Wednesday, August 22, 2007
WHAT IS A DREAMACHINE?
In the history of the world, Dreamachines are the first objects made to be viewed with closed eyes.
In the history of art, Dreamachines bring to a conclusion the period of kinetic invention in modern painting and sculpture.
Dreamachines open a new era and a new era of vision... interior vision.
"Dreamachines make visible the fundamental order present in the physiology of the brain."
YOU are the artist when you approach a Dreamachine and close your eyes. What the dreamachine incites you to see is yours... your own. The brilliant interior visions you so suddenly see whirling around inside your head are produced by your own brain activity. These may not be your first glimpses of these dazzling lights and celestially colored images. Dreamachines provide them only just as long as you choose to look into them. What you are seeing is perhaps a broader vision than you may have had before of your own incalculable treasure, the "Jungian" store of symbols which we share with all normally constituted humanity. From this storehouse, artists and artisans have draw. the elements of art down the ages. In the rapid flux of images, you will immediately recognize, crosses, stars and halos... woven patterns like pre-Columbian textiles and Islamic rugs... repetitive patterns on ceramic tile... in embroideries of all times... rapidly fluctuating serial images of abstract art... what look like endless expanses of fresh paint laid on with a palette knife.
Dreamachine visions usually begin by the meteorically rapid transit of infinite series of abstract elements. These may be followed in time by clear perception of faces, figures and the apparent entractment of highly colored serial pseudo-events. In other words, dreams in colour.
The Dreamachine is a Dream-Machine.
These dreams can be immediately interrupted and brought to an end simply by opening your eyes.
However you look into a Dreamachine, in a short time you will have acquired greater self-knowledge, extended the limits of your vision, brightened your perception of a treasure you may not have known you own.
HIS NAME WAS MASTER
In 1916 Brion Gysin arrived screaming and kicking, suffering forever, he said, from thee adverse effects ov constricted vaginal muscle. Projected through a world that was like Disneyland into a world that became Disneyland, via a port ov entry charged by light. Brion travelled in time and light, and made us all cry easier than loose in our own earthbound domesticity.
E am coumvinced, always will be, that Brion is, was and will be, a Cultural Alchemist.
He could be so negative, stubborn and cantakerous, that screaming suicide off high buildings became more enlightening than his clammed up viscocity ov no-speak. Frustrating all attempts to a direct answer to a direct question, he would benignly draw on his kit, and, eyes twinkling, play magickal Cat and Mouse for literally hours on end. E have never met a more knowledgeable, more capable teacher anywhere, either as myth or saint, or, as in Brion's case, as human. At thee end ov thee day he was thee only man E ever wrote love letters to. To master a long goodnight...
And now, in present time. He's not here. And it hurts. It hurts coumpletely. In thee way that sneaks into us unnanounced, cutting nerves and emotions, crippling our coumplacent daily stance and opening up our pain synapses to snapping point.
In 1975 E wrote to Brion. E was co-editor ov a reference book ov mammoth proportions called "Contemporary Artists", and E was determined that Brion should be rightfully represented in that tome as a radical Artist and Painter. Not dismissed as an eccentric dilletanie as had appeared to have happened in thee deceptual art world. For ten yeras E had, like so many, been tracking down these renegades via deleted Beach Books, often found in Soho porn shops. Exploding with multiple recognitions ov contemporary arcane knowledge that appeared to coumfirm youthful instincts and intuitions, Brion was always thee hardest to find.
He remained that way forever.
He had becoum light.
There was no focus, only reverberating frequencies and pulses, crystals at his centre. He had becoum, quite literally and physically, a Dreamachine that had assumed human form for thee reassurance ov us mere observers. We stare with closed eyes. He flickers bright on our retinas and generates vivid signals. E see all about Brion as Magick and Light. E re-discovered perception through him.
Out to Brion went a list ov questions about his life so far. Back came a cultured exclamation ov surprise with a note, "Even the C.I.A. don't know this much about me". Through correspondence we met in Paris. He would make tea in his tiny kitchen, Morroccan style. Naming thee different bubbles as thee water heated. As thee fish eyes appeared he poured thee water onto thee tea. Exploding its flavour. Thee Alchemists believe that water boils at 101°, he explained. We soon developed a tradition, chocolate biscuits and tea in thee afternoons. A small pasta meal in thee evening, with spirits to accoumpany it. Coffee later on. E would sit. Thee sound ov drumming outside thee Pornpidou centre. Flashes ov Marrakpsh. Sunlight catching thee white flowers on his table, smell ov hash smoke. Swiss Urenmachine in thee corner. Calligraphic paintings on thee easel. Notebooks in rows. Morroccan trinkets reminding me ov his influence ovpr Brian Jones. And he would talk. It was like a children's fairytale. Thee child looking up spellbound and thee Grandfather enrapturing with his amazing tales and anecdotes. Never enough time. Yellow light cutting across thee later shadows and dreams. There is no way to describe how proud E was to meet and know this man.
