AN ATTEMPT TO UNDERSTAND A STATISTIC

2009 Styrofoam and wood It is common knowledge that beyond a certain load of numbers, people have trouble visualizing and comprehending quantities and their meaning. In a culture filled with pie charts and statistics, numeric iconography seems to be very efficient at describing percentages, but very poor at helping us experience what these numbers actually represent. In an attempt to remind people of their own mortality and the importance of living life to its fullest, Sebastian ErraZuriz created An Attempt to Understand a Statistic. For this project, 1,100 white crosses were planted in the grounds of a waterside park in Dumbo, New York. A group of 40 volunteers, following the directions of Sebastian, forming a line, started walking and planting a white cross with each step until the meadow was transformed into a temporary cemetery. The 1,100 crosses represent the number of people who die in New York City every week. ErraZuriz hopes to reproduce a larger version of this project in Central Park, where he plans to plant 4,400 white crosses, filling up all of Sheep’s Meadow, in an attempt to visualize and comprehend the large number of people who die in New York City each month, and the same number who will inevitably die each and every month.

2009

Styrofoam and wood

It is common knowledge that beyond a certain load of numbers, people have trouble visualizing and comprehending quantities and their meaning. In a culture filled with pie charts and statistics, numeric iconography seems to be very efficient at describing percentages, but very poor at helping us experience what these numbers actually represent.


In an attempt to remind people of their own mortality and the importance of living life to its fullest, Sebastian ErraZuriz created An Attempt to Understand a Statistic. For this project, 1,100 white crosses were planted in the grounds of a waterside park in Dumbo, New York. A group of 40 volunteers, following the directions of Sebastian, forming a line, started walking and planting a white cross with each step until the meadow was transformed into a temporary cemetery.


The 1,100 crosses represent the number of people who die in New York City every week. ErraZuriz hopes to reproduce a larger version of this project in Central Park, where he plans to plant 4,400 white crosses, filling up all of Sheep’s Meadow, in an attempt to visualize and comprehend the large number of people who die in New York City each month, and the same number who will inevitably die each and every month.