Excerpts recalled from a conversation between artist, Rod Dickinson and
author and ethno botanist Terence Mckenna, which took place at "The
Incident', a symposium on art and phenomena, held in Fribourg, Switzerland,
Terence McKenna: So Rod when did you first start making (crop) circles.
Rod Dickinson: At the end of '91. I made the first one out of curiosity, to
see if it could be done, and to see if anyone would be convinced by it.
About ten days before I'd taken a photo of a white disc like object over a
circle- so I was a total believer-That first circle was a kind of
conversion for me.
TM: Pretty soon after the pictograms started appearing I thought the whole
thing was malarkey. I had this idea that the phenomenon was a government
sponsored project to discredit all the New Agers who hang around the
formations. Luring them all out on a limb with wilder and wilder statements
about Gaian messages and the earth crying and so forth. Then when every nut
in England has signed on, I imagined MI5 would bring on their jumpsuited
crop circle team and say you people are gullible idiots, you should all
find honest work because your level of credibility is now zero.
RD: In fact the whole phenomenon is more like a large collective work of
art, involving circlemakers, investigators, the media and just about
anybody who comes into contact with the circles. It's kind of mind virus-
once you get involved you can't get out.
TM: Absolutely. All these phenomena; UFOs, Crop circles even the cattle
mutilation in the states, are all artifice in one form or another. All this
stuff, these are fluctuations in the syntactical machinery of reality. The
main thing to understand is that we are imprisoned in some kind of work of
RD: Yeah, the paranormal is littered with artifice, but once you realise
all these artifacts; crop circles, UFO photographs, whatever, entail an
enormous amount of creative endeavour it becomes impossible to dismiss them
as fakes or hoaxes. It's a perfect place for an artist to operate - I've
centred my art practice on creating or interacting with these various
phenomena and their attendant belief systems.
TM: But the question still remains; are there UFOs , Flying saucers, nuts
and bolts craft, coming down, abducting hapless victims and interfering
with their genitals? I say not - but there is a tradition in all times and
places, of social commerce between human beings and various types of
discarnate entities, or non human intelligences. This could have been as
simple as the Celtic farmer's wife leaving out a pitcher of milk for faery
folk, or it could take a more elaborate form, but whatever form it takes
this commerce is expressive of a very fundamental belief system that seems
to be inherent in the human condition.
RD: It's something that has occupied artists for centuries, from Blake
right through to surrealism- even early modernists like Kandinsky were
influenced by occult beliefs. But as an artist practising now I feel it's
less important for me to establish what kind of reality all these phenomena
exist in. In many ways the possibilty that much of this material has been
fabricated by very human hands presents me with more opportunities. The
fact is, that each and every phenomenon we're discussing exists in some
way, at the very least in a cultural space.
TM: Listen I have no doubt that there are entities out there - I've met
them, all you have to do is take DMT (Di Methyl Tryptamine). Fifteen
minutes that's all it takes, give me fifteen minutes of your life and I'll
give you a 20% chance of meeting Alien life forms. Forget all that
horseshit about UFO researchers, hypnosis and abductions. I wouldn't trust
a UFO researcher with my chickens. Just give me fifteen minutes of your