During his lifetime Brion Gysin (1916 – 1986) inspired an array of artists, writers, poets and musicians, notably the Beat Generation. Since his death Gysin’s own work has only increased in popularity, yet his radical approach to art defies categorization. Dream Machine is the first detailed study of Gysin’s oeuvre in both art-historical and contemporary contexts. A devotee of invention, Gysin created paintings, drawings, photo-collages, installations, poetry and sound experiments. He produced the cut-up collage novel The Third Mind (1965) with William Burroughs, and with Ian Sommerville developed the Dreamachine (1961), a kinetic sculpture designed to induce visions by playing flickering light on the closed eyes of the viewer. This exciting new book, featuring incisive texts, a photo essay, and appreciations by contemporary artists, captures the remarkable daring of an artistic visionary.

Gysin (1916-1986) was a U.S.-born cultural provocateur whose first 40 years found him, after a Canadian adolescence, flitting from career to career, as poet, painter, set designer (he assisted Irene Sharaff on a sheaf of major Broadway musicals in the 1940s), historian of the system of slavery in Canada and international gadabout in the homosexual coterie of Paul Bowles, Denham Fouts and Cecil Beaton. When he became involved with William S. Burroughs at the so-called “Beat Hotel” in Paris in 1959, Gysin made a leap into literary and hipster history by inventing the “cut-up,” joining together ripped sections of newspaper to form a nonlinear yet theoretically readable text. (Burroughs used this method, he claimed, in writing his novels The Soft Machine and Nova Express.) Gysin also invented the “Dream Machine,” a strobe-heavy sort of orgone box designed to drive its users into the systematic derangement of the senses foretold by Rimbaud. The debate about Gysin will always be whether he was a lightweight gadfly or a great Leonardo-type genius with tragically limited appreciation of his accomplishments. This book, coming out of a 1998 Gysin retrospective at the Edmonton Art Gallery, includes a plethora of Gysin documents and suggestive texts by a variety of art writers and Gysin geeks, should put Gysin’s detractors on the defensive. He did everything, and most of it’s here: He showed with Picasso, posed for Carl Van Vechten, led Brian Jones to the Pipes of Boujouka in Morocco, preached the gospel of kif, recorded a kind of spoken-word jazz with Steve Lacy and used the Dream Machine to help design dozens of abstract “calligraphic” pictures (among 195 color and 60 b&w illustrations here). The individual reader, of course, will decide whether it all means anything-or everything.

Judging from old photographs, you’d think Susi Wyss (b. 1938) was an angel in satin, but the look in her dark-ringed eyes tells a different story. Susi’s richly illustrated memoirs, Guess Who Is the Happiest Girl in Town, are the stuff that other girls’ dreams might be made of. After studying fashion design in Zürich, Susi met an aristocratic couple in Saint-Tropez who initiated her into the world of the European jet set. All the hype and hoopla around the “high life” may seem tasteless and insipid nowadays, but the way Susi sashayed through it back in the day was so exciting and outrageous that artists like the Swiss Manon and photographers like June (alias Alice Springs) and Helmut Newton immortalized her in books and magazines as a feminist spearhead of sexual liberation. She used to hold extravagant dinner parties for the Paris smart set in her apartment. In addition to her delectable home cooking, Susi recounts, “hashish, acid, mescaline, cocaine, threesomes, S&M, massages in the rooftop paddling pool and lots of fun were on the menu.” Her friends included Paul Getty, Baron Eric de Rothschild, Kenneth Anger, Iggy Pop, Dennis Hopper, the beatnik Brion Gysin and fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez. It wasn’t until her mid-thirties that Susi cashed in on her lifestyle and began working as a call girl, building up an illustrious clientele that included big wheels in politics, business and the arts. It wasn’t long before she was overwhelmed by the demand and had to recruit other young beauties to satisfy her burgeoning business. In a flash Susi had become an internationally renowned madam. Spanning the first forty years of Susi Wyss’s life, Guess Who Is the Happiest Girl in Town also reveals the darker side of her life story: the loss of youth, the deaths of near and dear ones, and the tipping point at which drugs and alcohol ceased to be merely fun. At forty, however, she quit her call-girl career and began writing about her life. If the Dutch “Happy Hooker” / Manhattan madam Xaviera Hollander “could make money with a book about sex,” she figured, “why can’t I?” So when Susi’s sensually slapstick stories don’t strum your heartstrings, they strike much lower, below the belt.

