In 2019, artists Maxime Berthou and Mark Požlep left on a months-long journey criss-cros- sing the Mississippi, from north to south. Their aim: to traverse the United States on its most presti- gious lifeline, inundated and surrounded by history. But also by its shortcomings: racism, unemploy- ment and poverty, from pollution to crop mono- culture., Besides the stories that they preserved on camera, in sketches and in their logbook, on their journey they also collected many varieties of corn which they later used to make moonshine, which saw its popularity soar during Prohibition.
This book tells their story for the first time in all its entirety, in words and images, with the help of testimonials, photography, drawings and essays, among others from the French film critic Antoine de Baecque. The project was previously to be seen as an installation at the HISK Open Studios as well as in the form of an educational programme in Centre Pompidou in 2019. A film of the same name was produced, and in January 2022 was premiered at NOLA in New Orleans, and recently as a theatre production that had its premiere in May 2022 in Ljubljana and was afterwards performed in Utrecht.
In their socially committed and cross-discipli- nary, performance-oriented practice this artist duo look for the underlying questions under the shimmering surface – often of water: in 2015 they already worked together on Hogshead 733, where they repaired an old shipwreck and, not without some difficulty, crossed the English Channel conti- nuing up to Scotland where they transformed the ship’s planks into wooden barrels for the distillati- on of whisky.