Psilocybin (The Sediments of Sentiments)

Cradled in the fertile ground, I observed that the colours around me had begun to glisten, growing bright as time elongated. The soil seemed to be teeming and humming like a swarm of minute insects.

Text by Byzantia Harlow
Images by Mirko Boffelli Photography

Byzantia Harlow’s Psilocybin (The Sediments of Sentiments) is on display at Earth Eaters
September 25 – October 4 2020, 12pm – 8pm daily
Hoxton 253 (in collaboration with Cole Projects)

I lay with you in the warm earth, silent and peacefully held, until your body leached into its sediment… our sentiments left unsaid. There remained of you a sticky patch of dirt, layered with dust. The ground was flecked with your fallen, sated, exhausted skin. A testament to you and to wasted time.

I scooped up your goop in my hand and within it I found a universe. Close inspection revealed visions, viewable atop the oily soot, pooled inside my palm. Its surface reflected my face as I became fixated and haunted by the images within. Apparitions floated out – some were subtle like a veil, or a shadow, others were manifest like an eclipse on the surface of the sun. Blocking and absence, pure penumbra, then a swirl of cycles, wheels, sigils, worlds… destiny appeared and I tried to catch it like a wave, as it slipped through the gaps in my fingers…

Realising I could no longer contain this life force in my hand, I released it. I watched it pool like liquid mercury onto the ground below, and thought of cinnabar inside ancient tombs. I decided to rest there. The instant I put my head down on this seeping surface I felt my awareness expand. The earth bed seemed to be attracting spores, which settled around me. I felt them embed themselves within my subconscious and begin to take root, like good intentions.

Cradled in the fertile ground, I observed that the colours around me had begun to glisten, growing bright as time elongated. The soil seemed to be teeming and humming like a swarm of minute insects. I began to laugh uncontrollably as I imagined how many I must have massacred with my restless limbs. And then I instantly felt a deep remorse, chastising myself for desecrating this sacred substrate. Burring my face in the earth out of shame, I felt a perverse desire to escape my present realities by returning to its chthonic womb. I inhaled its aroma, thick like a disease lingering on… and I remembered how all was ever new with you.

I recalled how we had mapped out our Shadows like they were constellations, scribing them into the ground. This surface was now a portal back to you and out to the cosmos, the darkness containing your fervid light. A place of the in-between and boundaryless, the dissolute and distorted… a space where things are continually in front… out of reach and dissolving into the night.

Psilocybin (The Sediments of Sentiments)

Mirko Boffelli Photography 
Mirko Boffelli Photography 

Work details :
Byzantia Harlow, Psilocybin (The Sediments of Sentiments), bronze, jesmonite, bio resin, glazed ceramics, flocked fibres, dried and dyed vegetation, diatomaceous earth, sanctified soil and various crystals hand crushed during a full moon ritual to aid intuition.

Harlow’s work investigates the intersection between true experience, constructed encounter and embellished recollection. Recent projects have focused on re-enactments of a genuine encounters laced with fictitious elements. 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. Her long-term interest in alternative societies, groups exploring the spiritual or supernatural and unconventional healing practices informs current work.

Harlow has worked as a part time professional tarot reader for over fifteen years. Within recent projects she delivers genuine divinations that are laced with fictitious narratives and reenactments of personal readings she has received from other psychics about her love life.

For Harlow, every determination of an event is the balance between cynicism, or acceptance of the mystical. Blending the natural and the supra-natural, the work asks the viewer to take a leap of faith, to follow Harlow through the labyrinthine structures of sculpture, of social performance, and of constructed narrative. The artist is opening the door to both possible enlightenment and potential (dis)illusionment.

Harlow (b. 1986) lives and works in London. She received her MA Painting from The Royal College of Art, London and her BA (Hons) Fine Art from Central Saint Martins. Recent solo presentations of her work include: Lunar Water, Platform Southwark, London (2019); From the same source I have not taken, Yamamoto Keiko Rochaix, London (2018); Duplicate (No one will drink the water of your well if you yourself do not drink it), Chalton Gallery, London (2017); Polyester Breeze, The Telfer Gallery, Glasgow (2017), Grey Market, Chisenhale Art Place, Studio 4 Residency (2016) and Spirit Line, The Luminary, Missouri, (2016).

Harlow was shortlisted for the Mark Tanner Sculpture Award in 2019 and has received Arts Council England Grants for the Arts in 2016 and 2017 as well as an Arts Council England / British Council grant for the Artists’ International Development Fund in 2016.

Harlow has a monthly art show on Soho Radio, The Silver Stream is a performative conversation in collaboration with invited guests – using visual artworks, music and theory as navigation points within a stream of consciousness. (

She is a studio member of Collective Ending HQ, a new collaboratively run studio and gallery complex in Deptford, London. 

Website –
Tarot Performance Project  –

Byzantia Harlow’s Psilocybin (The Sediments of Sentiments) is on display at Earth Eaters
September 25 – October 4 2020, 12pm – 8pm daily
Hoxton 253 (in collaboration with Cole Projects)

253 Hoxton Street
Whitmore Estate
London N1 5LG

Earth Eaters is a group show also featuring: Sol Bailey-Barker, Natasha Bird, Charly Blackburn, Ebinum Brothers, William Cobbing, Kathryn Graham, Byzantia Harlow, Gregory Herbert, Timo Kube, Jane Lawson, Dunstan Low, Tasha Marks | AVM Curiosities, The Institute of Queer Ecology, Hannah Walton, Charlie Warde, Russell Webb, Trystan Williams, William York.

The works in EARTH EATERS “question what is at stake in the ecological crises of the 21st century and will challenge the conventional systems of classification, suggesting a worldview that strives to dislocate humans from their assumed position of centrality and superiority as knowers and actors in the world.

EARTH EATERS is an alternative name for the condition Geophagia – the practice in humans and animals of eating earth or more specifically the clay and mineral content within it. It is part of a larger eating disorder called Pica – the consumption of non-nutritive substances such as clay, starch, ice and chalk.  This behaviour is usually found in people that have underlying deficiencies (blood cells, haemoglobin or zinc). That said, Pica has been practiced since 400BC and has both positive and negative consequences. This exhibition explores soil’s potential role in prevention of climate change, the artistic use of soil/earth as medium, and calls on us to readdress and promote the health of the vital substance that we take for granted.”

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About the Gallery:
Hoxton 253 is an artist-run gallery and project space providing an experimental platform objective to provoke critical dialogue within contemporary culture and society. 

With a particular focus on ecological consciousness and sustainability. The space has been running on green energy since they opened in 2019, using zero landfill waste disposal and zero emission delivery services, while they lay a strong emphasis on conscious material usage, recycling, and waste reduction within their art program.