I Swear I Saw Thisrecords visionary anthropologist Michael Taussig’s reflections on the fieldwork notebooks he kept through forty years of travels in Colombia. Taking as a starting point a drawing he made in Medellin in 2006as well as its caption, “I swear I saw this”Taussig considers the fieldwork notebook as a type of modernist literature and the place where writers and other creators first work out the imaginative logic of discovery. Notebooks mix the raw material of observation with reverie, juxtaposed, in Taussig’s case, with drawings, watercolors, and newspaper cuttings, which blend the inner and outer worlds in a fashion reminiscent of Brion Gysin and William Burroughs’s surreal cut-up technique. Focusing on the small details and observations that are lost when writers convert their notes into finished pieces, Taussig calls for new ways of seeing and using the notebook as form. Memory emerges as a central motif in I Swear I Saw Thisas he explores his penchant to inscribe new recollections in the margins or directly over the original entries days or weeks after an event. This palimpsest of afterthoughts leads to ruminations on Freud’s analysis of dreams, Proust’s thoughts on the involuntary workings of memory, and Benjamin’s theories of historyfieldwork, Taussig writes, provokes childhood memories with startling ease. I Swear I Saw Thisexhibits Taussig’s characteristic verve and intellectual audacity, here combined with a revelatory sense of intimacy. He writes, “drawing is thus a depicting, a hauling, an unraveling, and being impelled toward something or somebody.” Readers will exult in joining Taussig once again as he follows the threads of a tangled skein of inspired associations.

With contributions by Agency, Irene Albers, Oksana Bulgakowa, Edwin Carels, Bart De Baere, Didier Demorcy, Brigid Doherty, Sergei Eisenstein, Anselm Franke, Masato Fukushima, Avery F. Gordon, Richard William Hill, Darius James, Gertrud Koch, Joachim Koester, Bruno Latour, Maurizio Lazzarato and Angela Melitopoulos, Vivian Liska, Henri Michaux, Santu Mofokeng, Philippe Pirotte, Florian Schneider, Erhard Schüttpelz, Michael Taussig, Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Martin Zillinger What is the role of aesthetic processes in the drawing of the boundaries between nature and culture, humans and things, the animate and inanimate? Structured around the aesthetic processes and effects of animation and mummification, Animism—a companion publication to the long-term exhibition of the same title, which premiered at Extra City Kunsthal Antwerpen in January 2010—brings together artistic and theoretical perspectives that reflect on the boundary between subjects and objects, and the modern anxiety that accompanies the relation between “persons” and “things.” With works by Agency, Art & Language, Christian W. Braune & Otto Fischer, Marcel Broodthaers, Paul Chan, Tony Conrad, Didier Demorcy, Walt Disney, Lili Dujourie, Jimmie Durham, Eric Duvivier, Harun Farocki, León Ferrari, Christopher Glembotzky, Victor Grippo, Brion Gysin, Luis Jacob, Ken Jacobs, Darius James, Joachim Koester, Zacharias Kunuk, Louise Lawler, Len Lye, Étienne-Jules Marey, Daria Martin, Angela Melitopoulos & Maurizio Lazzarato, Wesley Meuris, Henri Michaux, Santu Mofokeng, Vincent Monnikendam, Tom Nicholson, Otobong Nkanga, Reto Pulfer, Félix-Louis Regnault, Józef Robakowski, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Paul Sharits, Yutaka Sone, Jan Švankmajer, David G. Tretiakoff, Rosemarie Trockel, Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven, Dziga Vertov, Klaus Weber, Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Histoire en images et en commentaires de l'”underground”, conçu comme courant de pensée influent au XXe siècle. Avec les témoignages de Paul Bowles, Arrabal, Brion Gysin, Jodorowsky, Norman Mailer, Bob Dylan…

Truth in advertising: this cigar box-style raw wood case, 12 x 19 inches, is stamped Beat Bible / 2 Books in 1 / Beat & Pieces / + Beat Books. And that’s what it is. The first of its two titles, Beat & Pieces, is a previously released but little-known generational history in Allen Ginsberg’s enlightening Beat-era photographs and handwritten notes alongside Fernanda Pivano’s contextual essay. The second title, Beat Books, which appears in its first edition here, catalogues the covers of the most seminal Beat publications–from Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of the Mind to Ginsberg’s Howl to Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, alongside lesser-known books and a wide variety of anthologies and journals featuring such key voices as Gregory Corso, William Burroughs and Brion Gysin, among others. It lovingly collects Evergreen paperbacks, Two Cities editions, the bright red Pocket Poets volumes, and even a mass-market Signet paperback entitled Beat Beat Beat: A Hip Collection of Cool Cartoons About Life and Love Among the Beatniks.

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