Wednesday, November 26, 2008

the counterforce continues, the suppressed post commenting on the preceding ones

(I mean the succeeding ones, not the preceding ones, for as it turned out, this slightly expanded draft post was posted in the order in which it was placed in the list as a saved draft.)

A day's perusal of the state of documentation on crop circles is most curious. John Lundberg is the longtime circlemaker who insists he has presented enough technical information on his website and elsewhere to show how anyone could produce the most complex of the circle designs yet laid down, using minimal equipment. He ridicules anyone who considers the circles to be necessarily of other than ordinary human origin.

That said, his posts on go on to describe very odd phenomena of light and energy that have taken place while he and his cohorts were in the process of making the circles, and goes on to describe them as what he says that Rob Irving calls "temporary sacred sites" in what Lundberg himself calls the "psychic landscape" of Wiltshire. In other words, Lundberg is one of the declared circle-makers who believes that something more than simple trickery is going on, and that he is "part of it," as he puts it.

Nigel Ayers' presentation of the Bodmin Moor Zodiac in his book for sale on seems to be something of the same sort, with a postmodern twist. And this is where, as we learn from Wikipedia, the "psychogeography" of Robert Cheatham's show comes into play, courtesy of this Situationist takeoff on the probably equally imaginary Glastonbury Temple of the Stars:

"In the walks around the M25 motorway documented in psychogeographer Iain Sinclair's 2003 novel London Orbital, the walkers trace the mythical Kingston on Thames Zodiac.

"In 2006, artist Nigel Ayers began to develop the idea of the Bodmin Moor Zodiac as a form of spatial detournement. This was an idea derived from developments in Land Art and Locational Media, influenced however by urban-based Situationist and Letterist theory. Over the course of a year, Ayers carefully explored the outlines of zodiac figures perceived and plotted on large-scale maps and aerial photographs of the moor. The newly-drawn 2006 figures are remarkable and make a break from earlier mooted terrestrial zodiacs on Bodmin Moor and elsewhere as they actually resemble a conventional zodiac as outlined on a star map."

And this is the description of the Bodmin Moor Zodiac, which doesn't look like much when displayed on a gallery wall but is remarkably impressive when presented as though it were the rediscovery of a long-extant astrological design (shades of the original website for The Blair Witch Project):

"The Bodmin Moor Zodiac is a massive astrological design measuring twelve miles across, impressed on the landscape by Mesolithic nomads, waiting to be digitally rediscovered in the 21st century. This is a remarkable story of old legends revived, mythological scenes deconstructed and forbidden knowledge brought to light. Nigel Ayers walks the secret paths of Bodmin Moor compulsively and decodes the hidden language of the Cornish landscape like no other rambler. The Bodmin Moor Zodiac transforms our sense of Cornwall, as Ayers creates strange trajectories between place and hyperspace, from the Celtic Otherworld to digital media, from Brown Willy to the Planet Venus. This book is what literature should be about; intensity of language, deranged visions and cultural de-programming."

So we have a double vision that makes William Blake's version of it look sick. Except that Blake shared the notion of a fourfold vision that was to be twofold always. ("May God us keep / From single vision, and Newton's sleep!") But the doubling is taking place in a world in which single vision has returned with a vengeance, both on the sides of the believers and their opponents. And there are ample quantities of single vision and single-mindedness to be found in the art of "Crop Circles, Cosmograms, Psychogeographies," whereas folks like Lundberg et al seem almost unsettlingly double and triple minded.

But Americans don't seem to know how to play that game very well. We come from folk who believed what they believed or found signs and portents that brooked of no alternate interpretation, but were type and antitype only.


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