Posts Tagged ‘Lucy Hobbs’

Creating Meaning in the Cafe

Before we started baking, my group decided to look into more detail which cakes the public like the most and the reason behind it, whether a memory or an event that may go with it (Christmas cake.) By asking people this question in the library, we were relating to the site and getting individuals personal thoughts across instead of being seen as a number. We also took note of which floor of the library we collected each thought, to add to the setting and appear visually to the reader.

Such opinions were:
• Andrew- “caterpillar cake because I love birthdays!” 20th March 2013, first floor.
• Emily- “Chocolate cake! It cheers me up when I’m upset; my grandma makes the best one ever!” 19th March 2013, second floor.

Jenny Lawson inspiring us to record peoples memories through food

Jenny Lawson inspiring us to record peoples memories through food

A person who inspired this idea was Jenny Lawson in her performance ‘Bake Me a Cake’. By asking her audience members to pick a cake which brings them back memories and a song that best fits that memory, she would then make the cake and decorate it in front of them whilst the audience would drink tea and participate in the re-creation of their memory through the food. Her performance helped one of our themes of trying to bring a communal atmosphere into an isolated space. To relate to Lawson, we have decided to write questions onto some of the cakes to become more personal to whoever picks it up and create a relationship with the customer and the cafe. Similar to Jenny Lawson, through the poster we made, we want to re-create an individual’s memory for everyone to experience when they share that recipe.

a photo of one personal cupcake we made

a photo of one ‘personal cupcake’ we made

The outfits we wear will also play a large part in our performace, similar to Hunt and Darton’s pineapple hats which I mentioned in a previous post, we too have props to represent the space we are in. By using Lincolnshire maps, circling the library on it and turning them into extremely large bow head pieces, we are making apparent the chosen site we are using as well as appearing unique and memorable for those in the library. Also, gluing a genuine cupcake in the centre will show our performance clearly and add a fun touch to the outfits.

photo of waitressing outfits and Hunt and Darton inspired head pieces

photo of waitressing outfits and Hunt and Darton inspired head pieces

For our performance in the pop-up Cafe, we aim to portray the history of the library through grain and the statistics influenced by Stan’s Cafe but in a modern working environment of a 9-5 o’clock running cafe. We also want to state clearly the division of class structure like how it would have been in a factory but also re-create a space and transform it into a whole new meaning of entering the cafe. This will be helped by the influence of Hunt and Darton’s unique outfits and underlying strong meaning behind their work but also the decorations and personal touches we add to the space (a rug, table cloths, flowers, bunting and a film of us recording our process projected on the wall.) Jenny Lawson has ultimately inspired us to create personal and meaningful elements of the performance through the memory of food to make each customer feel individual, which we aspire to achieve in the final performance.

photos of sections from the performance

photos of sections from the performance

Works sited:

Posted: May 9th, 2013
Categories: The Grain Escape, Uncategorized
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Cafe Voices

We decided to include an audio-devise into the cafe, the audio is used for documentation purposes. However, when listening to it back ,it suggests the cafe met our aims and specification that we had when having the initial idea. From listening to the conversations taking place between customers it suggests a communal environment was created. Social class was a common subject matter. Additionally, a cafe atmosphere was established, clearly showing that we successfully managed to change the free-empty space.

Word Count: 80


The final touches


(Rim Petros, Friday 3rd May 2013, The Great Central Library)

Jane Lindon wrote an article describing the experience of visiting Jenny Lawson’s Bake Me A Cake. The article observes Lawson’s exhibition.  I have quoted Lindon’s opinion regarding the visual aspect of the cafe as she  notes, the cafe clearly “demonstrates the thinking and the doing; the theory and the practice; and, significantly, the meta-discursive nature and the multiple modes of knowledge drawn in through the research process.”
In terms of The Grain Escape and transferring the free space, our specification stated that: “We aim to make  the cafe visually enticing . But we also want the added detail to  represent the research we have undertaken over the weeks of developing our project.”
Below are the added detail that we included in the cafe’s end result that represent the devloping process of The Grain Esape.

The statistics  that we sourced from the library’s staff memeber, Lesley, were presented onto the blackboard positoned on the cake counter.

(Naomi Shaw, Friday 3rd May 2013, The Great Central Library

We placed a notice next to the tables that included the names of library users that told us their favourite cakes.


