History of Cooking with Mama


Cooking with Mama is an evolving webcast project initiated by artist Hiwa K in 2006, that entails preparing a meal with a group of participants under the instructions of his mother who lives in Iraq. Cooking with Mama first took place regularly in the kitchen at the Art Academy where Hiwa studied. Since then it has been contextualized in many locations around the world. Each time the project is carried out by a new group of people and a new recipe is handed down.

Cooking with Mama is a process of exchange and collaboration. Over Skype Mama shares her recipes, Hiwa translating her Kurdish into German or English and together the group follows the instructions, evaluating each phases of cooking. At the same time the instructions are being translated into other different languages and forward them to other countries who are cooking with us simultaneously.

2010 Biennial in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
2008 Summer Drafts in Bolzano, Italy.
2008 Staedelschule, Frankfurt, Germany and 18th Street Arts Center,
Santa Monica, California, USA.
2008 Babel Lounge during the exhibition so called Babel at Pargamon
Museum, Berlin.
2007  World Chat 7080 at Wyspa Institute of Art, Gdansk /Poland.
2006 United Nations Plaza, Berlin.
2006 Kitchen at the Art Academy in Mainz, Germany.

Watch Cooking with Mama from 2006  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5w0Mr2xiNls

Hiwa’s Reflection Fr0m Cooking with Mama 2006

In summer 2006 there were already four years without seeing my mom after I left Iraq when I organized this event in the kitchen at the Art Academy in Mainz, Germany, for the first time. This cooking event was the first encounter with how I feel when seeing her after so many years apart.

For me, to involve somebody who is so related to me for so many years into my work via internet is a mixture of many things not that easy to embrace them by using words.

There was such a distance to her, and in spite of my longing to see her it made me quite uncertain how to continue with this digital Mama. Is it her or not? That is what I was asking myself the whole time.

Sure it was Mama, demanding as she used to be, when we were cooking together at home. I was to be polite, listening to her, following the instructions and translating properly her commands to my cooking team (we cook every Friday for the whole academy). Our times in kitchen at home are replaced today with cooking with my friends. Today, the only way I could get back the emotions connected to cooking with her is to contact her through Internet messenger. I felt very intimate with the cooking team, who are good friends of mine. So being in the position of translating a certain food structure which is hundreds years old and is coming from definitely another reality and different way of understanding digitalization, I experienced the extended intimacy of my Moms environment. I was translating from my language to another European language, helping the team to cook what I have been eating for so many years. Sharing this taste with all students of the academy was creating another space which goes beyond the art school as an institution. Its was closeness, about sharing, about understanding the others.

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