Kunsthall Trondheim
Past exhibition

Diana Policarpo
Nets of Hyphae

Diana Policarpo: The Oracle (2020), video still. HD film, 16:9, color, 12'28" (in loop). Produced by Kunsthall Trondheim and Galeria Municipal do Porto. Courtesy the artist

Plants, land and transfeminist biohacking. A conversation between Diana Policarpo, Paula Pin and Stefanie Hessler, in collaboration with Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary st_age

Convulsions, hallucinations, burning sensations.
Diana Policarpo’s exhibition Nets of Hyphae* takes its point of departure in the ergot mushroom. The parasite infects rye plants and is believed to be the cause of the St. Anthony’s fire disease, inducing burning and tingling sensations, muscle spasms, hallucinations and even gangrene in humans. In small doses, ergot has traditionally been used by women for abortions and to treat bleeding after giving birth. However, the healers’ expertise rooted in experience of the land and plants has been eroded by the progress of patriarchal capitalism, replacing it with obstetrics.*

Diana Policarpo is a visual and sound artist and composer. With Nets of Hyphae, she continues her research into fungi networks, drawing speculative webs of connection between ergot spores, reproductive justice and alternative forms of knowledge. Co-commissioned by Kunsthall Trondheim and Galeria Municipal do Porto in Portugal, Policarpo’s videos, digital 3d animation, drawings printed on textiles, light intervention and soundscape are based in research and simultaneously offer audiences a sensorial experience.

At a time when abortion rights are under threat in Poland, the United States and other places, this exhibition connects health struggles dating back to the Renaissance with contemporary concerns of sexual and reproductive justice. This includes the right to decide over one’s own body, access to abortion, the consideration of factors regarding class, race and disability as well as LGBTQ+ inclusion. Nets of Hyphae invites viewers to consider parallels between the fungus cycle, the politics of sexual health and the expertise of midwives, healers and peasants in precarity and resistance.

*1. The exhibition title Nets of Hyphae refers to the thin tissues that connect mushrooms underground and allow them to grow.
*2. Obstetrics together with gynecology is the Western medical field of study and surgery including pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period.


AV equipment:
Soundscape Studios by Robin Støckert and Magnus Sæternes Lian

Thanks to Emmy Beber, Mariana Silva, Margarida Mendes, Paula Pin, Rune Blix Hagen, Øyvind Brandtsegg, Amalia Fonfara, Nazaré Soares, Katrine Elise Agpalza Pedersen, Rui Moreira, Guilherme Blanc, Patrícia Vaz, Silvia Fernandes, Edward Simpson, Sofia Lemos, Rúben Santiago, João Cáceres Costa, João Pedro, Juan Luis Toboso, Matilde Seabra, João M. Machado, Judite Morello, Afonso Simões, Francisca Aires, Marco Ferraz, João Chaves, André Torres, Filipa Ramos, Nuno Rocha, Pedro Neves Marques, Paulo Coelho, Isabeli Santiago, Beatriz Pinto, Paula Vieira, Quitéria Ferreira, Francisca Aires, Alba Carreres, António Gouveia, Alice dos Reis, Equipa técnica da Estação Nacional de Melhoramento de Plantas (INIAV), Olga Lage (FCUP), Alexandre Lobo da Cunha (ICBAS), Jonathan Howard, (IGC), Daniel Martins, Kosmicare, Isabel Dias Nogueira (IST-Micro Lab), Galeria Lehmann + Silva, Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga (MNAA)