Saturday, May 17, 2008

(It) sounded like a light aircraft, lights seen were 2 steady white, 1 green and I red flashing…

From the nice people at Things two great links; the first to here, recently released government files on UFO sightings. Amazing stuff that reads like an old episode of Doctor Who or a Brit science fiction film from the ‘60’s with transcripts of questions in the House of Lords and earnest conspiracy theorist questions stonewalled by MOD officials.

I remember reading a few years ago an essay of a deconstructivist bent that argued conspiracy theory was an example of post structuralist discourse in that it destabilised meaning and cast doubt on truth. This seems an obvious point at first but it had a subtler resonance missed by conspiracy theorists themselves. The point about these theories is that they cannot be proved. They are by their nature in permanent opposition to the truth. As soon as they are proved they become the official line which must then be disproved, or opened back up to question. This is why they lend themselves to outcasts and occultists who define themselves by their outsider status, using conspiracy theory as a scaffold on which to hang their disbelief. This is also of course the kind of labyrinthine hall of mirrors so beloved of post-structuralism.

The point of conspiracy theory is not to uncover the truth (whatever people might say to the contrary) but to question the truth in the first place. UFO’s are the ultimate conspiracy theory because the question is always phrased as; “why haven’t we seen them?” and not; “why would we?”.

I love UFO photographs though. I’m fascinated by the effort that goes into them and their geneology. They speculate on the design of unknown objects, each one contributing to a collective sense of what such things might be. Also, why are they round? We have rockets and ‘they’ have discs. I’m convinced this is something to do with their ambiguity, whether they are coming towards us or away, whether they are large or small. It allows them to hover forever at the edge of our knowledge, a constant source of anxiety and speculation.

The second link more prosaically is to Chris’s British Road Directory which as well as being a site of extraordinary research contains some amazing material including photographs of the building of the M1 motorway that are strangely moving, and an archive of old road signs.

The wonderful I Like stays strangely silent on the subject of UFO’s (suspicious that) but does have a link to Utopia Brittanica, a site devoted to tracing the history of utopian communities in the UK. This is a theme close to my heart and I wrote a piece not so long ago about such places and in particular one in the village where I grew up which fascinated me as a child and continues to have a hold on my imagination now.

At the time of writing it - for a German magazine called Die Planung - I tried to do some research for it and failed, largely. Unfortunately Utopia Brittanica stops its search at 1945 but it’s highly likely that someone somewhere is compiling a site about Hippie Communities in the Essex Countryside During the 1980’s. If there isn't I want to know why. Perhaps the information contained within it is too dangerous and it has been suppressed. Suspicious, very suspicious.

1 comment:

Anne said...

Thanks for the mention. I hadn't even noticed there were no UFOs. Most of the time my gaze is firmly at eye-level. Isn't that roads site great? I could read it for hours.