In her research Harlow has spoken to people from various spiritual groups - including psychedelic societies, religious groups, spiritual healers and ex members of what some refer to as ‘cults’. She has experienced the recruitment efforts of various groups as well as continuing to explore her own long-term personal interest in alternative societies, groups exploring the spiritual or supernatural and healing practices. Having experienced many occurrences that could be attributed to the ‘supernatural’ at a young age, this has always been of interest to Harlow.
Harlow is interested in artworks as prompts for interactions, rather than operating solely as objects. She believes there is a performer/audience dyad that exists in art where the audience want to experience the effects on offer and are willingly fooled into a complicit deceit with the artist, like spectators at a magic show enjoying not knowing how they are being tricked. Centering on the interchange between true experience and embellished recollection, Harlow is interested in the gap between source and sample, re-assembling these fissures to create veneers of truth – where the effigies may have become more meaningful than the originals.
The exhibition explores how beliefs and false beliefs may contain clarity. Belief is the thing that determines whether you view something as cynical or magical and this exhibition investigates belief, false beliefs, and being under the influence or illusion of a spell. Harlow plays with how one can walk a line, between playing a role and becoming the object, for a moment. Within these stances there is enjoyment of being part of a ‘dark mirror’ and by being fooled by the faux. Such is the beauty in artifice.
The video is a collaborative work by Harlow and filmmaker Orlando Cubitt, with cinematography by Suresh Kara. The music score for the film, composed by Orlando Cubitt, includes a song written by Johnston Sheard for the project.