Ben Gorodetsky: Is there a unifying theme or aesthetic to your curation for DBC?

Cindy Baker: The title of the project is Earthly Tents, which is from a passage in Corinthians that says “While we live in these earthly tents, we groan and sigh”. I’d been planning the event around the theme of failing bodies, and I thought the idea of referring to our bodies as tents seemed sort of ridiculous in a very vivid way. Each of the pieces in the evening reflects on the idea of bodily failure but I wanted to stay away from really typical conversations about performer’s bodies which start breaking down with age because of the strain our careers put on them.

BG: Of all the artists/acts on your bill, whose work are you most familiar with? And why did you book them (again)?

CB: I’m most familiar with Blair Brennan’s work. Blair and I have known each other for over 20 years. He and I have been talking about this project for over a year; he’s the first person I asked to be involved in this project, and I sort of built it around the conversations we’ve had about our own bodies over the past few years.

BG: Conversely, which artist/act are you least familiar with? And why did you book them (for the first time)?

CB: I’m least familiar with Brad Necyk’s work. I wanted to include mental illness as part of the conversation and I know his work has centred on those issues. It’s important to me, as part of respecting our bodies and what they do for us, to remember that we’re not separate from our bodies. Part of that is recognizing that the brain is part of the body. That’s why the idea of “earthly tents” is so ridiculous to me, but it’s a really common way of thinking about ourselves. I try to be conscious about how I conceptualize myself; as a person with disability, I want to acknowledge my body for what it does rather than what it doesn’t do, but I also need to be able to have conversations about being frustrated when things break down, and to mourn losses when they happen.

BG: Historically DBC has served as an incubator and laboratory for many emerging artists in Edmonton. Was there an event, mentor, or organization that was influential to you as an emerging artist?

CB: Blair Brennan was one of the first people I worked with in the art community when I was still a young art student, and my relationship with him has been really foundational in many ways as an artist and curator over the years. I worked with Blair in the Fine Arts Building Gallery as an undergraduate 24 years ago. Latitude 53 was the organization that had the most influence on me in my formative years; Todd Janes hired me as an intern fresh out of my BFA, and he and that organization honestly introduced me to contemporary art, performance, the artist-run community, and curatorship.

BG: If you could curate anyone (living or dead, local or global) for a DBC, who would it be?

CB: I’m really passionate about performance art, but most of the performance art that is really important to me is the kind of thing that wouldn’t necessarily be a good fit for the DBC format. One of the artists that has been most influential to me is Mike Kelley, though he isn’t often considered a performer. I’d love to invite Mike Kelley to create a performance for DBC; one of his, I think, most important works, Day is Done, involved creating reconstructed scenes from found photographs, and really queering the way we think about our histories. I’d love for him to create something Edmonton-specific.

— Ben Gorodetsky

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Dirt Buffet Cabaret
Thursday, May 2
8 PM
$10 or best offer at the door