Five cultural recommendations from the visual artist and composer, Diana Policarpo, focus on listening. Policarpo investigates gender politics, economic structures, health, and interspecies relations through speculative transdisciplinary research.
Music and Poetry of the Kesh. Ursula K. Le Guin & Todd Barton
This is the one and only album which Le Guin created in collaboration with electronic composer Todd Barton to accompany her book Always Coming Home (1985). The fictional world that the cassette accompanies is both familiar and foreign, ancient and futuristic. It takes the form of an ethnographic report of an imagined vanished culture, the Kesh, a tribe who lived in the future 500 years from now. Music and singing are interwoven on the various tracks and listeners hear invented songs played on unfamiliar instruments. In making the record Barton took field recordings around Le Guin’s property, blending them with poems sung in the Kesh language.
Octavia Butler’s Parables, Adrienne Maree Brown and Toshi Reagon
A podcast diving into Octavia E Butler’s two Parable novels, Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents. I really enjoy listening to audio books in the studio and Butler is one of my fav writers. The hosts also provide comments about each chapter and questions for listeners to prompt them to internalize the book’s “lessons” in their own lives.
Decolonizing with Plant Medicines. A friend sent me this podcast series recently and I really enjoyed listening to the different guests. The episodes are collected and shared stories of how people combine herbalism and activism in their lives. In this episode Philippa Joly talked about decolonization, plant allies, how herbs can change our relationship with the land and how we defend it.
As Hiper Mulheres (Itão Kuêgü). Leonardo Sette, Carlos Fausto e Takumã Kuikuro
The Jamurikumálu is an empowering female-only ritual of the Kuikuro tribe in the upper Xingu region of Mato Grosso in Brasil. It involves a series of songs and choreographies dealing with love and sexual issues from a female perspective in a humorous manner, including the open choice of a sex partner for the night. This documentary tells the story of a man who, fearing the death of his wife, asks his nephew to organize the largest all-woman festival of the Alto Xingu park. The documentary presents the Kuikuro women during preparations that culminate in the actual festival and how they cope with the fact that the only woman who knew all the sacred songs was ill.
Listening Wholes | Hyper functional, Ultra Healthy. Shenece Oretha
I really enjoyed this listening session, or more like a journey where Oretha takes us through soundscapes of improvisational music, sound collages, Black literature and speech. Shenece is a London based multidisciplinary artist and her work is attentive not just to the music, but to the musicality, oral traditions, ritual and spiritual practice with the communal resonance they generate.
Diana Policarpo lives and works between London (UK) and Lisbon (PT). She is a visual artist and composer working in visual and musical media including drawing, video, animation, sculpture, performance, and multi-channel sound installation. Policarpo investigates gender politics, economic structures, health, and interspecies relations through speculative transdisciplinary research. Her current solo exhibition Nets of Hyphae at Kunsthall Trondheim, co-produced with the Galeria Municipal do Porto, runs until 18 April 2021. Recent exhibitions and performances include MAAT - Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, in Lisbon, Centro de Artes Visuais in Coimbra, Whitechapel Gallery in London, LUX Moving Image in London, and Kunstverein Leipzig.
In 2019, Policarpo was awarded the EDP Foundation New Artists Award.