In a disused factory in the back streets of Birmingham, Stan’s Cafe has set up an installation that is thought provoking and entertaining in a quirky kind of way.
Think rice - 112 tonnes of the stuff carefully placed and mounded up into giant peaks or reduced to one grain respectfully placed in its own space. What gives this rice meaning are the statements that accompany each exhibit. The last person to die of small pox in 1978 is juxtaposed next to a huge mound of rice representing the number of people who died from the disease in 1967.
Other eye catching statements include the number of people who watched the final of The Apprentice, deaths through smoking and McDonald’s customers. Some are quite uplifting and others are really quite depressing, including the total number of prisoners in the USA and the number of people with Aids in Africa. This is an ever evolving project, everyday new statistics are gleaned, carefully weighed out into the equivalent in rice and added to the exhibition.
Topical stories are brought to life including the number of XL passengers stranded world wide, quite a pile by all accounts. Mountains of rice representing populations of various countries which is visually quite dramatic and you get drawn into the whole experience so that you want to know what the next range of mountains represents.
It is directed by James Yarker and Craig Stephens, who also see that the rice is not wasted but washed and sold back to the supplier or donated to the World Food Programme and given to the those in need.