Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Waiting For E.T.

Whatever happened to crazy cults? Time was in the 90s you couldn't go a few weeks without some wackos in the Bible Belt holding hostages or offering themselves up for sacrifice for the secret of eternal life.

The classic cult story was the UFO-obsessed Heaven's Gate group in 1997, where 38 people clad in black shirts, jogging bottoms and brand new Nike trainers committed suicide as they believed the Earth was going to be wiped. They also wore armbands that said 'Heaven's Gate Away Team'.

Nike's Just Do It never seemed so apt.

The Heaven's Gate story is the inspiration for Tim Phillips' exhibition at Vyner St gallery Boys School at the moment. Heaven's Gate is a hulking great structure; part totem pole, part altar that looks at the misguided revery the group had for their supposed afterlife.

The mix of wooden panels and shiny black plastic contrast with the Swarovski crystals and gold detailing, presumably to illustrate the flashy, false ideas the group were fed. All that it was lacking was a JD Sports black trackie suit and Nike kicks. Hey, those dogs gonna look F_L_Y next time around, y'all!

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