The Intersection–Transmission of Affect or Not?

The intersection of Woodside Ave and 58th Street lies next to the triangular shaped Sohncke Square. 58th Street is a narrow street where buses drive by often, picking up passengers along the way. From afar, it seemed just like any other neighbors in Queens. The sun shining bright as the pedestrians cars, and cyclists pass by.

However, there are no biker lanes and the design of this triangular Square makes it difficult for cars to see when cyclists appear from the corners, causing many accidents at this crossroad. Moreover, the roads are narrow, but it is the route many buses drives through to pick up passengers. Therefore, it is even more dangerous for cyclist to bike around here as they have to bike alongside with all the cars, including buses and trucks that take up more space on the already narrow street.

I have read Teresa . Brennan’s The Transmission of Affect before heading over, and was trying to find what she described as “the transmission of affect” which she describes as “the emotions or affects of one person, and the enhancing or depressing energies these affects entail, can enter into another” (3). Essentially, this is a process of which individual’s affect influence others around them and the person, in turn, transmitted the affect to the environment. Yet, to my surprise, the neighbor does not seem that depressed or upset about this particular crossroad. I talked to a few pedestrians, who’ve acknowledged the fact there are a lot of accidents that happen there, yet none seemed particularly concerned. This might be because the pedestrians are not directly influenced by the poorly constructed crossroad, but rather the cyclists whom I did not have a chance to talk to. As Brennan puts it, “What I feel with and what I feel are distinct” (5). The pedestrians might’ve felt with the cyclists, and sympathize with them, yet because of different personal experience, it does not affect them as much thus the transmission of affect is limited. Jane Bennet, in Vibrant Matter, also refers to how people would alter unpleasant realities into something more pleasurable, and that could be what the pedestrians were doing. Rather than being upset about the design of the crossroad, they think of it the other way that does not make them unpleasant.

This further reflects on to what Jane Bennett describes as “vitality” –– “the capacity of things –– edibles, commodities, storms, metals –– not only to impede or block the will and designs of humans but also to act as quasi agents or forces with trajectories, propensities, or tendencies of their own” (viii). The simple design of the intersection can have such a great impact on the lively objects.

Works Cited

Bennett, Jane. Vibrant Matter: a Political Ecology of Things. Duke University Press, 2010.

Brennan, Teresa. The Transmission of Affect. Cornell University Press, 2004.

~ by pc2439 on September 29, 2019.

One Response to “The Intersection–Transmission of Affect or Not?”

  1. Best Overall: Connects relevant readings to personal interest, and well executed concept, focusing on community issue.

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