Cindy Baker invites you to get designing and turn her into a Fashion Plate. This two-week interactive performance, presented at and sponsored by The Drake Hotel (Toronto), is the second performance project in FADO’s IDea series.
For Fashion Plate, Cindy Baker will set up a sewing machine and various fabrics and pattern samples at Toronto’s 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 the last day of the performance.
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).”
Baker goes one to write:
“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.
Cindy Baker’s Fashion Plate
By Allyson Mitchell
“Cindy’s performance is about making her body visible — literally forcing people to consider it. Baker’s excitement at the success of her performance comes from moments when participants figured out something about her body in relation to the clothing they were designing.”