"the hallucinated have come to tell you that yr utilities are being shut off, dreams monitored, thought directed, sex is shutting down everywhere you are being sent.
all words are taped, agents everywhere, marking
down the live ones to exterminate.
they are turning out the lights.
no they are not evil nor
the devil, but men with a spot of work to do.
this, dear friends, they intend to
do on you you.
you have been offered a choice
between liberty and freedom and NO! you cannot have
minutes to go
Thee way to write is to simply tell thee truth. The right way is to simply, tell thee truth.
"DEarset Gen There is not much point
in telling you just how negative I
am feeling these days... daze. I
have not much recovered from my
fall on the stairs. After all is said
and done, I felt only one thing. . .
...finished. I don't feel any
necessity to do all these things but
I guess I'll do them if I am still
stuck here and have to do them.
I'll do them the best that I can and
that may not be much. Don't worry.
Nothing much more to be said than
dumb numb no-news."
17 March 1982
And within everything else there is coumthing else. It's a spark. E live forver surrounded by Brion. He paintings on thee walls, his face in snapshots on thee mantelpiece. Thee glow ov Paris light. Caresse calls him "Grandad, my Grandad", and she is right. Thee wise old man ov thee lowlands. When E took Alaura to meet Brion for thee first time E was nervous. He's a bit ov a misogynist E warned. Well, he tries to be, butter E have always found him charming to women nonetheless. Alaura knew nothing about Brion except my love for him. Her love was instant and pure. He coumgratulated us on our impulsive marriage in Tijuana in 1981. Chance had it that two boys from Joujouka were staying with him In Paris that week. Brion made us relaxed. Alaura used thee Dreamachine.
Unprompted by any prior information about what it was, "Heathen Earth" played as she and thee Arab boys stared, ryes closed. E filmed on video. Soon Alaura was swirling through psychedelic patterns and vivid colours. Thee desert scapes, eyes ov Horus, so many archetypal symbols and places. Proof positive that thee Dreamachine actually works, is not triggered by preconceptions. And afterwards, thee most beautiful, priceless and special meal ov my whole life. Cooked and served by tht'e musicians ov Joujouka. As we ate and talked, Brion was full ov energies, thee boys played thee sacred musick ov Pan on pipes in candlelight. E was once more in a fairytale, thee old magician conjouring sensations and rewards.
E have never lost my joy and thanks for such a special gift from Brion. Nothing could have been more literally priceless than that dark, orange, flamelit evening. At thee end ov thee evening, he gave us a painting. Our pagan wedding present, which he inscribed for us. All thee fears and illnesses, all thee betrayals and losses ov his life, his bittrrnesses and fliratations with socialites were nothing. He was thee wisest, kindest man in thee world, and we loved him totally for it.
Brion's work and friendship is a reminder ov work to be done, and a challenge to thee stagnant coumplacency ov thee dreamless minds that would like to drown us. Magick begins ini dreams, dreaming what we would like to happen, programming our subconscious. If you take these dreams seriously enough they DO happen. Dreams are descriptions ov. how things really are. A product ov thee Third Mind, ov perceptual editing and focused will.
Dreams are accurate transmissions.
There should be no separation between work, life, dreams. We must all aim for coumplete integration ov every possible and impossible facet ov our minds, emotions, responses and relationships, and then express that integration through popular culture and expressive arts, through frpndships and events, through light and time.
Brion was a philosophical and alchemical transmitteri receiver. His ideas are frequencies that travel and confront as intimately as Television, butter with thee content ov full knowledge and potency ov shamanic, ritual Magick. No womnder he fell in love with thee Pipes ov Pan and thee sunlight ov thee desert. There should be no separation. Separation would be dishonest, would go against a dream ov evolution through knowledge and psychic development, would go against all our potential.
