Unsolid Ground/Pile


Sometimes an unsolid ground is worse than having no ground at all. At least when there is no ground to stand on, there is no ambiguity. You can acknowledge this absence in relation to your position within the hierarchy of political and social power.

Our unsolid ground is a condition determined by a perpetual shifting, in which there is never a clear recognition, never a clear question, never a clear answer. Our colonial condition is determined by a perpetual limbo, in which there is never a clear recognition, never a clear question, never a clear answer.

Colonialism travels beyond ideology, beyond politics. It permeates through our many identities as a shapeshifter. Your brownness, your queerness, your Puerto Ricanness, your cripness, all slowly absorbed.

You’re an entity that doesn’t complete; you’re an entity that isn’t concrete. You’re a being of the in-between, and you will adjust to this belief.

I am standing on the ground, but I want to leave. I can’t; I am entangled. As an individual on an unsolid ground, I stand in the precarious state of not yet having achieved the stack. I remain a pile. Is there power in the pile?

The stack is clean, systematic, and standardized. The pile is unorganized, chaotic, and unstable.

In Puerto Rico, I am queer. In New York, I am Puerto Rican. In Puerto Rico, I keep my illness secret. In New York, I embody it openly. All are my realities; all are marginalized. I experience a state of being that remains on unsolid ground.

The pile is as literal as it is conceptual, as tangible as it is abstract, as concrete as it is transmutable. The pile is a universal structure that transcends geographical, cultural, and political barriers.

The pile is an ephemeral, transitory structure. It is an unsolid ground. Formed on a particular site, the pile is erected and then dislocated from its original context either to become part of a bigger structure or to be disposed of.

The marginalized become a pile to power. When we’re not allowed to inhabit a solid ground, we’re treated as though we’re piles. The pile embodies the other; I embody the pile.

We pile up to group

We pile up to reach higher

We pile up to form a structure

We pile up to classify

We pile up to put on a corner

We pile up to make pyramids

We pile up to fill the trash

We pile up to transport

We pile up to relocate

We pile up to dislocate

We pile up to make the invisible visible

Nevertheless, the pile resists extinction and continues to reappear, demanding concrete ground. Many cease to exist, but many continue to form, containing the same intrinsic systems as the ones that came before it and the ones that are yet to come.

Cite this article: Kevin Quiles Bonilla, “Unsolid Ground/Pile,” in “Exploring Indisposability: The Entanglements of Crip Art,” Colloquium, Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art 8, no. 1 (Spring 2022), https://doi.org/10.24926/24716839.13240.

PDF: Bonilla, Unsolid Ground

About the Author(s): Kevin Quiles Bonilla is an interdisciplinary artist.