Thank you very much for engaging with this modular poem
"Kinds of Kindness".
I hope the experience of viewing these images
in a non-linear modular order is able to create
deeper associations and connections across them.
Originally, I was going to be much more illustrative for the background images.
Like a picture of a stroller for "Be Kind To Children"... that sort of thing.
But then suddenly I had this understanding;
this project, and this message I'm trying to convey
is so much more general and broad than that.
There are all types of healers, there are all types of caregivers,
and by applying a referential image, I limit the intention of the statement.
It is important to me that you are able to imagine your own examples
of who or what these images are referring to.
And so I chose urban patterns and textures instead,
to show my belief that kindness can be
immersive, ever-present, and both natural and created.
It would be my hope for a viewer to take away
some kind of subconscious association
that a random patch of grass, rocks, or concrete
might serve as a reminder of this series,
and its intended message.
Be kind to yourself, be kind to others.
If being kind feels hard, start by being fair.
Everybody deserves fair.
Thank you for visiting and reading this statement.
Justin C.M. Brown
*addendum - in posting these to instagram
i felt like I wanted to add specificity
to my personal use of the term "fair".
that writing is reproduced here.
fair means fair,
fair does not mean free from consequence.
it means to really make an effort
to consider who or what you're interacting with
from multiple perspectives
and then trusting your assessment.
it is your choice if you favor mercy,
and there are times when forgiveness is not a reasonable option.
but to pass judgements of any kind without diligence or genuine reflection
cannot be considered truly fair.
in most cases, fairness is a sufficient condition for kindness
when beginning from a position of respect for existence.
Because of the repetitive nature of this series, when publishing these images to my Instagram and sharing them on my stories, I saw an opportunity to compile a playlist around the theme of kindness. My original premise for each piece always began by searching the exact title on Spotify and in Instagram's music widget, but due to the specificity of some pieces, finding an exact match was not possible. In those cases, I branched out within the theme to find a song which at least somewhat referenced the topic of the piece. I have had no prior encounters with these songs*, and my discovery of them was organic to each piece (*with the exceptions of Harry Styles, Immortal Technique, and Boyz II Men).
This is a wide ranging mix of genres and attitudes, which while on its surface may appear disjointed, I believe captures the expansive nature of kindness itself. Kindness is not blind to suffering ("Student Song" & "Workers' Song), nor is it always free of ironic circumstances ("Be Kind to Your Teachers"). There is also a noticeable contingent of "children's songs", which is meant to be taken within the whole as an observation of the values we impart to youth in contrast to more "mature" expressions of the idea.
It is my hope that this selection of music may deepen the examination of kindness, even in superficial ways, so that the listener may have a greater readiness to deploy kindness in their relationships to themselves, their communities, and the universe. My sincerest thanks and respect to all of the artists included on this playlist (especially those who have interacted with the stories themselves). - JCMB 8.25.2023