12 November 2023, 12:00pm ET

Shannon Garden-Smith

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.


Shannon Garden-Smith (she/her) is an artist based in Tkaronto/Toronto, Canada. Working in sculpture, installation, and expanded photo practice, she often uses unconventional materials such as sand and gelatin to foreground an understanding of matter premised on interdependency, flux, and the finitude of resources. Engendering slippages between surface and structure, her work examines labour, identity, and power in human-built architectures, seeking to intervene into capitalist, productivist modes of telling time and modes of relation.

About the Series

SESSION is a project modelling itself after an incubator that invites cultural practitioners to engage with questions that emerge out of a given exhibition.