Friday, June 4, 2010

"the first art object to be seen with the eyes closed



It is to remember that all art is magical in origin - music sculpture writing painting - and by magical I mean intended to produce very definite results. Paintings were originally formulae to make what is painted happen. Art is not an end in itself, any more that Einstein's matter-into-energy formulae is an end by itself. Like all formulae, art was originally functional, intended to make things happen, the way an atom bomb happens from Einstein's formula. Take a porcelain stove and disconnect it and put it in your living room with ivy growing over it... it may be a good-looking corpse but it isn't functional anymore. Or take a voodoo doll full of pins - authentic West African, $500 on the 57th Street - and hang it on the wall of your duplex loft. It isn't killing enemies anymore, and the same goes for a $5,000 shrunk-down head, which a fashionable shrink bought for his consultation room. Writing and painting were one in cave paintings, which were formulae to ensure good hunting...

The painting of Brion Gysin deals directly with the magical roots of art. His paintings are formulae designed to produce in the viewer the timeless ever changing world of magic caught in the painter's brush - bits of vivid and vanishing detail. . . . The pictures constantly change because you are drawn into time travel on a network of associations. Brion Gysin paints from the viewpoint of timeless space.


~ William S. Burroughs, Essay in Contemporary Artists Magazine ~*


It is to remember that all art is magical in origin - music sculpture writing painting - and by magical I mean intended to produce very definite results. Paintings were originally formulae to make what is painted happen. Art is not an end in itself, any more that Einstein's matter-into-energy formulae is an end by itself. Like all formulae, art was originally functional, intended to make things happen, the way an atom bomb happens from Einstein's formula. Take a porcelain stove and disconnect it and put it in your living room with ivy growing over it... it may be a good-looking corpse but it isn't functional anymore. Or take a voodoo doll full of pins - authentic West African, $500 on the 57th Street - and hang it on the wall of your duplex loft. It isn't killing enemies anymore, and the same goes for a $5,000 shrunk-down head, which a fashionable shrink bought for his consultation room. Writing and painting were one in cave paintings, which were formulae to ensure good hunting...

The painting of Brion Gysin deals directly with the magical roots of art. His paintings are formulae designed to produce in the viewer the timeless ever changing world of magic caught in the painter's brush - bits of vivid and vanishing detail. . . . The pictures constantly change because you are drawn into time travel on a network of associations. Brion Gysin paints from the viewpoint of timeless space.


~ William S. Burroughs, Essay in Contemporary Artists Magazine ~*

When I first fell into the cut-ups and put those texts together which appeared in Minutes to Go, they amused me. I laughed out loud. I knew all about Breton's precious and pseudoautomatic writing and I had heard of the poem that TristanTzara pulled out of a hat about the same time that Aragon was reciting his alphabet poem to the avantgarde of the 1920s. all that was old hat. The cut-ups were brand new because the words were treated like mere material, like the images they are and treated in a painter's creative way rather than a writer's metaphysical view of language as the lesser part of speech. Words were attacked physically with the scissors or framer's Stanley blade.

I showed the first texts to Burroughs hoping to hear him laugh out loud as I had. He took off his glasses to reread them even more intently, saying : " You've got something big here, Brion."


~ BG, Here To Go ~

We began to find out a whole lot of things about the real nature of words and writing...What are words and what are they doing? Where are they going? The cut-up method treats words as the painter treats his paint, raw material with rules and reasons of its own... Abstract painters found that the real hero of the picture is the paint. Painters and writers of the kind I respect want to be heroes, challenging fate in their lives and in their art. What is fate ? Fate is written : Mektoub means "It is written." So ... if you want to challenge and change fate ... cut up words. Make them a new world.


~ BG, Rolling Stone interview ~

{ Interview about Cut-Ups, Non-linear Adding Machine, Video

Had a transcendental storm of color visions today in the bus going to Marseilles. We ran through a long avenue of trees and I closed my eyes against the setting sun. An overwhelming flood of intensely bright patterns in supernatural colors exploded behind my eyelids: a multi-dimensional kaleidoscope whirling out through space. I was out in a world of infinite number. The vision stopped abruptly as we left the trees. Was that a vision? What happened to me?

Ian Sommerville, who also read Walter, ( Walter Grey, "The Living Brain" ) wrote me from Cambridge on February 15, 1960:

"I have made a simple flicker machine. You look at 'it with your eyes shut and the flicker plays over your eyelids. Visions start with a kaleidoscope of colors on a plane in front of the eyes and gradually become more complex and beautiful, breaking like surf on a shore until whole patterns of color are pounding to get in. After awhile the visions were permanently behind my eyelids and I was in the middle of the whole scene with limitless patterns being generated around me. There was an almost unbearable feeling of spatial movement for a while but It was well worth getting through for I found that when it stopped I was high above the earth in a universal blaze of glory. Afterwards I found that my perception of the world around me had increased very notably. All conceptions of being dragged or tired had dropped away..."

I made a "machine" from his ensuing description and added to it an interior cylinder covered vith the type of painting I have developed in the three years since my first flicker experience. Flicker may prove to be a valid instrument of practical psychology: some people see and others do not. The DREAMACHINE, with it's patterns visible to the open eye, induces people to see. The fluctuating elements of flickered design support the development of autonomous "movies", intensely pleasurable and, possibly, instructive to the viewer.

What is art? What is color? What is vision? These old questions demand new answers when, in the light of the DREAMACHINE one see all of ancient and modern abstract art with eyes closed.


~ BG, DREAMACHINE ~

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1 comment:

Dreamachine said...

We are very excited about the Brion Gysin exhibition!

http://www.newmuseum.org/exhibitions/422/brion_gysin_dream_machine
http://assets1.artslant.com/ny/events/show/109314-dream-machine
http://www.briongysin.ca
http://www.briongysin.com
http://www.flickerflicker.com
http://flicker.myfilmblog.com
http://www.johngeiger.net/flicker.html
http://www.johngeiger.net/nothing.html
http://www.thamesandhudsonusa.com/new/fall03/528438.htm
http://www.thebeathotelmovie.com
http://groups.to/dreamachine
http://profile.to/dreamachine/
http://www.dreamachine.ca