In 1981, a group of British artists and musicians established Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth (TOPY), an ‘anti-cult’ created in the wake of the punk and industrial music countercultural revolutions. With members including Genesis P-Orridge, Peter Christopherson, and David Tibet (amongst other members of bands like Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV, and Coil), TOPY was dedicated to transgressive art, ‘guiltless sexuality’, and the practise of magick.
Despite a moral panic in the UK media, aggression from the authorities, and the exile of founding member P-Orridge, TOPY lasted through to the 2000s – and now, they’re set to the subject of their first ever authorized documentary. A Message From The Temple, directed by Jacqueline Castel (who has previously worked with the likes of Jim Jarmusch and John Carpenter and curated the Genesis Breyer P-Orridge archives at London’s Tate Britain) and produced by Sacred Bones and Dais Records, will explore TOPY’s 1981-1991 period through interviews and archive footage. Some of the artists, musicians, and occultists involved in the film include P-Orridge, composer/producer J.G. Thirlwell, Drew McDowall (formely of Coil, Psychic TV), Rose McDowall (Strawbery Switchblade), and many more.
“A Message From The Temple traces TOPY’s influences and inception to its dramatic downfall and enduring legacy,” a press release says, “Did TOPY ultimately relent to the systems of control it sought to transcend? Or was its existence an illuminating flash of the potential for the autonomy of the individual, poised to spark again? In a climate of political crisis and economic uncertainty, the ethos and urgency of TOPY’s message remains as relevant and influential today as it did during its initial inception 35 years ago.”
The film is currently in production, and is launching a Kickstarter campaign for fans to contribute towards its completion – perks for backers include reproductions of original TOPY ‘propaganda’, including books, t-shirts, and badges. On October 15 there will also be an evening of ‘Psychic Television Transmissions’ with Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Tom Headbanger, Paul “Bee” Hampshire, Pieter Schoolwerth in New York City, and others to benefit the Kickstarter campaign, with tickets available here.