A book, a film, music, paintings, love, are all thee person who makes and feels them. This is a magickal process and makes things happen. It reveals even more. Thee first time E looked at Brion's drawings they appeared abstract calligraphics. Then he told me they were portrayals ov Arab market places. E could suddenly see they were indeed photographically accurate pictures ov everyday scenes. They simply included thee nature ov reality and time that engages our receptors in a manner we are unused to. Now E always introduce his paintings as figurative works to make this point. Man dreams before he talks, and since our first dreams we have felt that therein are messages. Prophesies, descriptions and events that cannot be ignored. Arcane societies and civilisations in their wisdom, and to their credit, employed people to interpret and record these dreams. Priests would stand on towers and pass their hands before their eyes rapidly creating a flicker effect against thee sun, eventually "tripping out" and speaking ov visions which were coumsidered holy and powerful.
Today, a society and culture with a vested interest in thee suppression ov imagination, self-assurance, creativity, questioning and aspiration, discards dreams and esoteric techiques as trivia. Dreams are merely disturbed nights, or entertainment. Brion saw dreams as a parallel and interconnected universe. A commentary on Man's potential and hopes.
He was in many ways a traditional Artist, yet by thee nature ov his personality he was simultaneously and without self-contradiction thee most radical thinker ov our age in thee area ov Magickal creativity and cross-discipline possibilities. No surprise then, that his greatest political and behavioural achievement was dubbed The 'Dreamachine. A simple machine to decondition and reactivate our perceptions.
Societies controllers try to ensure that dreams are represented as vestigial trappings ov intuition, and are best kept in their place. For Brion and those who revere his work, that way lies death. When you cease to dream, you cease to exist. Shut your eyes. Thee world doesn't die. Open them, and in a sense half ov it does. Dreams generate ideas, liberate behaviour, enhance sexuality, empower Magick, and most ov all create possibilities.
No wonder Brion was frozen out to thee sideshows ov painting and writing. Too real. Too close to functional and practical techniques. Now, through Brion, we have a Dreamachine. Perhaps a crucial tool for thee arousal ov vision, perception and inner space that has becoum our heritage. Make no mistake, its suppression in subtle ways was no accident. A machine that for thee price ov a lightbulb leads you drugless into thee core ov your being, taps you into thee mass subconscious, stimulates thee mind, and bridges thee abyss between sleep and wakefulness, conscious and unconscious life. Brion recognised that we are at war. Thee fight is between suppression and perception, sexuality and guilt; and between all those things that bolster and assist control, manipulation and darkness, and all those things that encourage freedom, evolution, hope and light.
In thee eleven yeras we were friends, thee question E most asked Brion was, "Tell me about Magick". Thee question he most studiously avoided was thee same. Yet he once graciously gave me a clue. "Do you know your real name?", he said. E did. And then he told me his. It was as E expected.
There was never a superiority or generation gap with Brion. He was always living in now and thee future. In present time. Thinking ov new projects, working with young people, making music, records, painting. Holding 'soirees' for young fans and seekers, always outgoing and moving, always absorbing and thinking. Thee last time we saw him was in Paris in 1986, ten days before he died. Alaura and E sat and held his hand. Being physically alive had becoum a struggle,
"I just never guessed that it would hurt so much", he said. And really there was nothing more to say. It was over.
Brion was sure he was here to go. We are left here to do.
And what we do is described by, defined by, and coumtained within our dreams.
During that last afternoon thee undertaker came to discuss death arrangements with Brion. Alaura and E went walking around Rue St.Martin. We couldn't articulate thee craziness ov life and death. There was nothing to say. Two boys from behind thee iron curtain stopped us, and told us ov their work with electrical sculpture and words. They were influenced by thee work ov Brion, who they'd heard lived in Paris. We drank coffee and took their address. Exiles in America. "He doesn't live in Paris anymore". E said. We felt euphorically disconnected, yet cold. Suppressing out- emotions and terrors because they meant nothing. Had no value against losing Brion. So many people who love him so much. All knowing they will lose him soon.
Frail Images ov his room. Now n hospice. 1 her air itself thee colour ov thee plastic tubes nnd bags ov liquid. Casting a cold bluish tinge through everything. As thee light was going from him, his space was becouming transparent.
Ten days later Alaura came rushing into thee room crying, sobbing uncontrollably.
"Brion's dead", she said.
DREAM MACHINE WEAVER
No living American writer has influenced rock'n'roll songwriters more than William Burroughs. Of the stars who have paid homage to Burroughs, none made as strong an impression on him as Kurt Cobain. It therefore came as a surprise to the editors of HIGH TIMES when on December 17, 1994, the magazine received a fax from a Seattle-based group, "Friends Understanding Kurt," laying partial blame for Cobain's suicide on the master himself.
