As Lightning to the Children Eased (January 2021)
  • Fanqi (Kiki) Zhou | Dalian, China

  • 1 2 Qiqi's Home (cover) 1. The Garden 4, Qiqi's Room
  • As Lightning to the Children Eased (January 2021)
  • Fanqi (Kiki) Zhou | Dalian, China
  • Tell all the truth but tell it slant — (1263)
    By Emily Dickinson

    Tell all the Truth but tell it slant –

    Success in Circuit lies
    Too bright for our infirm Delight

    The Truth’s superb surprise
    As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind –

    This project takes Qiqi’s childhood home – the locus of memories – as its primary site to investigate the profound implications of China’s one-child policy on the one-child cohort as well as their families who are usually considered marginal to the discourse.

    As Lightning to the Children Eased is presented as a pairing of a collaboratively-produced essay film and artist’s book. Drawing on snippets of family archival films and latter-day footage, the film narrates a longitudinal story of Kiki’s life as a transnational single child, reflecting on the broader story of this radical transformation experienced by Chinese society. The book illuminates the nature of privilege, expectation, anxiety, the intricate intergenerational relationships, and the configuration of one-child subjectivity, that is also concealed and/or revealed in the film. It takes the form of a reimagined 2000’s Disney English textbook, consisting of a complementary set of the student’s textbook and the teacher’s guide. The accessibility and innocence of the former, with illustrations and thought-provoking exercises that introduce the readers to five spaces of the family house, is complemented with reflexive explications in reference to broader literature in the latter.

    This work is part of the larger drive in feminist discourse and practice around space to disclose the true and lived accounts of life, encouraging those in the audience with similar experiences to engage with the discourse.


    Fanqi (Kiki) Zhou is an urban geographer and event planner, currently working and living in China. She holds a Bachelors in Geography from University College London and completed MA Situated Practice at the Bartlett School of Architecture in 2021. While attending the Bartlett, she was introduced to site-writing through the Critical Spatial Practice: Site-Writing module taught by Jane Rendell, David Roberts and Polly Gould. With her interest in the social-spatial nature of interior spheres, Kiki’s practice narrates the intricate relationship between social transformations and spatial configurations through an intimate, personal lens.


    The project aims to make an original contribution to the discussions of China’s one child policy. It borrows from auto-theory, as discussed by Lauren Fournier, to explore the politics of positionality and performativity through one’s lived experience. Due to its intimate and sensitive nature, the creative part of this work was developed in parallel with ethically-aware methodologies guided by Jane Rendell, David Roberts and James O’Leary, and strongly encouraged by fourth wave feminist practitioners, such as Maggie Nelson, Carolyn Lazard, Chris Kraus, Johanna Hedva, amongst others.

    Auto-theory, one child policy, positionality, performativity, self-reflexivity


    Li Tianbing, Lost Childhood, PARALLEL (2020). Online Exhibition.

    Wang Peng, Passing Through Beijing (2016). Video.

    Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts (2015). Book.

    Other projects
  • Signal/Noise: Ambient Text in the Urban Landscape (ongoing project)
  • Site Stories: explorations of urban spaces through drawing and animation (25–29 April 2022)
  • Rainbow Palace, Bergen, Norway (March 2022)
  •  Acanthus, (March 2022)
  • Unter der Hohen Brücke. 
digging in a ditch, writing for a place 
  • ‘Reading-writing alongside HALL08,’ HALL08 (2021)
  • Nothingness Beyond Blossom (2021)
  • Angelo Ciccaglione, ‘The back of the dust-machine, where the visitors pour the dust in,’ Rotterdam (2021)
    The Deposition of Dust (July 2021)
  • Skye Edge (April 2021)
  • Corvid-19 (15 March 2021)
  • 1_5
    Glòries_(Eixample). A dispositive for very slow aesthetic observation, (January 2021 –)
  • As Lightning to the Children Eased (January 2021)
  • Station F (October 2020)
  • It’s Just a Matter of Time (2020)
  • 1
    Inscription: the Journal of Material Text – Theory, Practice, History,
    issue # 1: ‘beginnings,’ (2020)
  • Homekeeping-image_sml
    Homekeeping (2020)
  • City Embers (2020)
  • Between Our Words I will Trace Your Presence (February 2020)
  • What Remains (2019)
  • Situated Writing as Theory and Method (2019)
  • Parts Apart Read Together (2019)
  • Fields of Awareness, (2019, 3min 18 secs)
  • A Non-Aligned Narrative in and Around KSEVT, (2019)
  • 21 Orientations: An Atlas of Geographic Promiscuity (2019)
  • The Windowless Hotel Room (2018)
  • Spaces of Grief (2018)
  • Soft Landing (2018)
  • Shared Remains (April 2018)
  • Poetic Water Boundaries: towards a possible borderless sea, (2018)
  • Metropolitan Salem, Liuerpul (9 June – 18 August 2018)
  • Things Come Apart (21 – 24 March 2018)
  • Learn to Read Differently (2018)
  • Il Balcone. A site-writing performance (2018)
  • History begins with the vanity of kings (2018)
  • Dear Mr. Jung: Inhabiting Carl Jung’s ‘The Red Book’ (May 2018)
  • A Lunar Perspective, (2018-2020)
  • Heaton Hall: A Palimpsest (2017)
  • Location (+) (2017)
  • There’s Sand in My Infinity Pool (2017)
  • Talking Quilts (April 2017)
  • fifteen ways to cross the desert (2017)
  • Between Landscape and Confinement: Situating the Writings of Mary Wollstonecraft (2017)
  • Agency at the threshold, (2017)
  • A Ficto-Historical Theory of the London Underground (2017)
  • The Glorious Tomb to the Memory of Nothing (2016)
  • The Arrival’s Reader; A Visual Literary Criticism on The Arrival by Shaun Tan (2016)
  • Reading as Art (27 August-19 November 2016)
  • Re: development (London: Silent Grid, 2016)
  • Kjemikerens død [The Death of the Chemist] (23 – 26 May 2016)
  • Kingsland High Street (2016)
  • Foray in a Modern Reserve: An Impounding Portrait of Landuse (2016 – 2018)
  • Fall of the Derwent (2016)
  • Away from Home – Home from Away (April 2016)
  • Penguin Pool (2015)
  • Geography Lessons: Liberian Landmarks 1953-2013 (2015)
  • Women’s Anarchist Nuisance Café (2014)
  • The Writing on the Wall (after Rembrandt) (2014)
  • The Italic I (2014)
  • Designing Architecture as a Performing-Ground (2014)
  • Urban Literacy (2013/2014/2016)
  • The Disappearance: Manfredo Tafuri’s The Sphere and the Labyrinth (April 2013)
  • Folded Ground: Escape from Cape Town (2013)
  • Phantom Railings (2012 – 2017)
  • In The Emptiness Between Them (2012)
  • 10/08/12 (multispecies event) (2012)
  • An Arcades Project (2011)
  • Tideline (2010-2012)
  • The Museum of Breath (2010)
  • Slab (2010)
  • One wound. Two wounds. The body as site for writing (2010)
  • The Fluid Pavement and Other Stories on Growing Old (2006)
  • Back to Top