The Sand Counting Lab is both about myself and visitors that came to the installation to count grains of sand, for weeks at a time, as a mantric metaphor for the coming to terms with statistical populations that go unseen or unacknowledged. In that case, the 2 million people incarcerated in the U.S. penal system in 1999. The five iterations of The Sand Counting Lab attempted to gain a sense of proportion between the infinitely small and the infinitely large in order to place human experience somewhere in the middle, halfway between the two extremes, and thus still countable, and hence accountable.
The sand portraits are of grains of sand that have been counted from parts of the world where The Sand Counting Lab has been installed or from places where people have heard about the project and have sent me sand. The images of these grains have been taken with a scanning electron microscope courtesy of Joey Stein at the American Museum of Natural History.