Statistics of Hope


A collaborative exhibition by Ghost of a Dream and Jennifer Dalton.
March 10, 2018 through May 13, 2018

View installation shots of the exhibition

Read about the Statistics of Luck event here

Statistics of Hope explores chance, risk, hope, and truth through an interactive installation inviting viewers to explore the extent to which the odds of health, love and success are in their favor.

This is the first collaboration between Ghost of a Dream and Jennifer Dalton, each of whom makes work that analyzes the human tendency to understand ourselves and our ambitions through predisposed hopes and fears rather than through facts and reason. This project is built on the artists’ shared passions and complementary practices.

In Statistics of Hope the artists have created an immersive installation using tricks from the casino trade. Dark walls recede, soft carpet is underfoot, and alluring objects are arranged on a table to entice participation. The heart of the exhibition is a large sculpture that incorporates various types of gaming tables, where viewers are invited to consider the statistical likelihood behind common hopes, dreams and fears. Rolling one of several 20-sided dice illustrates the odds of living to 100 or being a millionaire; one-minute hourglass timers are inscribed with the number of instances of real-life events that happen in the time it takes for the sand to fall; a shuffleboard table illustrates the ups and downs of making a living from one’s art career. On the walls hang a number of drawings, each illustrating statistics behind hopes, risks and fears. Sources for all the information on view are cited on wall plaques or in a pamphlet available at the front desk. Interspersed among the majority of fact-based statistics presented with sources are some obviously untrustworthy illustrations of immortality, true love and achieving your dreams that are based on superstition, oracles, or the even harder to quantify "life experience" of the artists.

The large central sculpture sits on a room-sized pie chart made from carpet remnants salvaged from a defunct casino in Atlantic City. Casinos are sites where people balance hope against risk and where we play the odds even though we know they are stacked against us. Rather than convert visitors' optimism into the house's cash, Statistics of Hope illustrates true odds, and odd truths, behind our wishes and fears.

We live in a time in history when truth, facts and data are especially contested. People can look at “hard numbers” on a variety of issues and still not feel, comprehend or trust what those facts tell us. Though presented in an inviting way, the ideas behind Statistics of Hope are serious. Statistics of Hope challenges our capacity to think what we want to think, and illustrates the discrepancies between our obsessions, best chances and likely outcomes.

Image: Installation detail, Statistics of Hope, courtesy of Ghost of a Dream and Jennifer Dalton

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