Artist
Cindy Baker

Canada
www.cindy-baker.ca

Cindy Baker is a contemporary artist based in Western Canada whose work engages with queer, gender, race, disability, fat, and art discourses. Committed to ethical community engagement and critical social enquiry, Baker’s interdisciplinary research-based practice draws upon 25 years working, volunteering, and organizing in the communities of which she is part. She moves fluidly between the arts, humanities, and social sciences, emphasizing the theoretical and conceptual over material concerns. Baker holds an MFA from the University of Lethbridge where she received a SSHRC grant for her research in performance in the absence of the artist’s body; she has exhibited and performed across Canada and internationally. Helping found important community and advocacy organizations over the course of her career, Baker continues to maintain volunteer leadership roles across her communities.

Series
Performance Resolution(s)

Resolution:
a firm decision to do or not to do something.
the quality of being determined or resolute.
the action of solving a problem.
the process of reducing or separately something into its components.
the smallest interval measurable by an optical instrument.
the conversion of something abstract into another form.

ARTISTS
Cindy Baker
David Bateman
Kate Barry
lo bil
Kiera Boult
Alexis Bulman
Ulyssess Castellanos
Chipo Chipaziwa
Keith Cole & Jeanne Randolph
W. A. Davison
Emily DiCarlo
Claudia Edwards
Vanessa Dion Fletcher
Serge Olivier Fokoua
Marie-Claude Gendron
Moynan King
Hélène Lefebvre
Tess Martens & Holly Timpener
Roy Mitchell
Laura Paolini
Diana Lopez Soto
Jordyn Stewart
Clayton Windatt

Performance Resolution(s) is FADO’s 2021/2022 at-home residency series. Participating artists were chosen from a Canada-wide open call for submissions inviting artists to propose performance-based research projects that engaged with the theme of ‘resolution.’



It goes without saying that 2020 changed everything. The world is now a very different place than before. (We resolve never to say, “it goes without saying” again.) For artists working in live art and performance, events were cancelled and festivals postponed. What happens to embodied practice when the bodies can’t be together irl? With dizzying speed, we were compelled to bring performance to the tiny back-lit screen as an alternative. Sometimes that worked. Without being able to gather in large groups, sometimes we leaned on old tricks (what performance artist doesn’t know what it’s like to perform in a half-empty theatre?) to shoehorn our work into the current context. More often than not, to keep moving, we stuck with the script—over producing and addicted to presentation.



But thankfully the new year brings with it fresh starts, new directions and an opportunity to reflect. We make promises in the form of new year’s resolutions—a private or public personal commitment to change. Most resolutions dissolve by the end of March, or sooner. If 2020 taught us anything, it taught us that transformation comes slowly. The real breakthroughs are still in the (social) distance, but a seed has been planted.

Our inspirations for Performance Resolution(s) are the hope for a better 2021 for all, and a profound performance exercise designed by Marilyn Arsem that we think about from time to time. Read Marilyn’s exercise below.

Some of the projects in this at-home residency series will have tangible outcomes; many will not. The point was not to find to way to support artists through replicating old ways of doing things by keeping the hamster wheel of production going. Instead, we encourage a slowing down and a deep dive into what it means to have resolve, even if you don’t have the answer. 

Watch this space for updates on various projects and research contributions as they reveal themselves over the 2021–2022 programming year.

Performance
Resolution(s) by Cindy Baker

Over several months in 2021, I created performances for people I know, using their yards and/or the spaces outside their windows as my stage and source of inspiration, creating small intimate experimental performances with no preconceived themes or ideas. 

For this residency supported by FADO, I resolved to begin to claw back the things I’ve lost over the past year, in small and incremental gestures.

I resolved:
to perform for live audiences rather than virtual ones.
to see other artists and close friends (if only through a window).
to spend more time outside to work with the weather rather than against it or in spite of it.
to have intimate encounters.
to go to friends’ homes.
to make new performances, to experiment, to learn, to move, to think, to feel.

My practice has tended to focus on issues of identity and corporeality as they relate to gender, queerness, fatness, and disability. The work has always come from personal experience but focuses on universal themes. As my work has evolved, my practice has focused more and more on the deeply personal. It’s less concrete, literal, and intellectual than it once was and has shifted gradually to work which is more poetic. The process is still relatively new territory to me, but I’m navigating it through experimentation, into a place that includes concepts and ideas that are more ephemeral, and less visible or less concerned with public access/interpretation of the “meaning” than before.

As an artist that has generally been most comfortable with a working method that privileges research, planning, writing, making, and gathering, performance is usually the culmination of months or years of labour. Recently I’ve started to shift to a more intuitive style of performance as a way of creating new knowledge; as a way to exercise and increase my flexibility and responsivity. For this residency, I forefronted intuition, putting planning not just on the back burner, but leaving it out of the recipe altogether (as much as that’s possible.) 

This project demonstrates a commitment to a deeper exploration of process than I’ve engaged in the past, using myself as subject, object, and, in many ways, the primary audience. Elaborating on a larger exploration of memory, bodies, and trauma via intensely intimate experiences, I’m pursuing the goal of deep affective experience. I want to be changed by my work, and to examine that change so I can better understand myself and become a better artist.

Performance Yellow

This fragrance opens us to the question, has the show started? It's winter, the theatre is colder than the street and the room is filled with people and all their winter smells: wet faux leather, down, too much shampoo, and beer breath. The atmosphere is a trickster. Am I late, am I early?

Top Notes

yellow mandarin, mimosa

Middle Notes

honey, chamomile, salt

Base Notes

narcissus, guaiac wood, piss, beer