(Kayla Rodriguez, Wesleyan 2011, helps unload rice at the Zilkha Gallery)
Friday marks the opening of Stan's Cafe: Of All the People In the World, USA at Wesleyan's Zilkha Gallery, Olin Library, and in other locations around Middletown.
This installation uses kernels of rice as metaphorical representations of individual humans. The rice is weighed and measured, matched with an unusual and informative statistic, and displayed for all to consider.
The installation is part of the ongoing Feet To the Fire: Exploring Global Climate Change From Science to Art, an 18-month project, and has been customized, using statistics formulated by Wesleyan scientists, to humanize the issues of climate change. Stan's Cafe is a primarily performance-based arts group which formed in Birmingham, England in 1991, and this installation has been performed in Los Angeles, Melbourne, Madrid and New York City.
(Wesleyan student and football player Larry Belotta, with a rice handoff.)
A lot of rice is needed to allow the installation effectively make its point, and Monday volunteers moved 4,000 pounds of rice into position in 25 and 50 pound bags at the Zilkha Gallery and Olin Library. The rice will be used for the installation, and then re-bagged. Wesleyan is donating the rice used in the installation to local non-profits, food pantries and soup kitchens. So far 6000 pounds has been claimed by organizations like St. Vincent dePaul's, the Shoreline Soup Kitchen, Food Not Bombs at Wesleyan and in Hartford and the American Red Cross.
Non-profits who would like to claim one of the remaining 160 twenty-five pound bags can contact Wesleyan's Frank Kuan (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone at 860-685-2245.
Wesleyan's Center for Fine Arts (CFA) is also still considering local "performers" to act as docents for the installation around town. An application, which details availabilities, can be found at the installation website.