Posted by Adam on December 20th, 2016
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”).
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.
Posted by Adam on September 6th, 2016
Latitude 53 is pleased to announce the festival line-up for Visualeyez 2016: Kindness, with: Christine Brault (QC), Chun Hua Catherine Dong (QC), Linda Rae Dornan (NB), Alexandria Inkster (AB), and Johannes Zits (ON).
This year’s Visualeyez festival, taking place in and around Latitude 53 in downtown Edmonton, September 19–24, brings together five artists to explore the theme “Kindness”. Curated by Todd Janes, this year’s festival emphasizes personal exchanges of care and self-care, and the material traces these leave behind. The festival’s week-long scope includes a space for collaborative development by the artists, followed by three celebratory days of public performance over the weekend of September 22–24.
This year’s performances include both staged, public actions, and one-on-one gestures, as well as longer process works that develop over the festival, becoming visible during the final weekend.
Within kindness is the belief in generosity and reciprocity, where artists will extend out offers, seeking little personal benefit except the willingness to exchange moments. Both Alexandria Inkster and Christine Brault will perform publicly, meeting passersby in fleeting intimate moments. Inkster folds paper into a gift as long as eye contact with another is maintained while Brault washes participants hands and uses the water to write their name manifesting the rituals of care. Linda Rae Dornan will also work throughout the week re-animating found objects during regular walks with participants, bringing value and narratives to disregarded objects—creating a kind of installation, echoed in that constructed by Johannes Zits in the gallery for his durational performance.
As always, Visualeyez provides multiple points of entry for audiences, welcoming members of Latitude 53’s community to discuss the artists work over the festival, participate in one-on-one performances, and watch staged performances together. Visualeyez also includes an important online component, as the Festival Animator records the events in writing and uses the blog platform at visualeyez.org to expose the festival to audiences who cannot view it firsthand—and deepen the experience for those who can.