The New Museum is hosting the first U.S. retrospective exhibit of the work of Brion Gysin. “Dreamachine” is a crucial step toward recognizing Gysin as one of the most influential minds of the 20th century. The exhibition brings together more than three hundred drawings, books, paintings, collages, films, slide projections, and sound works.
William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin, The Third Mind, ink and typescript on paper, 1965.
An original Dreamachine is also on display. In 1961, Gysin along with Ian Somerville conceived the device that is intended to be viewed with closed eyes. The Dreamachine produces light that pulses at a frequency that stimulates alpha waves in the brain. Initial experiences conjure common symbols to roll through the mind’s eye. Consistent use over time has been known to invoke virtual three-dimensional spaces and trigger senses beyond vision. I built my first Dreamachine in 1994 and have used it occasionally over the years. Here is a link to an online simulation, please heed the warnings as the effect can elicit photosensitive epilepsy.
Bryon Gysin with Dreamachine at Musée des Art Décoratifs, Paris, 1962.
It is impossible to sum up the importance of this man, his art and collaborations in a few short paragraphs. This is why it is so important to get to the New Museum before October 3rd. We are going to be spending the Fall and Winter in New York and actually altered our plans so that we would be sure not to miss this long-deserved remembrance.
William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin, The Third Mind, crayon, gelatin-silver prints, letterpress, offset lithography, and typescript on graph paper, 1965.
7 July – 3 October 2010
…AND for the truly ambitious, here is a link to build your own dreamachine. Izzy of Interzone is an old friend and one of the coolest people ever. “The Zone takes care of it’s own.”
Here’s a link to a Canadian outfit that sells the precut forms for 45 and 78 rpm turntables. I have not dealt with them, do so at your own risk.
The dream machine I made a few years back is sitting in my closet. I think it’s time to take it out and give it a spin!