The gist of the charge was that in the last months of his life, Cobain acquired a device called the Dream Machine, which had been created by Burroughs' friend and collaborator Brion Gysin and popularized by Burroughs. The Dream Machine, the group wrote, is "a dangerous trance-inducing contraption," and there has been a "string of suicides associated with the machine since the '60s." Furthermore, they claimed, it was "in fact, the catalyst in Kurt's unbelievably tragic, untimely death. To this day Courtney ponders whether the Dream Machine is really responsible for Kurt's death...If Kurt had not come into contact with its manufacturer, he would be with us today."
The Dream Machine consists of a cardboard cylinder with holes in it attached to a record-player turntable, in the middle of which sits a 100-watt light bulb. When the machine is turned on, the cylinder spins at 78 rpm. Subjects sit in front of the cylinder and close their eyes, and the light reflects through the holes in the spinning cylinder on the eyelids. The resulting flashes of light may, if the subjects are susceptible, create a mild sensation akin to the effect of the simplest light show. Aided by the inhalation of good pot and the sound of hot rock, the device might create at best a mild dreamlike sensation, or at worst (unless you're prone to epileptic seizures) an even milder headache. It's an adaptation of flicker technology, first seen with strobe lights and now packaged as brain machines.
Burroughs once said about the Dream Machine, "Subjects report dazzling lights and unearthly brilliance and color...Elaborate geometric constructions of incredible intricacy build up from multidimensional mosaic into living fireballs like the mandalas of Eastern Mysticism or resolve momentarily into apparently individual images and powerfully dramatic scenes like brightly colored dreams."
Following up the same fax, SOMA, the San Francisco "journal of Left Coast culture," found Steve Newman, a representative of Friends Understanding Kurt, who claimed Cobain had used the Dream Machine for "up to 72 hours at a time." Newman said the core of FUK was himself, Love, Love's attorney Celeste Mitchell and other friends of Cobain's, as well as various peripheral members." Love, he explained, played more of a "low-key role." HIGH TIMES' efforts to contact FUK were unsuccessful. Interview requests made through Love's record company, Geffen, and publicity agency, PMK, about this subject, were not answered. An attempt to acquire photos taken during Cobain's visit to Burroughs' home in Lawrence, KS in 1993--that had been given to Rosemary Carroll, Love's principal attorney--also didn't merit a return call.
However, we did locate David Woodard, the San Francisco businessman who manufactures and sells replicas of Gysin and Burroughs' Dream Machine for $145. In an interview conducted by Victor Bockris for HIGH TIMES, Woodard contended that Cobain called him as many as 20 times over a period of six months during 1993 and 1994 to talk about his life and the Dream Machine. "I got the sense that he was using it for long periods, but 72 hours? That's ludicrous."
Woodard met Cobain at a party in Seattle in the summer of 1993. He prefers not to detail the specifics of how and when Kurt bought the machine. According to the fax, "Woodard honorably complied with Kurt's very sincere wish, promptly and professionally shipping a freshly minted machine to Madrone [Seattle]: The state of California does not prohibit the sale of this fancy death machine to desperate young millionaires."
Surprisingly, Woodard admits that the Dream Machine may have compounded Cobain's problems. "If anything," he says, "the Dream Machine helped him to see that he was beginning to fall apart as a cultural figure. He felt like Andy Warhol, Wagner and Satan rolled up into one. He was in a very special place which invited timely suicide. It seemed like it was the perfect decision."
Does Woodard concede that the device he sold Cobain contributed to his death? "I pictured the suicide as being informed by an inner voice which was made audible through his experiences with the Dream Machine," he explains. "Yes, the Dream Machine played a part."
Perhaps Cobain knew what he was doing. Woodard leaves us with this image of his 27-year-old disciple: Kurt's in a full-scale Dream Machine-induced trance, his body hurtling from the glittering Manhattan skyline to a panorama of snowcapped Himalayas. His turquoise eyes are wide open. He's above the clouds now, contemplating the next stop on this magic carpet ride. Suddenly, he blasts off into deep blue space.
The controversy over what effect a psychedelic light machine had on Kurt Cobain during the last days of his life may be a smokescreen that plays into the hands of those who would have us believe he took his life two years ago. Tom Grant calls the fax a "confusion tactic" and "a futile effort to throw a blanket of deception over the truth." He clearly believes Friends Understanding Kurt is Courtney Love.
