Jun 11, 2012 • By

Food videos transform buildings into theaters

Artist Rosemary Williams grew up with Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls and remembers vividly the distinctive “pop” of the opening container.

This weekend at Northern Spark – a celebration of art and creativity in Minneapolis. – Williams took that intimate childhood memory and made it big … really big.

In her video contribution titled “Mom’s Cookies,” Williams projected her videos on parts of the Pillsbury Mill complex along the Minneapolis riverfront.

The videos showed her dressed as a glamorous mother-figure making four different products – Pillsbury Moist Supreme Dark Chocolate Cake, Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls, Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper Classic Stroganoff and Betty Crocker Wild Blueberry Muffins.

We talked to Williams on Saturday night, while “Mom’s Cookies” was on display, in this video.

Why giant video projections of General Mills products?

“The project itself is focused on the history of the St. Anthony Falls site as the birthplace of the flour mills that became General Mills,” she said. “I am interested in the way that the physical landscape links viewers to history and to the web of social and economic influences that spring from that history.”

In the 19th century, St. Anthony Falls attracted pioneers and industry, with their natural source of energy. It became the site of sawmills and flour mills, which eventually led to the birth of General Mills and Pillsbury.

Williams told us her intention with “Mom’s Cookies” is for people to think about the connection between St. Anthony Falls and what is in the grocery stores and on their tables.

More than 100 events were part of this year’s Northern Spark, and Williams’ enormous video installations garnered a good deal of attention.

As a multimedia artist, this isn’t her first time behind the camera. She was awarded the Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Artists, and she exhibits her work internationally.

Now that “Mom’s Cookies” is out of the proverbial oven, she says she can focus on her next project – her first feature film.

Editor’s note: Williams also talked about her “Mom’s Cookies” project in this clip on the Northern Spark website. She also was interviewed about it in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.