By Liz Black, July 20th, 2010
Those with nervous disorders or photosensitive epilepsy may do best to stay away from the New Museum from July 7 until Oct. 3 thanks to Brion Gysin: Dream Machine. Gysin’s Dreamachine is a kinetic light sculpture that uses the flicker effect to generate visions while the viewer has their eyes closed. Optical nerve stimulation is caused through the fluctuation of light, allowing the viewer to see variegated kaleidoscopic colors and patterns below their closed eyelids. If witnessed long enough, the nonsensical patterns become symbols and shapes, which seem to envelop the viewer. Barring any aforementioned disorder, the Dreamachine is truly nothing to fear, as the swirling colors will vanish as soon as the viewer opens their eyes.
Gysin has inspired a myriad of artists, poets, filmmakers and musicians; besides writer William S. Burroughs, Gysin is also cited as an influence of David Bowie, Keith Haring, Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Genesis P-Orridge and Iggy Pop, some of the most famous and well known musicians and artists of their time.
Besides the titular piece, the exhibit will also reveal over three hundred paintings, films, books, drawings, slide projections, photo-collages and sound works created by Gysin.
Brion Gysin Dream Machine photos courtesy of The New Museum; Brion Gysin, Dreamachine, 1961; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.