre so expansive that the exact amount of waste is unknown. One of the scientists told Jordan that if he wanted to visualize the amount of waste within the Pacific Garbage Patch, he should visit Midway Atoll and see the destruction of baby albatrosses. Jordan’s astonishment of this sentiment regarding a greatly secluded island led him to venture to Midway Atoll. On Midway Atoll, Jordan confronted the appalling reality of the island, where the ground was covered in the remains of baby albatrosses and dying baby albatrosses. Jordan captured images of the dead and ill birds wanting to capture this inconspicuous horror, and making the pollution personal rather than theoretical. Jordan’s aim in his works “Midway: Message from the Gyre” and “Gyre”, is for self- reflection through the lens of grief. He wants the viewer to acknowledge the monstrosity contained within his images and use the sadness it evokes to form a genuine and not conceptual connection with Earth. Jordan believes that opening oneself to reflection can lead to forming a greater attachment to nature as well as a greater understanding.


Application: Chris Jordan’s photography epitomizes a silent evil within our society. His ability to transform the conceptuality of the Earth’s vast pollution into a tangible image is indispensable. Jordan wants the public to be cognizant of these pollution statistics as personal issues that affect ourselves and not just some abstract malevolence. He wants the collective conscious to welcome grief as an emotion and use it’s influence to become more well-rounded. Jordan acknowledges that in modern times we are often bombarded with images and wants these images to evoke emotions and contemplation rather than just visualizing the images.


“Raise your Voice (2010): Midway – Message from the Gyre (2009) / Chris Jordan” by Ars Electronica is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


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Anna Silva Unconscious Evil Copyright © by Anna Silva is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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