In an era of deepening social and ecological calamity, artists from Puerto Rico currently address perennial questions of catastrophe in ways that foreground the island archipelago’s multispecies relationships: the dynamic assemblages of human and more-than-human organisms that confront the ongoing depredations of environmental colonialism. This essay takes a first step toward establishing a field of multispecies Caribbean studies by analyzing the work of the contemporary Puerto Rican artist Dhara Rivera. Rivera’s installations critically reimagine multispecies relations by crafting an aesthetics of ecological reinvention that neither hearkens back to a falsely harmonious ecological past nor foretells an entirely apocalyptic planetary future. Caribbean multispecies studies complicate commonplaces of ecocriticism by troubling the neat division between spectacular disaster and slow violence, questioning the mobilization of the assemblage as a straightforward and positive compositional attribute and bringing together environmental justice and environmental humanities scholarship with an eye to a livable present.

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