AccScience Publishing / AC / Volume 1 / Issue 1 / DOI: 10.36922/ac.399
Cite this article
Journal Browser
Volume | Year
News and Announcements
View All

A montage of small movements

Petra Johnson1*
Show Less
1 South Road, Stourbridge DY8 3YB, UK
Submitted: 28 February 2023 | Accepted: 7 April 2023 | Published: 20 April 2023
© 2023 by the Author(s). This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution -Noncommercial 4.0 International License (CC-by the license) ( )

In 2016, I was invited by musician/composer B6 to devise a participatory work for the recently opened art space Reformer art in Hunan Lu, Shanghai. I had been intrigued by a question posed by human geographer Nigel Thrift: What happens if we look on kindness as a technology rather than an emotion; a way of producing generosity in the body, a positive affective swirl? If we produce maps of spaces in new sensory registers like geographies of kindness, might these “geographies. then leak out into the wider world?”...1 An observation by Mark Twain on the dynamics of rivers, guided my approach to distinguish three motions while exploring kindness in the built environment: turbulences (random acts of kindness), ripples (the effect on us when watching and relating such acts), and finally currents (reassuring myself and my companions that acts of kindness are part of a human undercurrent). With generous technical support from the team, I was able to install a large, circular map that covered a 20-min walking radius of the neighborhood. A projection of wandering ripples programmed to light up the locations where my walking companions had identified an act of kindness slowly changed the focus and purpose of the map toward emphasizing ephemeral moments, moments that energize our affective landscape. As signs of ongoing processes, these moments were not part of determinant systems; instead, they were undeclared yet consequential actions. During Chinese New Year 2017, I revisited the locations that had hosted acts of kindness back in November 2016 and from these reflections – A reading with my feet – The following transcript for a meditative film essay on movement and how it agitates the air; on environments and the incipient; on kindness as technology and kindness as an emotion, emerged. See

Fugitive presences
Bloom spaces
Re-distribution of information
Embodied experience
  1. Benjamin W, 1931-1934, 2005, Selected writings. (1931– 1934). 1932. In: Bullock MP, Jennings MW, Eiland H, Smith G. Ibizan Sequence. Vol. 2, Part. 2 Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. (paper). p. 576. Available from: [Last accessed on 2023 Apr 18].


  1. Brinckerhoff JJ, 1984, Discovering the Vernacular Landscape. London: Yale University Press.


  1. Easterlink K, 2013, ‘Extrastatecraft Part 1’ a Talk Given at the AA, London. Available from: [Last accessed on 2023 Apr 18].


  1. Eliot T, 1936, Burnt Norton. In: Four Quartets. Available from: [Last accessed on 2023 Apr 18].


  1. Ingold T, 2007, Lines, A Brief History. Oxon: Routledge.


  1. Jullien F, 2010, Stille Wandlungen. Berlin: Merve Verlag.


  1. Manning E, 2009, Relationscapes. MA: MIT Press.


  1. Stewart K, 2007, Ordinary Affects. Durham: Duke University Press.


  1. Stewart K, 2010, Afterword: Worlding refrains. In: Gregg M, Seigworth GJ, editors. The Affect Theory Reader. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. p. 339-53.


  1. Thrift N, 2007, Non-representational Theory. Ch. 9, Section. The Politics Of Urban Trauma: from Love to Kindness. Oxon: Routledge.


  1. Wood D, 1992, The Power of Maps. New York: The Guildford Press.
Conflict of interest
The author has no conflicts of interest to declare.
Back to top
Arts & Communication, Electronic ISSN: 2972-4090 Published by AccScience Publishing