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FLICKER

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Published on Apr 23, 2008

"Really, I think, behind everything, he was trying to teach people to see differently." - Genesis P-Orridge, on Brion Gysin

The dream machine looks simple enough: A 100-watt light bulb, a motor, and a rotating cylinder with cutouts. Just sit in front of it, close your eyes, and wait for the visions to come.

The dream machine offers a drugless high that its creator -- poet, artist, calligrapher and mystic Brion Gysin -- believed would revolutionize human consciousness.

He wasn't alone. Kurt Cobain had a dream machine. And William S. Burroughs thought it could be used to "storm the citadels of enlightenment."

With a custom-made dream machine in tow, director Nik Sheehan takes us on a journey into the life of Brion Gysin -- his art, his complex ideas, and his friendships with some of the 20th century's key counterculture figures.

Gysin was fascinated by identity. He saw himself as a incarnation of the 10th-century King of Assassins, trained in counter-espionage during WWII, and wrote and rewrote his name in countless permutations, as if to make it disappear -- in the process, inventing the cut-up technique that his lifelong friend, Beat novelist Burroughs, would make famous.

Featuring greats like Burroughs (in archival footage), singer Marianne Faithfull, singer/artist Genesis P-Orridge of Psychic TV, poet John Giorno, rocker Iggy Pop, filmmaker Kenneth Anger, and artist/turntablist DJ Spooky, FLicKeR is a hypnotic documentary.

Taking the dream machine as the basis of its explorations, FLicKeR asks crucial questions about the nature of art and consciousness, and imagines a humanity liberated to explore its creativity in complete freedom.

Brion Gysin (1916-1986) was a multimedia artist and mystic most famous in his lifetime for inventing a system called The Cut Ups, often credited to his best friend and soul mate the Beat writer William S. Burroughs. Traversing many nationalities, Gysin was a Sufi initiate, Secret knowledge. Dream Machine 1960 at the Beat Hotel after experiencing flicker near Marseilles tried everything to market and sell his ticket. Control systems kif. Yes? Hello? Aligned with Breton's surrealists but to crushing defeat, taken off the wall the night before, doubts remain. Morocco Atlas mountains Jajouka musicians Brion Jones recorded died Kurt Cobain had a Dream Machine. I am That I am. Junk is no good baby. Grid patterns. Hassan I Sabbah. Man is a bad animal. Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.

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