Overnight Delivery



Overnight Delivery

In 1997 the Manchester based curatorial organisation ‘The Annual Programme’ invite KIT to produce a one-off work as a site-specific project for the roof of the Turnpike Gallery. The space is in Leigh, England and is a public gallery which inhabits the same building as the Leigh public library. This is another early pivotal project for KIT as it is the first time that a project is undertaken on a rooftop, a site which launches later projects such as A.D.I.E.U. (Architectural Developments In Escape Units).

Overnight Delivery prompts a 2-month research project into the writing and activities undertaken on rooftops. After months of planning and a number of site visits, it is decided to work directly with the objects on the rooftop as well as introducing other materials to the piece. Looking like 1960’s era photographs of UFO’s, the 4 large ventilators on the rooftop have a space between them where it appears as though one of them has taken off or not come down to land. In a humorous way, the space looks like a UFO landing site. The 4 working ventilators are sprayed a bright silver to further suggest this relationship.

UFO spotting and in more extreme cases, the sites where people build landing strips are a phenomena which occur all over the world in many different cultures. It is a modern day fascination which dates back to the Egyptians and beyond, in more abstract ways. What is interesting, is that Western culture would presume itself to be more advanced than, say, the 1930’s ‘Cargo Cults’ of islands such as Vanuatu, New Guinea and the Solomons. Yet, in many ways, direct analogies and metaphors can be made.

Different types of ‘Cargo Cults’ existed on small islands in the South Pacific Ocean where, for example, the U.S. military dropped supplies and missed their intended target. The resulting walkie-talkies and uniforms subsequently washed up on the shores of the islands, led the indigenous people to think that they were gifts from the Gods, for who else could produce such advanced and futuristic technologies and garments. To thank the Gods, the islanders built enlarged effigies of technologies such as the walkie-talkie in flowers, hoping that this would bring them further gifts.

UFO landing strips exist all over the world and invite UFO’s to descend upon them. The similarities to the desires expressed by the ‘Cargo Cult’ islanders are pervasive, in that both cultures wish for ‘higher beings’ to make contact with them through objects or through direct presence. Some of the first UFO photographs to be taken seriously were shot in the 1960s by George Adamski. The classic 1960s saucer shaped craft was shown very clearly in Adamski’s photographs. Similar is proportions, the ventilators on the rooftop could be straight out of one of Adamski’s images.

In the past it was decided that the Turnpike gallery would have a cinema built on the rooftop, but plans were aborted through lack of financial backing. Attached to the back wall of the rooftop is a 16x9ft image (the ratio and size of a small cinema screen) printed onto canvas. The scene is a photograph taken by KIT of plastic deer in an industrial sized garden centre in the U.S.A. In the background a UFO can be spotted as if its coming into land, or as if its taken off. The UFO image is lifted from the most famous of Adamski’s photographs and has been manipulated in ‘Photoshop’ to make it look as if it’s a single image with the fake deer. Underneath the ventilating units / UFOs, strips of turf have been laid to make the site more seductive to those closer to the heavens, a roof garden for the gods.

Overnight Delivery exhibits at the following site -

1997   Roof of the Turnpike Gallery / Annual Programme (Leigh, Englalnd)