Byzantia Harlow: Duplicate

2 Sep 2017 – 16 Sep 2017

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Duplicate (No one will drink the water of your well if you yourself do not drink it) is the culmination of a nine-month Arts Council England funded project created by Byzantia Harlow in Lithuania, Greece and England through a series of collaborations and workshops.


The exhibition uses the metaphor of sustenance from an impure source to question what is genuine and what is artificial - whether truth really matters when both can give pleasure.

The exhibition presents a video work documenting a performance in Lithuania. Harlow worked with a Lithuanian dancer, Ruta Butkus, to create a rhythmic, ritualistic performance generated by hand gestures observed in public spaces with props and costume made by Harlow. In England, composer and sound artist, Nick Murray, worked with Harlow on a local community workshop exploring the re-transcription of these gestures into sound. Using a Theremin an intermittent soundtrack was created with community participants. The Theremin, an instrument that translates gestures into tone without physical contact, an evocation of synaesthetic hallucinations from Harlow’s childhood. In a second workshop, A Level Art students from Dr Challoner’s High School, Buckinghamshire, recited a text by Harlow that interweaves Lithuanian urban myths with fictitious narrative, providing the voice over for the video.

Alongside the video work, a site specific installation is presented in the gallery space - a toxic water source preserving and supporting life and containing duplicate, counterfeit objects. 

The title - Duplicate (No one will drink the water of your well if you yourself do not drink it) concerns faith and bad faith. Having to trust oneself before someone else can trust you. The desire for another to drink potentially contaminated water can be viewed as either an act of self-preservation (using a proxy to test the purity) or an act of altruistic love (allowing another to replenish from the limited resource before nourishing oneself).

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Byzantia Harlow


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