Further to Don's post re: crop circles.
I was happy to read this and couldn't agree more. There are, however, one or
two folk who DO take responsibility, among whom is Rod Dickinson, the author
of the essay below which supports Don's hypothesis and suggests that
circlemaking is a type of folk art. It should be noted that while Rod and
his colleagues are in the open about their activities they don't have an
answer for the "anomalies" which they encounter while circlemaking. Hehe. I
think they came out mainly because the so-called researchers were becoming
increasingly ridiculous but such questions are best directed at the artists
Sound bods with an interest could also seek out Rod's contribution to the
Thurston Moore "Root" boxset which is on Lo Records, a field recording of a
night's circle-making activities.
More info can be found here: http://www.circlemakers.org/
Folks who make art
By Rod Dickinson
Images of the otherworld and the supernatural are legion in art history. The
secular 20th century has also produced an abundance of artists whose work
draws upon occult ideas or the paranormal. 'The Inner Eye' a recent touring
exhibition brought together some of these representations, alongside
artifacts and photographs associated with a variety of spirit and paranormal
phenomena. Both art works and fortean artifacts were presented without
differentiation, as equally legitimate ways to approach or render the
spiritual and the invisible. In this context the issue of whether the
fortean artifacts on display were the result of otherworldly intervention,
or as in the case of the spirit photographs, crude double exposures...became
Whilst this exhibition dealt with an essentially 19th century conception of
other dimensions and realms, across the Atlantic the Huntington Beach Art
Centre in California recently showed, 'Are We Touched? Identities from Outer
Space' an exhibition assembled on a similar premise to 'The Inner Eye', an
anthropological exploration of UFO culture bringing together contemporary
art and UFO groups. Amongst the diverse participants were Heavens Gate, and
drawings by Allagash abductee Chuck Rak.
Both these exhibitions traced that folkloric process, where real events are
transformed into myth, and myths are made real - This process permeates many
aspects of the fortean field via abundant visual representations.
Surprisingly it is all but ignored by researchers. Yet much of the visual
iconography of Ufology is composed of photographs and artifacts that owe
more to creative acts of the imagination than evidence of alien
intervention. From George Adamski and Daniel Fry to Billy Meier and Ed
Walters. Latter contributors to the genre include Doug Bower (crop circles)
and Ray Santilli and co (dead aliens).
Exhibitions like these allow this persistent and clandestine type of
creative endeavour to be appraised alongside more conventional art works,
and without resort to that reductive Ufological diagnosis of 'hoax or
genuine'. The continuity, often over decades, of some of these scurrilous
deeds perpetrated by individuals who invest a large amount of time and
imagination, often with little to gain, apparently defies explanation - But
considered as an elusive and esoteric branch of folk art it begins to make a
lot more sense. Imagine Adamski, Walters et al with their homemade flying
saucer models (one of Walter's was found in his house) with camera invisible
strings, blackout curtains and double exposures. The very same technique
mediums were using to produce spirit photographs at the beginning of the
century. Both subjects additionally propelled by photography's ability to
simultaneously connect and disconnect the viewer with reality (1).
The mandala like image of the flying disc (itself based on a
misunderstanding of Kenneth Arnold's original sighting in 1947) has such a
resonance in human culture that Carl Jung speculated its origins, despite
being manifested psychically, probably lay within the imagination (2). The
disc or circle is also the main component of the crop circle phenomenon,
which also has it's committed practitioners, who account for the most
spectacular designs that appear annually. As one of their number I am aware
that we also observe a rigid set of parameters and construction techniques
ensuring the continuity of the phenomenon from year to year.
Likewise it is possible to view the collective body of drawings made by
abductees as a similar type of folk art, whatever the origin of their
Forays into other fortean areas have also been made by American artist
Jeffrey Vallance, whose images of simulacra that occasionally appear in
Fortean Times leave us unable to distinguish between artifice and reality,
and Doc Shiels, whose sea monster photographs have much in common with the
aforementioned UFO images. These art forms inspire a range of transfiguring
interpretation and perception. Elevated from beyond their prosaic origins
they are deposited in the realm of miracles, and otherworldly intervention.
This kind of artistic activity has also had a direct influence on
conventional art practice - many of the surrealists and symbolist artists
were influenced by 19th century occult doctrines and apparent paranormal
phenomena; from C.W. Leadbeater's illustrations of 'thought forms' to the
technique of automatic writing (3).
Whilst mostly outside the parameters of conventional art practice this type
of folk art embraces that rich vein of mythology occupied by the trickster.
Far from the cynic or the skeptic the trickster, from shamanic cultures to
our own has punctuated history with lies and deceptions, The resulting
collision of genuine and fake, artifice and reality has created a
paradoxical twilight reality that is the arena of strange phenomena. Artists
(in all but name) have found and populated this arena for decades, perhaps
even centuries, regularly producing representations, which, at their best
are visionary works of art.
1 Tom Gunning: Phantom Images and Modern Manifestations, in: Fugitive Images
>From photography to Video 1995, Indiana University Press
2 C.G.Jung : Flying Saucers A Modern Myth of Things Seen In The Sky
3 Examples of both Leadbeater's thought forms and automatic writing were
included in 'The Inner Eye'
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