Unsovereign Elements: Geological Poetics in Contemporary Art from the Caribbean and its Diaspora with Cecilia González Godino, Working Wednesdays


Williams 623 and via Zoom


Unsovereign Elements poster

Image credits: Still from "fecund memories of sky and salt… the amnesia of a history unrehearsed, still lush…" (Deborah Jack, 2022), included in the exhibition Unsovereign Elements.


Unsovereign Elements: Geological Poetics in Contemporary Art from the Caribbean and its Diaspora

Caribbean cultural products and critical approaches are highly permeated by submarine, geological and atmospheric aesthetics, too often enclosed within frameworks of unavoidable catastrophe or fetishized tropicalism that posit the geological as either a destructive or a picturesque force. Starting with colonization and the invention of the Americas, geological elements were relegated—and still seem to be—to a fossilized backdrop status, defined and configured by modernity as epistemological vacuums, decorative backdrops, or disaster vectors whose sole purpose was to be traversed, extracted from and commodified.

Unsovereign Elements is a multimodal group exhibition featuring 11 women artists that examines the ambiguous role of geological elements in the (re)production of the Caribbean archipelago--certainly exhausted by modernity as discursive instruments, yet always retaining a poetic potential that far exceeds their materiality.

Drawing from these ideas as starting point, the exhibition establishes the notion of “unsovereignty” and the “unsovereign” as an open category for every body of flesh, of nature, and of knowledge whose power resides not in its figurative and conceptual agency, but in its ecological and relational agency.

Cecilia González Godino is a PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania whose research is focused on the analysis of Caribbean contemporary visual art from archipelagic, non-hegemonical frameworks. Her work engages with epidermic and geological aesthetics as strategies of disorientation and resistance against colonial attempts to the figuration of Caribbean identities. Cecilia holds an MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from New York University and has several years of experience translating, copyediting, and assisting artists, librarians, and curators. Her first exhibition as main curator, Unsovereign Elements: Geological Poetics in Contemporary Art from the Caribbean and its Diaspora, will be on view from March 30 to May 10 at the Brodsky Gallery, Philadelphia.

Cecilia sits in a library and wears a pink long sleeved shirt

PPEH offers a lunch series, Working Wednesdays, designed to showcase in-progress Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) straddling theoretical and practical environmental concerns. These sessions take place on Wednesdays, 12:30-1:30 sharp.

All sessions are open to the Penn community but require RSVP. Grab a lunch and join us in person or on Zoom!