SESSION is a project modelling itself after an incubator that invites cultural practitioners to engage with questions that emerge out of a given exhibition.
Considering the exhibition Sun Moon Stars by Rochelle Goldberg, artist Shannon Garden-Smith will lead a SESSION that regards the desert as a site for transformative power. Using her own research and guided by a reading of excerpts from anthropologist Elizabeth Povinelli’s Geontologies: A Requiem to Late Liberalism (2016), Garden-Smith will engage with Goldberg’s exhibition by contemplating Povinelli’s study of geontopower, a subtending power relation that governs the difference between life and nonlife. Povinelli offers three figures as diagnostic and symptomatic of geontopower—the desert, the animist, and the virus—indicating a need to subvert, exceed, and differently approach these figures if we hope to move beyond the limiting and ecologically disastrous futures they promise. Garden-Smith invites participants to join a close reading of the text and move together through the exhibition space to consider material language, subjecthood, and nonlife, and their propositional capacities.