(Naomi Shaw, Friday 3rd May 2013, The Great Central Library)

The grain reprsented the research undertaken to find out the history of the building
GetAttachment (2)

(Naomi Shaw, Friday 3rd May 2013, The Great Central Library)

The carved sign “The Grain Escape” symbolises labour and manufacturing through the physical exercution of carving the words out of the wood.
our utopia

 (Charlotte Mooney , Friday 3rd May 2013, Great Central Library Lincoln)


Word Count: 240





Grain Escape to the Beach

As I mentioned in a previous post, our group are interested in photographing every person that comes into our cafe to document them individually and fit with the theme of making every person separate and no longer a number. We are keeping this idea but no longer having each person hold a sign with their student number on.

To add to the style that we hope to create, a fun and out of the ordinary experience for a person to have when entering the library, we believed that taking a photo less formal would take the visitors out of the ‘work driven’ atmosphere of the library. By having a large poster of a beach scene or any form of utopian landscape and having our customers stand in front for a photo with a white board and write down their dreams and aspirations in life, we would capture them away from the library and into a relaxed environment but also fit with our theme of creating a middle and a working class system within the cafe. Those who have a photo represent the working class in the factory and their hope for achievement a yearly holiday.

A photo from the utopian photography section, on the performance

A photo from the utopian photography section, on the performance

Every hour or so, one of us waitresses will go into the centre of the library and print out the photographs and stick them onto a large blackboard which will be placed in our cafe with ‘Specials’ written on. This is because it fits with the theme of a cafe but also represents each person being unique and may be visually appealing for people to come over and look. We also came up with the idea of taking every person’s polystyrene cup after they had their drink, write their name on it and hang the cup on the string by a peg like a washing line in front of the window for everyone to see and for those who visited to leave their mark.

photo of customers cups hung on washing line to 'leave their mark'

photo of customers cups hung on washing line to ‘leave their mark’

word count: 318

Posted: May 6th, 2013
Categories: Library, The Grain Escape
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Class System in the Cafe

By keeping in theme with the libraries history of being a grain factory, we have decided to show the class system of the factory through the use of our customers entering the cafe. This will show the reality of the working environment as well as separating the audience and involving them more within our piece, helping to put our message across.

To make apparent the process and cycle within a factory, we decided to create five different stations within the cafe for each of us to be involved in and rotate clockwise every half an hour in a regimental fashion. This is to portray the repetitive structure of factory work as well showing that the working class have to work for their cupcake by participating in the tasks we undertake. These consist of decorating cupcakes, the photography of the utopian scene, standing at the entrance with signs saying “first class service, free cakes”, “Want a cake? Then work for it!” and “please wait to be seated”, another person moving grain from one stool to another and a final waitress making tea and coffee behind the counter.

As audience members walk through the entrance, greeted by the waitress holding signs, they will be given a name badge by the utopian photographer with MC or WC written on (middle class or working class) next to their name. If the customer is MC, they are welcome to sit down and have their order taken whilst being brought over a selection of cakes already made by ourselves. If the visitor is WC, they will be shown over to one of the waitresses and either have to decorate their own cake or have to move a certain number of grains from one stool to the other using tweezers (as explained in my last post.) This separation of the classes is to distinguish that the working class citizens of the factory had to work for their rewards. They will then be shown over to the utopian poster and write their aspiration on the white board and have a photo, making apparent the struggle but enthusiasm to aim higher.

Lincoln University Library when it was a grain Warehouse

By giving the audience members a different class, we will automatically decide what their experience in the cafe will be like. In a sense, our performance can be related to the audio tour “As if it Were the Last Time” by Circumstance, because we are in charge of what our performers do and although we are not including an audio tour, the waitresses hold ultimate control over the primary audiences actions when we distinguish their class.

We aim to completely transform the space by recreating the history of the building but in a modern way through the use of a cafe instead of a factory. Also, by making the room visually appealing with jazz music and decorations, we aim to break the expectations of the library and create a whole new meaning for going there. This is similar to the work of Christo and Jean- Claude’s, in the sense that by covering or transforming a well known area to many people, the space is recognised more and seen in a new concept.

Christo and Jean-Claude cover trees

Christo and Jean-Claude cover trees

Our performance is also similar to the artist Rachel Whiteread, who creates sculptures by filling the negative space of an object and taking away the positive space. It is possible to relate our work to hers because we also aim to bring emphasis to an aspect of something that is there but not always recognised. By exaggerating the class system within the cafe, we will clearly show the working state of the factory like Whiteread concretes the negative of a house and making the negative shown.

Rachel Whiteread, concrete of inside a house

Rachel Whiteread, concrete of inside a house

Works Sited:

Word count: 611

Posted: May 5th, 2013
Categories: Library, The Grain Escape
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