From July 22 to August 4, 2005, Saskatoon artist Cindy Baker invites you to get designing and turn her into a Fashion Plate. Co-sponsored by Fado Performance Inc. and the Drake, this two-week interactive performance is the second installment in Fado’s IDea series.
For Fashion Plate, Cindy Baker will set up a sewing machine and various fabrics and pattern samples at one of Toronto’s hottest new cultural venues, the Drake Hotel. Audience members can drop in daily to meet with Baker and design an item of clothing - or perhaps an entire outfit - for her. Visitors are asked to take the process as far as cutting out the fabric, and then Baker (or her assistant) will finish the sewing job, with the results to be shown at a clothing launch on August 4.
For Baker, this process is about asking audience members to think “…about a large woman's body, about someone else's body, regardless of size, about that body in relation to their own and in relation to fashion, (a visual translation of society's rules or standards about bodies)….”
“One of my interests with this project is in examining the dance people will do between wanting to create something that will fit (and look good) on my (relatively enormous) body, while avoiding creating something so large as to be farcical….This project asks the viewer to look at me not as a performance artist but as a model – they are the artist/designer, so there are many possible layers of awkwardness.
Fashion Plate is about taking categorically/traditionally/predictably disappointed expectations, culminating in nervous-viewer-meets-nervous-artist, and trying to come up with small solutions. What interests me about disappointed expectations is finding the truths hidden within: set up an unrealistic task, and map the strategies used in trying to achieve the task to reveal something real.
I usually take on these tasks to learn more about my limitations, but this project sets out to present small tasks to others who are willing — and I will share with them in return. For this to work, we must both be willing to be a bit vulnerable. It’s a negotiation; the more they share, the more I can share, and the more information changes hands, the more interesting (and perhaps wearable) the end product.”