Vasily Grossman's stark epic Life and Fate has no moral, according to the novelist who introduces its latest printing, Linda Grant. Instead, it has nothing more to say than "instinctive kindness, whatever the consequences, is what makes us human." Fellow Brit Michael Landy had already taken this sentiment to heart when he decorated the London Tube with his great work focused on local kindnesses. Now Kaldor Public Art Projects have brought him over here to put together a Sydney version as part of Art and About. And while the art may be foreign, the Acts of Kindness are all home-grown.
Behind the cenotaph in Martin Place, Landy has laid out a giant map of Sydney's CBD, seemingly hand drawn on a giant white jigsaw. Each piece owns a counterpart somewhere around the city that has a story stuck onto it. Stories about moments where kindness barged itself small or large into sombody's life. Landy spent months recceing his urban canvas by collecting stories from Sydney to fix to the pieces. His approach is as crowd-sourced as Wikipedia's editing system, but with his last dramatic step from abstract geocoordinates to tangible places, he steps from the aesthetic into a connection with a city you'd thought you already known.