Heaven’s Gate is based on the image of a cardboard box from the recycling bin at the Mount Pleasant’s Buy Low grocery store. The cardboard box hangs behind a shadow screen, lit by coloured lights that project a slowly turning, jewel-like image on the screen. Part mobile, part shadow puppet, the humble box opens the way to another dimension. If Mount Pleasant’s Kingsgate Mall experience is about the practical world of everyday life, Heaven’s Gate is about another world, the unfolding of the infinite and the miraculous hidden in the material.
Hank Bull was born in Calgary, Alberta. He grew up in Toronto where he studied at the New School of Art under Nobuo Kubota and Robert Markle. In 1973, he moved to Vancouver. Bull was married to and was a frequent collaborator with Canadian video artist Kate Craig.
Hank Bull was an early member of Vancouver’s Western Front Society. In 1976, with Patrick Ready, he started a weekly radio program on CFRO-FM, Vancouver Cooperative Radio, that became a vehicle for experiments in sound and interactive media. Bull has participated in artist experiments in telecommunications since 1979. He produced contemporary shadow theatre with Patrick Ready, Martin Bartlett and others touring Canada and Europe. During the 1980s, he was active in developing the network of Canadian artist-run centres.
In 1999, with Zheng Shengtian, Stephanie Holmquist, and Milton Wong, Bull co-founded Centre A, the Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, a public art gallery focusing on Asian and Asian-diasporic perspectives. Bull currently lives and works in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Vancouver Art Gallery, where he occupies the position of Treasurer.