Monday, April 13, 2009


Uncle Bill falls asleep at the dream machine.

And HCB has coincidentally sent us this review by Jason Anderson of the documentary FlicKeR, directed by Nik Sheehan.

“Toronto director Nik Sheehan’s biodoc on visionary painter and writer Brion Gysin doubles as a cogent yet appropriately trippy primer on how the activities of a few freaks who drifted between Paris and Tangier in the ’50s came to have a vast cultural influence. It was Gysin who led the Beats to Morocco after the British-born, Alberta-bred artist first joined Paul Bowles there in 1950. And it was Gysin who pioneered the literary cut-up technique that would be popularized by his pal William S. Burroughs. What interests Sheehan most of all in FLicKeR is another of Gysin’s innovations, the Dream Machine. This mysterious contraption offered the prospect of a drugless high. Though Sheehan has his own custom-made, the film also shows how low-cost versions can be jimmied up with a light bulb, some construction paper and a record player. (An additional record player may also be employed to spin Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” or the astral music of your choice.) Iggy Pop, Marianne Faithfull and Genesis P-Orridge are just three of the countercultural icons we see experiencing the machine’s effects on camera — alas, none report having visions of Karl Rove being sodomized by a mountain goat. In any case, Sheehan succeeds at renewing interest in an artist whose influence far outweighs his fame.”

1 comment:

Dick Headley said...

We can only wonder at the course history would have taken if Andre Breton hadn't expelled Gysin from the Surrealist Movement.