Diana Policarpo. Liquid Transfers

3 November 2022 – 8 January 2023

Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo

Diana Policarpo. Liquid Transfers

Illy Present Future 2021 Prize Exhibition

curated by Bernardo Follini

in collaboration with Artissima

with the support of illy

On the occasion of Artissima 2022, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo presents Liquid Transfers, a solo exhibition by Diana Policarpo, winner of the illy Present Future 2021 Prize, the initiative promoted by illycaffè and Artissima.

Policarpo’s practice traverses the various disciplines of history, cultural anthropology and biogenetics, combining the genre of documentary together with speculative fiction. Liquid Transfers is a multichannel audio video installation that follows the video essay format. The work constitutes a new episode of a long-term research of the artist devoted to the universe of mushrooms and the economic, social, and political implications of their use throughout modern and contemporary history. At the core of the project stands Claviceps purpurea, better known as ergot, a parasite of rye recognised since the Middle Ages as the cause of “ergotism”, a food intoxication that can induce burning, muscle spasms, hallucinations and gangrene. The mushroom is historically associated with epidemics and subsequent episodes of mass hysteria, but also with the area of traditional medical knowledge. Small doses of ergot were indeed used by healers and midwives to perform abortions and pre- and postpartum treatments. The work focuses on the use of ergot in post-World War II experimental military programs and the processes of capitalization (scientific, medical, and eventually warfare) that involved the parasite. Liquid Transfers reconstructs these events and delves into the historical intersections between the fungus and the power structures of society. Interweaving ecology, gender

politics and health, the work offers a speculative analysis of the relationship between exploitation of natural resources and the systems of construction and control of social behavior.