Diana Policarpo “Les filets d’hyphes” at Crac Occitanie, Sète
“Les filets d’hyphes (Nets of Hyphae)” interweaves various stories and representations connected to the use, at the edge of contemporary medication, of plants, fungi and bacteria by ladies and minorities, as a type of alternative awareness and technological know-how supplying obtain to one’s possess human body. With a collection of video clips, sound parts and silkscreen prints on fabric, Diana Policarpo explores the historical past of Claviceps purpurea, also recognised as ergot of rye, a fungus that lives as a parasite on grasses, and was the trigger of St. Anthony’s Hearth disorder in the Middle Ages. Ingestion of this fungus, present in the rye used for producing bread, provoked burns and hallucinations.
Ergot of rye was typically applied in tiny doses by girls to aid childbirth or abortions, or to deal with publish-partum bleeding. This curative information practiced by healers and midwives was broadly wiped out by the hegemonic narratives made by modern science, generating way for obstetric medicine as a patriarchal instrument for the regulate and copy of bodies. Albert Hoffmann’s discovery of LSD in the 1930s and the synthesis of ergot in the laboratory ended up rendering invisible a entirely unique epistemology, the oral history not only of the transformation and alchemical procedures of this parasite, but also of interspecies relations that feminist activists are making an attempt to find again and revive in artisanal workshops dedicated to gender hacking and Diy gynaecology.
The exhibition “Les filets d’hyphes (Nets of Hyphae)” by Diana Policarpo at the Crac Occitatnie is an extension—a parasite!—of “Minuit (Meia-Noite),” 4th Coimbra Biennial 2021–22, as component of the France-Portugal Year. In constructing this biennial, guest curators Filipa Oliveira and Elfi Turpin ended up inspired by a colony of bats living in the Biblioteca Joanina in Coimbra. This 18th century library—a treasure of the University of Coimbra—was erected as an imperialist gesture aiming to encapsulate European know-how and guidance the colonial venture. This fortress of know-how (and electrical power) is also the refuge of a compact colony of nocturnal animals: bats, which uncovered an excellent habitat in the library’s ecological situations. The insects and worms that stay in the 55,000 textbooks feed the bats, although the nocturnal silence presents them endless freedom. Night is when they appear out of their hiding position and get get the job done, hunting bibliophile insects and safeguarding the guides from a slow destruction.
Elfi Turpin & Filipa Oliveira
at Crac Occitanie , Sète
until July 31, 2022
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