ARTISTS IN EXILE

Genesis P.Orridge & Ron Oliver

Historically, western Empire builders have sought to destroy the cultures they discovered by removing as many aspects of the 'native' culture as possible. Frequently this meant destroying thousands of years worth of treasures, and killing or silencing the 'native' artist. The current dictatorships of Asia and Central America followed the West's example and today similarly silence dissenting artists. Here in the civilised world things have changed; but only a little. On the rare occasion that a modern artist challenges the accepted reality tunnel, the establishment cannot have their throat cut - but they will act with alarming efficiency to silence the transgressive voice

On the 15th Feb. 1992, 23 officers of the Obscene Publications Squad entered the Brighton home of Genesis P-Orridge, artist, musician and founder of Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth. At the time the P-Orridge family were in Katmandu working to assist Tibetan refugees. The police were acting on evidence of organised ritual child abuse consisting of a video and the testimony of a witness who claimed to have been involved in the making of the video. In the next few days the Observer carried a piece on the "first evidence of ritual abuse" and Channel Four's Dispatches aired edited highlights of the video and interviews with a woman who claimed she had sacrificed her daughter and undergone an abortion for the sake of a Psychick Youth Ritual.

While TOPY were never directly mentioned, the artwork and logo were displayed on the screen. Within one week the origins of the video were exposed in the press. It was, in fact, part of a film, commissioned by Channel Four in 1980, featuring Derek Jarman, and designed to explore the power of editing the visual image. The female witness was exposed as a "professional victim", born again Xtian, and ex-member of a charismatic Xtian sect. She had no conscious memory of the ritual events, the murders and abortions, they had been conveyed to her,(from her subconscious memory I presume), by one of the Fundamentalists. Her testimony was shown to be factually incorrect. The programme makers were a Xtian company, the presenter had just published a book exposing the Satanic network in Britain. Independent doctors agreed that those featured in the video were not children.

Shortly after the raid, the police returned most of the items taken in the Brighton raid, however Social services implied that if the family return to the UK their two children may be taken into care. The pair moved to California and seperated soon after. Genesis has been working with Timothy Leary, who claims that the raid was partly a method of examining Gen's archive, the authorities copying and confiscating what they consider dangerous. Genesis ceased to be involved with the Temple in 1990 and he is now organising "hyperdelic" rave and lecture events in California. He does not feel that he can bring the family back to Britain and receive a fair hearing. He knows his family will be split up, and that the accusations will distract from what he is trying to achieve.

After over 20 years of challenging establishment, exploring control, communication and sexuality, he and his family have been effectively exiled from this country. His right to free speech has been removed. He has not been charged of any crime.

Ron Oliver is a photographer; he does not exhibit, or sell through galleries, he takes photographs of children on commission from their parents. Some of the photographs he takes are of naked children. Oliver's work has been praised by the Bibliotheque Nationale de Paris for its freshness and purity. Rich doting parents pay around 4000 for a portfolio of his work and he agrees with the parents and the children the situation of the photograph.

Ron Oliver currently lives in Holland, he cannot return to Britian, as his negatives, files, invoices and computer were all removed from his home and studio. Over 20,000 negatives, 16 years of work are still in the possession of the police. The Child Protection Act of 1978 has been interpreted to illegalise the photography of a naked child under the age of 16. Parents taking snapshots of children playing have been criminalised. There is no definition of indecency in the Child Protection Act, allowing the interpretation of police and Crown Prosecution to decide whether Ron Oliver will be charged. Oliver does not set out to challenge the establishment, it is not his intent to expose the culture of control. However his photographs do challenge the reality tunnels of the pack leaders, (polititians, churchmen and other tribal elders), they "know" that children are not sexual. (Freud was similarly condemned when he was eventually brave enough to announce his identification of children's sexual identity.) They know that nudity is disagreeable and dirty. (Some will even understand that nudity is a powerful, magikal, symbol not to be encouraged in any social group).

This is where Ron Oliver and Genesis P-Orridge meet. They are exploring and exposing symbolism and language that does not fit in with the current tribal taboo. They are part of a unorganised, unconscious counter culture of those who see beyond the realities presented to them, who have chosen to find out for themselves, and then show to others, that sexuality, power and social relationships are not strictly defined by nature or "God", but are a creation of your own mind.

If a Ron Oliver photograph is taken in an atmosphere of trust and innocence, then it must be the mind of the viewer which imposes the pornographic label. The concept of free speech is rapidly abandoned by all but a few when the ogres of pornography and child abuse are waved under their nose. This is what the establishment hope to achieve when they attack transgressive artists. It is up to us to ensure that we examine our own reactions to such art, supporting those who challenge accepted reality, who search for alternative truths and perhaps find a little beauty.

With thanks to Rapid Eye, Variant, i-D & The Independent and Station 23.

Since this article was first published Genesis P.Orridge announced that he was dissolving The Temple Of Psychick Youth.

However, many activists worldwide have reatined the name and several stations are still active.

Temple Press still operate at : PO Box 227, Brighton, BN2 3GL.

Genesis P. Orridge now works as THEE PROCESS at PO Box 1034, Occidental, CA 95465 1034 USA.

The more positive aspects of TOPY are maintained by John Eden at TURBULENCE, BM Box 3641, London, WC1 N3XX.