Pönnukökuverkunin / The Pancake Production

2019. Performance and Installation in Outvert Artspace (Ísafjörður, Iceland)

The work consisted of: Icelandic pancakes, concrete structures, kitchen cabinet, stove and pan, bowl and utensils, pallet, salt from Reykjanes and water.

Funded by Vestfjarðarstofa and Myndlistarsjóður

One batch of pancakes were baked in the space each day and stacked up on the pallet. Each pancake was then carefully rubbed with salted water and salt from Reykjanes. They were left on concrete fractions to dry, turned twice each day so they would dry evenly. The next day they were arranged in a pile formed on a concrete structure. This process was repeated for 9 days from 14:00 to 18:00

Saltfish-production in Ísafjörður’s past is only accessible to me through old pictures and the towns landscape. I try to visualize the women standing by their stations by the beach. They receive the fish, wash it with quick movements in water, salt and stack. The flat fillet is then spread out on the rocky landscape and turned regularly while it dries in the sun. In the end the fish is stacked into a tall and sturdy looking pile that reminds me of a brick-wall.

I compare their movements to the way my grandmother makes pancakes. She stands by a low-heated stove in her kitchen. She blends the dry ingredients with a milky egg mixture and stirs together. When she pours the dough onto the pan it makes a paper-thin surface while she masterfully handles the butter-greased pan. One after the other the pancakes pile up to make a tall bundle on a decorated plate.

The Pancake Production is a performance by Anna Winther where she sets up stations that are based on the work of women in the saltfish-production in Ísafjörður from the 19th and early 20th century. Her grandmother is from Ísafjörður. Anna treats her pancake recipe through a modernized version of that process. In the performance she tries to get to know this unfamiliar process of her fore-mothers through a recipe that is both familiar and dear to her. Through this process, different recipes and food traditions from Icelandic women from the past and present are woven together.