Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Seeds of technological change. (Ai Wei Wei)

Oh, a carpet?

Turbine Hall, Tate Modern (own image)

Nope. It's actually over 100,000 porcelain sunflower seeds. An installation by artist Ai Wei Wei as part of the gallery's annual Unilever series.

(Photo Courtesy of Tate Photography)
Aside from being slightly breathtaking (and raising the question 'why?') the installation caught my interest for another reason. The inscription on the side describes:

"Each piece is a part of the whole, a poignant commentary on the relationship between the individual and the masses. There are over one hundred million seeds. Five times the number of Beijing's population and nearly a quarter of China's internet users."

Since when did the amount of internet users become a way to measure vast numbers? Is it a figure everyone understands? Also, the proximity to the statement about the individual versus the masses is intriguing - certainly we feel insignificant as one seed, or internet user, but together we can effect global awareness, change and even revolution (ahem Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria?).

 Or am I reading way too much into an interesting statistic chosen by a researcher? You decide :) 

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