Caryn Anscomb’s Disclosure Deli presents the original 2006 interview with crop circle maker John Lundberg by investigative contributor Caryn Anscomb for STARstream Research.
“As I began to make circles myself, l noted that my own mistakes, or unconscious idiosyncrasies, were transformed magically by cerealogists into special accomplishments that no human could possibly duplicate. A standing stalk in a circle of felled wheat, missed by my garden roller as a lawnmower might miss a blade of grass, was seen as a cerealogical miracle. A pictogram, fabricated with the aid of several pints of Guinness and a wood-and-rope stalk stomper, was later alleged, with the most sensitive instruments, to be buzzing with radioactivity.” — Jim Schnabel
(STARpod.us) — John Lundberg is an artist and filmmaker. He graduated from the National Film & Television School in 2004, where he created four documentaries.
As an organization to date Lundberg and his associates have created circles across the USA, New Zealand, Japan, Mexico and across continental Europe. We have several projects in the pipeline that will take us to many more far-flung corners of the world.
Caryn: Hi John. How did you first become interested in Crop Circles?
John Lundberg: I first became aware of the circles like most of the UK population when there was an upsurge in media coverage here in the late 80s. It was difficult to pick up a paper or turn on the TV news without seeing a reference to the ‘mysterious crop circles’. It’s also when I discovered The Cerealogist magazine and started to read about the various theories put forward to explain the authorship of the circles. Around this time I also met up with a fellow artist called Rod Dickinson who also had an interest in the circles. We used to sit up long into the night talking about them and wondering how we could become involved in the crop circle phenomenon. Back then we were just as much in the dark as to their origin as everyone else – except whoever or whatever was making them of course. So eventually we decided that we wanted to contribute to the phenomenon and ventured out into the fields in the early 90s to create one, then many crop circles. It really was a revelation to me, seeing the disconnect between what we were doing – flattening cereal crop with planks of wood – and what our works audience was perceiving, which could be anything from physiological and psychological effects brought on by visiting the circles, to electronic equipment failures or malfunctions, alleged curative powers, or the inverse, reports of people feeling nauseous in our creations. I think this was the hook that pulled us deeper into the phenomenon, all of the narratives that were attached to our work, the mythology and folklore that was built up around it. It can be very intoxicating and exciting for an artist. We weren’t pushing paint around on a canvas that sat in a sterile gallery environment; we were quite literally forming and shaping the culture that surrounded us. The circles we created could be seen as virulent mind viruses or memes that traveled right around the world permeating both underground and popular culture. I have to say that when Rod and I were first creating circles, we didn’t have a clear idea of the origin of the other circles out there in fields, we were completely open about who or what were the authors. To give you an insight into our early thought processes, we had designed a series of formations that used sigils, (pictorial spells), after lots of discussion we actually decided not to create any of those designs, just in case the spells actually worked!
Caryn: You’ve mentioned your friendship with Doug Bower. When did you first meet with Doug?
John: I feel so lucky that I’ve been able to forge a close friendship with Doug, I really do consider him part of my family. It wasn’t actually until 1994 that I met up with him at an informal gathering of circlemakers at the Percy Hobbs pub in Winchester, Hampshire where Doug and Dave Chorley used to spend every Friday evening together. Doug is my greatest hero, and a true British eccentric in the best possible way. Meeting him was one of those rare occasions when I came face to face with one of my heroes and they didn’t disappoint or undermine my expectations of them. I truly believe that Doug Bower is one of the greatest artists of the 20th Century.
Caryn: You previously mentioned Doug’s personal motivation for crop-circle making. Can you repeat it for publication?
John: The true history of Doug and Dave is yet to be made public, and it’s not a happy tale. I have it all on record and Doug has given me permission to make it public once he is no longer with us, which I hope will be for many years yet.
Caryn: You now travel the globe crop-circle making, what countries have you visited?
John: As an organization to date we’ve created circles across the USA, New Zealand, Japan, Mexico and across continental Europe. We have several projects in the pipeline that will take us to many more far-flung corners of the world.
Interview Continues Below …
Interview Continues …
Caryn: Are you in constant contact with fellow cropcirclers internationally, and do you team up on projects?
John: I launched circlemakers.org the website which documents our work back in 1995, and it’s given us a lot of visibility. As a consequence I’ve been contacted by circlemaking teams from all over the world, although the most talented and ambitious circlemakers are all based here in the UK – which is apparent from the complexity and scale of the formations that are created here. And yes, sometimes we team up with other circlemakers to swell our ranks and enable us to create more ambitious crop circles.
Caryn: Can you give a few samples of the type of work commissioned?
John: We’ve worked on numerous projects for TV shows, movies, music videos, adverts and PR stunts. Clients have included Greenpeace, Microsoft, Shredded Wheat, AMD, Hello Kitty, Nike, Pepsi, Weetabix, BBC, The Sun, Mitsubishi, O2, NBC-TV, Orange Mobile, History Channel and the Discovery Channel.
I’ll give you a couple of examples of the types of projects we are asked to do. Last year we were asked by Nike to tour across Italy creating giant footprint shaped crop circles that were used in 4 TV adverts that featured both us and the circles we created. We did the same across the US for the launch of the Microsoft Xbox 360 games console, with a MTV crew documenting our creations. The footage was later used in a ‘making of’ documentary screened in the US on MTV about the Xbox 360 campaign.
Caryn: The term hoax has been applied to crop-circles. This always amuses me, the circles themselves aren’t hoaxes. How do you feel about being labeled a hoaxer?
John: Well I think it’s shorthand vernacular for who we are and what we do. It’s a term used by the crop circle research community to demonize and marginalize us, as it has negative associations. We were once unfavorably compared to Wearside Jack the Yorkshire Ripper hoaxer. But like you say it’s not an accurate description of us, or our work. We are artists and the circles we create are artworks.
Caryn: You have a number of critics, how do you normally respond to them?
John: I don’t. I think you learn very quickly as a circlemaker that entering into any discourse about your work with someone who has invested belief in it is an ultimately fruitless pursuit. The circlemakers and the crop circle researchers – or followers – have a very symbiotic relationship. We need each other – not that any crop circle researcher would ever admit that. They act as agents for our work, propagating the images across the globe, and more importantly weaving complex ever evolving and shifting narratives about the non-human origin of the circles. They come up with litmus tests that become an article of faith for them, terms such as ‘bent not broken stems’, ‘physiological changed to the plants’, etc are their ‘proof’ that the circles could not possibly be the work of mere human mortals. I think this attitude shows a complete lack of belief in human potential. Do these people not look around them and see what human civilization has achieved? The scientific, engineering and artistic marvels? We can get a man to the moon and back, but these people can’t believe that a few well organized artists can flatten cereal crops in a complex pattern. Of course within the same community there are those that don’t believe we ever sent men to moon.