Cake Memoirs

‘The social aspect of food along with the inevitable ‘eventness’ of the many rituals surrounding food encounters, makes for an eclectic and dialogical artistic process involving conversations and crossings between the physical, the social, the cultural, the personal, the representational and the pragmatic.’1

This description of Jenny Lawson’s work as an artist describes her performance of ‘Bake me a Cake’ as part of the Compass Festival of Live Art in Leeds in November 2011. In her performance she invites audience members to participate by inviting them to share their favourite recipes for cakes and be a part of the process. This intimate exchange that she divulges into with the audience is incorporating their identities and own memoirs into her performance and thus creating a piece like no other that is unique both socially and culturally.

‘Bake Me a Cake’2

‘Such performance works with memory, raking over enduring ones, stirring half-suppressed ones.’3

Drawing inspiration from this we wanted to make our baking process personal to the people in the library and through this create audience participation even before our performance began. We questioned what random students’ favourite cakes were and why in the library on the 20/3/2013. Through documenting this we were able to bake cakes with participants in mind as well as allowing the sentimental value of the cakes to resonate through our café by quoting their memoirs on a notice board that other audience members could read.

Cake memoirs, 3/5/2013, GCW Library, Photograph by Charlotte Mooney

Cake memoirs, 3/5/2013, GCW Library, Photograph by Charlotte Mooney

We decided the best way to keep our research and process flowing into our final performance was to use multi media performance to project video footage of us recording our baking process onto a wall of the café. The contrast between the live performance of serving the cakes compared to the baking process would hopefully serve as an authentic aspect in showing the final result of the cakes.

‘Baking Process for Pop up Café’4

Word count: 364

  1. Lloyd, Annie (2011) Compass Live Art, Online: (accessed: 28 April 2013) []
  2. Lawson, Jenny (2011) Bake Me a Cake @ Compass, Online: (accessed: 29 April 2013) []
  3. Pearson, Mike (2010) Site-Specific Performance, London: Palgrave Macmillan, p. 57 []
  4. Alcock, Stephanie (2013) Baking Process for Pop up Café 2013, Online: (accessed 13 May 2013) []

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