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  Cycle index  
FLicKeR
dir. Nik Sheehan / Canada 2008 / 75’
subtitles: Polish and English
Movies on Art International Competition

Cast

Brion Gysin, Marianne Faithfull, Iggy Pop, DJ Spooky, Genesis P-Orridge, The Stooges, Jean-Jacques Lebel, Ira Cohen, John Giorno, Lee Ranaldo, Floria Sigismondi

Film description

In 1958 Brion Gysin, a radical artist of the Beat Generation, experienced a strange psychosomatic feeling. Sunshine passing through leaves seen during a train journey made him euphoric. Stunned with the intensity of this moment, he resolved to create a device which would let anybody 'get high with no drugs'. Gysin's invention, known as the 'dreamachine' never reached anyone but a small circle of friends, but it was a sensation of the underground world. The glimmering, hallucinogenic stroboscope-like effect of the 'dreamachine' intoxicated William Burroughs, Kenneth Anger, Marianne Faithfull, Iggy Pop, Genesis P-Orridge of Psychic TV and Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth. Gysin's invention caused stormy controversies among artists and critics who argued whether it could be recognised as an absolute piece of 20th century art or not. Does perception of art end when you close your eyes or is that when it just starts? The 'dreamachine' became a symbol of the moral revolution.

Nik Sheehan has made a fascinating, hypnotising portrait of a radical, an inventor of the impossible and a Beat Generation mystic, whose counter-culture could have changed the world, but it didn't.

Ewa Szabłowska

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