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A Performative Cookbook
Conceived and Directed by Mike Durkin

Launching 2021 through 2022
With Contributions from Lynda Black, DJ Fogel, Mike Durkin  Rachel O’Hanlon Rodriguez, and Judith Webb.

Season at every step of the way
Be careful not to overfill it
How many folds are too many folds?
Don’t forget to lick the spoon
and you will know it’s done when the oil stops bubbling

Food is community, food is power, food is legacy, food is memory, food is love, food is home, food is life. Food has the capacity of bringing folks from different backgrounds together. Food is personal history, oral history, and oral tradition.  Multidisciplinary artist Mike Durkin plans to look at the role food and recipes play in different regions.  Whether it’s a recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation, or the recipe we’ve made because it makes us feel good, recipes hold special places in our lives. By tracing the past, present, and future stories around food we can forge deeper relationships with our neighbors as well as the environment our food comes from.  The story sharing circles will culminate into constructing a recipe book as well as a presentation and participatory meal.      
In addition to dialogues we will look at the physical impact of making food by cooking some of the recipes. For example if we are making tortillas, we would look at how our body moves in the stretching of the dough, the smells, the sounds, the emotions, and the stories that surround it.  The action of getting our hands is just another way to relive the recipes.
Mike will work with participants recording their stories, being present while individuals are preparing their recipe, developing an intimate and personal connection through the recipes and sharing of food.  Focus will be paid on the unwritten directions of the meal preparation, such as knowing the meal is done by the sound of the oil, the smell of the caramelization, or other senses.  Mike will explore rituals for the participant, like only making a meal during a specific holiday, using a specific type of frying pan for the meal, or listening to specific music while cooking.  Mike will use these recipes to develop the cookbook.
With select participants, Mike will commission various forms of art that are a response to their contributed recipes.  These could take the form of video, writing, audio, photography, sculpture, or performance.  
The program would be designed for recurring participants as well as drop-in participants.  For the drop-in participants, we would collect recipes and accompanying stories to be included in the cookbook.  For recurring participants, we would develop the cookbook, accompanying photos/art/video to be included, as well as develop the performative sharing of the recipes.
All of us together will create a recipe book.  The aim of the project is to look at the diversity of community members to tell the story of the different regional recipes. The recipe book will look at the diverse population through the recipes, the recipes you grew up with, and the recipes we want to leave behind.  We will also look at the story behind the recipe, what ingredients, memories, settings to paint a vivid picture of the local  experience.  This will culminate in a hard copy cookbook, as well as a digitized version.  The printed pages will consist of  photography, and drawings contributed by the participants.  The digital version will consist of video, links, and audio contributed by the participants.      
To launch the cookbook we plan to hold an exhibition which will consist of sharing video, images, audio, and other ephemera from the recipe collection process, as well as sharing a couple of dishes and stories from the contributors as a community meal.  


Version 1.0 is the beginning, the first draft.  Mike reached out to artists and friends to begin this exploration of creating art from recipes.  The artists created powerful video, poetry, photography, and sculpture that enhances their story and recipe.


Follow the development of And You Will Know It's Done When…
@MikeDurkinProjects on instagram



Staten Island, NY


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