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Numb & Number Exhibition: Artist's Statement

Over the last four years, numbers have shaped our reality. While Al Gore received 50,996,582 votes, George W. Bush gained 271 electoral college votes -- enough to win the election after a five-four majority of the United States Supreme Court reversed a decision by the Florida Supreme Court to order hand recounts of disputed votes. While just one senator could have changed the course of the election by listening to the representatives of disenfranchised constituents, 49 senators voted in favor of implementing the Patriot Act which they had not yet read.

  • 5, 674 former soldiers -- mostly people who recently left the service and have up-to-date skills in military policing, engineering, logistics, medicine or transportation -- will be assigned to National Guard and Reserve units scheduled to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan, the Army announced June 2004.
  • 784 service members in 2003 alone -- more than 37 of them Arab-speaking linguists -- were fired for being gay.
  • 6 defendants -- a "few bad apples" -- are deemed responsible for the institutionalized abuse resulting in the Abu Ghraib torture scandal.
  • 53 pages of vividly detailed and comprehensively documented investigation conducted by General Antonio Taguba gathered dust at the Pentagon until 1 low-resolution photo of a hooded Iraqi attached to electrical wires destroyed America's self-imposed moral superiority.
  • 1, 032 + American servicemembers have died since the war began, and more than 7,032 have been wounded.
  • 12, 778 Iraqi civilians have died since the war began according to a very conservatively estimated minimum by Iraq Body Count, a project which publishes casualty figures derived solely from a comprehensive survey of online media reports.
  • 20,000 Iraqi men, between the ages of 15 and 81 have been detained in Iraq since the invasion began, as conservatively estimated by human rights groups at the break of the Abu Ghraib scandal.
  • 90 percent of Iraqis detained in American-controlled prisons there were arrested "by mistake" according the Red Cross.
  • 100, 000 protestors marched to Madison Square Garden on Sunday August 29th to denounce the Republican National Convention in New York according to the New York Police Department.
  • 500, 000 protestors marched to Madison Square Garden on Sunday August 29th to denounce the Republican National Convention in New York according to the organizers of the march.
  • 0 "administration officials" have been found accountable for leaking the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame to Robert Novack and other "media personalities."
  • 1, 000, 000 more viewers tuned into a second broadcasting of Paris Hilton's "The Simple Life" than an exclusive live interview with President Bush on ABC on which he stated Saddam Hussein should be executed when captured.
  • 90, 000, 000 people watched 1 nipple mar the Superbowl.
The ability of the human mind to filter and selectively apply extraneous variables in the formulation of decisions is what constitutes intelligence. The mind's tolerance of imprecision, uncertainty and partial truth allows it to achieve flexibility, robustness and pliability. This is both a foundation and goal in the design of intelligent technology. The human mind, however, is susceptible to quaint such notions as fatigue, blurry vision, unruly mobs, partisanship, media influence, lies, propaganda and a host of other such external influences that limit effectiveness in its pursuit of speed, precision and accuracy.

It seems the more numbers we are exposed to, the number we get.


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