Latitude 53 presents Visualeyez 2017, the seventeenth edition of Canada's annual festival of performance art, from September 26–October 1, exploring the theme of awkwardness

Go Easy on Steve, Steve

Posted by Adam on December 20th, 2016

Breanna Thompson

During the 2016 Visualeyez festival, the students of University of Alberta professor Natalie Loveless’s Fall 2016 seminar course “Ephemerality and Sustainability in Contemporary Art” (ArtH 456/556) responded to performances at the festival.

How do we perform kindness? How are things that feel “kind” sometimes really not that kind? Johannes Zits, in his performance Go Easy on Steve, Steve, explores the difference between acts of kindness and what it takes to internalize self-love, and he does this by using performance as a mode of directed discovery (during my interview with him he called it a “focused attention”).

Johannes Zits, photo by Adam Waldron-Blain

The paisleys and florals that sit in a pile under his bare feet, at the foot of his ironing board, waffle between abandon and possibility. These materials are loaded with projected importance as we follow Zits through his ensuing wardrobe transitions. The cottons and polyesters are no more facades to be adorned than they are a rug to stand on while ironing, patiently waiting to be the next costume for self-appraisal. Books lie flagged and highlighted on his desk, full of self-help potential, and a wall of illegible thoughts on paper are spotlighted beside a plinth holding what can only be precious stones, so often categorized as healing.