19 November 2009

True love (Dream Machine)

"We must storm the citadels of enlightenment, the means are at hand."

- William S. Burroughs in a letter to Brion Gysin


William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin were in love. They never had sexual relations but were in a mutual situation of deep friendship, companionship and collaboration for many years. They were truly life partners.


Brion Gysin designed what is called the 'Dream Machine' (which in some ways resembles a spinning lamp shade) and sent his plans for it to Burroughs, whose response is quoted above.

The Dream Machine works to create a transcendental, subconscious or hallucinatory state, not dissimilar to that induced by certain illicit substances. To create this effect one stands or sits before the machine with eyes closed to allow the light to pass freely over the eyelids. Apparently the effects of the Dream Machine are utterly revelatory, perhaps like the sense of lightness felt when watching the sun flicker through trees from the window of a moving vehicle. You can see a little of how it works in the clip below:

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