Hopefully, this article will stimulate discussion and lead to more revelations from those who really know what happened to Kurt Cobain and why he is no longer with us
by Bryon Gysin
In the past the muttering leaped
in our coughing & spitting
in the silver throats morning
TRUST IN OUR BONES
Most of the apeforms died there
on the treeless slopes
Dumb animal eyes brought the sickness
>From white time cave frozen in my throat
To hatch in the warm steamlands
spitting songs of new
Scarlet birth in egg flesh
Beyond the path limestone floats down
into a high green savannah
and the grass wind on our genitals
Came to a swamp fed by hotsprings
& mountain ice
and fell in flesh heaps
Sick apes spitting blood laugh
Sound bubbling in throats
torn with the talk sickness
Faces and bodies covered with pusfoam
Animal hair through the purple sex flesh
A sick sound twisted through body
Underwater music bubbling on bloodbed
Human faces tentative flicker
In and out of focus
We waded into the warm mud water
Hair and apeflesh often screaming strips
Stood naked human bodies
Covered with phosphorescent green jelly
Soft tentative flesh cut with ape wounds
Felling other genitals
Fingers & tongues rubbing off the jelly cover
Body melting pleasure sounds
in the warm mud
Till the sun went
The blue wind of silence
Touched human faces & hair
When we came out of the mud
We had names
In the past muttering arctic flowers
Just of frost wind
And most of the apes still felt
spitting the blood bends
our bones out of focus
we dive there treeless
washed the hair in apeflesh
ME stood naked human body
caves frozen in my throat
green jelly soft tense flesh
song of new birthed in other genitals
limestone floats cover our bodies
melting in savannah & grass mud
shit and sperm fed hot bodies
till the sun went
the mountain touched
human bubbling throats
we crawled out of the mud
WE, faces & bodies covered
the purple sex flesh
and the sickness leaped into our body
in the silver morning frost
faces tentative flicker
in egg forms
into the war mud & water slopes
cold screaming sickness from white time
covered with phosphorescence
shed in the warm lands
spitting ape wounds
stealing egg flesh
Beyond the past
Tongue rubbing off the jelly arm
High green pleasure sound
Warm on our genitals
Flesh blue wind of silence
Ape spitting sound faces
The talking sickness had names
The sound stood naked in the grass
Music bubbling in the blood
exploded flesh from the laughing bones
I AM ALLAH
I MADE YOU
A blue mist filled the well
And shut off our word-breath
Branches in the wind, his knees,
Other mouths against
the green evening sky
And the other did not want to touch me
Because of the white worm thing inside
But no one could refuse
if I wanted and ate the fear
I wanted softness in other men
And some did not eat flesh
And died because they could no live
With the thing inside
I pulled the skin over my head
And I mad another man put on the skin
And we fucked like the animal
When we found the animal
Then I killed both
So I knew the thing inside me
Will always find animals
To feed my mouth meat
These little games were not new to me
I had exercised for years
In the elaborate jungle gym of my conscience
In nomine pater, kid.
as Jimmy Cannon used to say
I didn't have to begin at the beginning again
I could remember the beginning well enough
And when the beginning really was
I first remember by mother scolding me
For playing with myself
That's what I called the game
When I first began to play it
When I first learned to come
Playing with myself
I did it like this
I am not in my right foot
I am not in my left foot
I am not in my right leg
I am not in my left leg
I am not in my trunk
Not even in my heart
Easy does it
I am not in my right arm
I am not in my left arm
I am not in my face
It hangs like a mask
In the front of my head
But I am in my head
Yes, I am in the cage of my head
Where in my head?
Am I that?
Am I this?
This & that
Can't this get out of the top of my head?
A great little game
Just put yourself up on the ceiling
And look down on what's left on the bed
Who's left in this cell?
What happened to him?
Why should I care?
That's what's important
Me I'm here
Now the other case was some years later in London when he had
perfected the method and, uh, went about with at least one I think
sometimes two tape recorders, one in each hand, with prerecorded,
um-runes-what did you call them? You said William's things-
B: Spells, okay, spells.
Lock them out and bar the door,
Lock them out for e-v-e-rmore.
Nook and cranny windo door
Seal them out for e-v-e-rmore
Lock them out and block the rout
Shut them scan them flack them out.
Lock is mine and door is mine
Three times three to make up nine . . .
Curse go back curse go back
Back with double pain and lack
Curse go back - back
- ▼ 2007 (29)