The domestic goddess is older, paler, and – although she didn’t think it possible – she is even more exhausted. She has lost her sweet, sticky loveliness and her glorious homely scent. She has forgotten how to let herself be wooed by ginger, vanilla and lemon. She has baked and eaten-up all her childhood dreams and desires. But without her ‘woman’s work,’ she is simply…‘done’. Jenny requires your cake recipes and memories old and new. Please inspire her with your stories of cake-times-past: delicious, momentous, disastrous or beautiful. Join her in her fantasy-kitchen to watch her bake for you, admire her, drink tea with her; and she will reward you with the greatest gift of all: homemade cake.
The comfort of cake and the tyranny of the domestic goddess. Full of ambiguity and generosity. Jenny will actually bake cakes to our specification in return for our stories. We can hang out all day if we want. We’ll recognise much that is familiar and be set a little off balance by the unexpected. And we get to eat cake. Food and home and comfort have such varied meanings for us all, it’s going to be a right mix up. Annie Lloyd
The domestic goddess is older, paler, and – although she didn’t think it possible – she is even more exhausted. She has lost her sweet, sticky loveliness and her glorious homely scent. She has forgotten how to let herself be wooed by ginger, vanilla and lemon. She has baked and eaten-up all her childhood dreams and desires. But without her ‘woman’s work,’ she is simply…‘done’.
She needs your help!
For the Compass Festival of Live Art, Jenny will bake and recreate the memories of her audience.You will be invited to request your favourite cake, cakes made by significant others, or a cake for any memory or occasion in your life you would like commemorating (past, present or future). Requests can be as creative as you like. You will be asked to provide a name/title, choose a song (from an eclectic, and nostalgic collection) that best represents your memory, and specify up to four features including but not limited to flavours, colours, shapes, textures and size. In addition, you will be able to add your own unique ingredients in the form of personal details, anecdotes, stories and memories .
Throughout the performace the artist will play ‘domestic goddess’ and design, bake, decorate and assemble the cakes as requested, while the audience watches her work, keeps her company, drinks tea, talks about cake, takes photographs, licks the bowl and join in the construction of a sensory, fantasy world of cake.
At the end of the final day, the finished cakes will be cut up and offered to all to share in the communal eating of their-lives-in-cake.
The proposed piece is a continuation of Jenny’s ongoing artistic (and personal) relationship with cakes and baking. This work develops from the previous performance If I Knew You Were Coming I’d Have Baked a Cake commissioned by Alsager Arts Centre Gallery as part of their Curating Knowledge Residency programme in 2009, during which the artist set out to ‘bake’ her autobiography out of cake.
Ingredients for Bake me a Cake have been kindly donated by Exquisite Handmade Cakes. Compass is very grateful for their support.
Exquisite Handmade Cakes began as a small family-run business. They still have the same basic principles they had at the beginning; providing customers with the highest quality, individually prepared cakes that reflect dedication to their enjoyment and satisfaction. They supply an extensive range of products to a wide variety of customers, and everything they produce is always lovingly prepared, handmade and of the highest quality. Exquisite Handmade Cakes aims to please their customers and provide them with a product that is fresh, exciting but most importantly, infinitely satisfying.
About the Artist
Jenny Lawson makes solo and collaborative performance work for the theatre studio, gallery, and site-specific contexts, and has been shown across a number of venues in the UK and theatre festivals both nationally and internationally.
Her work is rooted in a tradition of contemporary performance and live art practices and is often concerned with femininity, domesticity, food, spectacle, popular culture, and the autobiographical. Recently her work has involved ethnographic explorations of contemporary food practices and engaged in a variety of food sites and phenomena including kitchens, restaurants, food festivals, cookery classes, television chefs and food media.
‘Food practice’ is a term that the artist uses to encompass both her lived experiences and artistic explorations with food. Like many, she is practicing food everyday, that is, she is making it, eating it and watching it. These ‘food practices’ are embedded in her experiential vocabulary and form part of her autobiography, social and cultural landscape, and impact upon relationships and identities as a woman, artist, researcher, daughter, lover, friend etc. It is these engagements with food that the artists seeks to re-present in her artistic ‘food practice’ and in doing so explore, question and critique these experiences from within.
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. In this way, Jenny considers her practice to be culturally relevant and socially engaged.