Critical Cooking Show - depatriarchise design, Mayar El Bakry, and Romi Lee - Cooking with Stories

Cooking with Stories

depatriarchise design, Mayar El Bakry, and Romi Lee


depatriarchise design, Mayar El-Bakry and Romi Lee, Cooking with Stories, 2020.

Critical Cooking Show
November 2020

In a long, narrow, modernist kitchen, Mayar El-Bakry, a Swiss-Egyptian designer, is cooking. Using anonymously designed cooking tools and objects ubiquitous to the SWANA (Southwest Asia and North Africa) region, she is preparing a variety of dishes: falafel, ma’amoul, kousa mahshi, tajine and other staples of the region. Each cooked dish highlights one protagonist tool or object, telling a different story. As we delve into these fragments of everyday home cooking, the voices and rich diasporic narratives of people from the SWANA region—who are now immigrants in Europe—unfold.

The show is an experimental visual document that intimately embraces the overlooked, invisible, marginalised design that surrounds us, drawing on personal memories, experiences and the collections of mundane kitchen tools gathered over the years and brought to Europe upon emigrating. In the film, storylines of memories, activities and sensual experiences are carefully interwoven and brought to life through a combination of sound, moving images, photographs and texts. In this way, overlooked narratives unfold and offer the view of a rich landscape, instead of the binaries that prevail in both design and cooking.

Migration & Immigration, Design
Food & Cooking, Middle East, Memory
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The production of this video was supported by Prohelvetia.

Critical Cooking Show is a collaboration between e-flux Architecture and the Istanbul Design Biennial within the context of its fifth edition, Empathy Revisited: Designs for more than one.


depatriarchise design is a nonprofit design research platform based in Basel, working across different mediation formats. Their manifold investigative and activist practice is rooted in intersectional feminism. Founded in 2017 by Maya Ober and Anja Neidhardt, depatriarchise design was born out of frustration with a design discipline that is deeply interwoven with discriminating structures.

Mayar El Bakry is a Swiss-Egyptian graphic designer and design researcher based in Zurich, working in and around the peripheries of design. She uses food and cooking as a means to create spaces of discourses, exchange and dialogue and communal reflection.

Romi Lee is a Swiss-Israeli filmmaker, video artist, and documentary director. She studied fine arts at the Midrasha in Beit Berl and cinema at the Minshar School of Art in Tel Aviv.

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