The Saint George’s Cross, the emblem of England, is stitched into flags of differing sizes, each stitch representing the number of recorded crimes involving a knife or sharp implement in selected regions in England in 2013-14.
Threads trail, left hanging in anticipation of more crimes yet to be committed, the installation never quite complete, awaiting new data ready for the stitching to resume. Each flag’s dimensions vary drastically, as the relative area of each flag corresponds to the crimes per 100,000 population. Each stitch corresponds to the absolute number of crimes per region.
London’s flag size is distinctly larger in size than any of the others flags in the series due its large population, yet the entire canvas is covered in stitches, reflecting the reporting of over 10076 incidents that year.
Contrast this with Surrey, showing the lowest number of incidents, the forty three knife crimes in the region barely completing a stitched one-line cross.
There are 38 regions in the UK and Knife Crime focuses on five of them. London, 10,076*; the second largest Greater Manchester, 1643; the smallest Surrey and two other regions, Essex, 43: 531 and Devon and Cornwall, 301.
This piece was produced in collaboration with data researcher Miriam Quick.
The flags are based on data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS)
*London Metropolitan area (10076) plus the City of London (14 crimes)
Exhibition: Knife Nation was exhibited at Spektrum Gallery in Berlin, Germany in November 2015