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Encyclopedia > Brion Gysin
Brion Gysin

Brion Gysin (upper left) on the cover of Junk
Born 19 January 1916
Taplow, England
Died 13 July 1986
Paris, France
Occupation painter, writer, poet
Nationality American
Literary movement Beat, Postmodern

Brion Gysin (January 19, 1916 - July 13, 1986) was a painter, writer, sound poet, and performance artist born outside of London, Taplow, Buckinghamshire.[1] Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... is the 19th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1916 (MCMXVI) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Friday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Taplow is a village in Buckinghamshire, England. ... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ... is the 194th day of the year (195th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1986 (MCMLXXXVI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link displays 1986 Gregorian calendar). ... This article is about the capital of France. ... This article is about work. ... In English usage, nationality is the legal relationship between a person and a country. ... ... Look up beat, beating in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Postmodernity (also called post-modernity or the postmodern condition) is a term used by philosophers, social scientists, art critics and social critics to refer to aspects of contemporary art, culture, economics and social conditions that are the result of the unique features of late 20th century and early 21st century... is the 19th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1916 (MCMXVI) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Friday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... is the 194th day of the year (195th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1986 (MCMLXXXVI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link displays 1986 Gregorian calendar). ... Painting by Rembrandt self-portrait Detail from Las Meninas by Diego Velazquez, in which the painter portrayed himself at work For the computer graphics program, see Corel Painter. ... A writer is anyone who creates a written work, although the word more usually designates those who write creatively or professionally, or those who have written in many different forms. ... Sound poetry is a form of literary or musical composition in which the phonetic aspects of human speech are foregrounded at the expense of more conventional semantic and syntactic values; verse without words. By definition, sound poetry is intended primarily for performance. ... Performance art is art where the actions of an individual or a group at a particular place and in a particular time, constitute the work. ... Buckinghamshire (abbreviated Bucks) is one of the home counties in South East England. ...


He is best known for his rediscovery of Tristan Tzara's cut-up technique and its influence on the work of William S. Burroughs, calligraphic paintings inspired by Japanese and Arabic script, and for co-inventing the Dreamachine, a flicker device. Tristan Tzara () (April 16, 1896 – December 25, 1963) was a Romanian poet and essayist. ... The cut-up technique, also known as fishbowling, is an aleatory literary technique or genre in which a text is cut up at random and rearranged to create a new text. ... William Seward Burroughs II (February 5, 1914) - August 2, 1997; pronounced ), more commonly known as William S. Burroughs, was an American novelist, essayist, social critic, painter and spoken word performer. ... homemade version semi-off The Dreamachine (or Dream Machine) was invented by Beat generation members Brion Gysin and Ian Sommerville in 1959. ...

Contents

Biography

John Clifford Brian Gysin was born at Taplow House, England, a Canadian military hospital. His mother, Stella Margaret Martin, was a Canadian from Deseronto, Ontario. His father, Leonard Gysin, a captain with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, was killed in action eight months after his son's birth. Gysin and his mother returned to Canada and settled in Edmonton, Alberta where he became "the only Catholic day-boy at an Anglican boarding school." [2] On graduating, his mother sent him to Downside College in Bristol, England, known as "the Eton of Catholic public schools" and run by the Benedictines. For other places with the same name, see Edmonton (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Alberta (disambiguation). ...


In 1934, he moved to Paris to study La Civilisation Française, an open course given at the Sorbonne where he made literary and artistic contacts through Marie Berthe Aurauche, Max Ernst's first wife. [3] He joined the Surrealist Group and began frequenting Valentine Hugo, Leonor Fini, Salvador Dali, Picasso and Dora Maar. Inscription over the entrance to the Sorbonne The front of the Sorbonne Building The name Sorbonne (La Sorbonne) is commonly used to refer to the historic University of Paris in Paris, France or one of its successor institutions (see below), but this is a recent usage, and Sorbonne has actually... Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning in 1948. ... Valentine Hugo (1897 – 1968) was an artist. ... Leonor Fini Leonor Fini (August 30, 1907, Buenos Aires—January 18, 1996, Paris) was an Argentine surrealist painter. ... Salvador Dalí as photographed in 1934 by Carl Van Vechten Salvador Domenec Felip Jacint Dalí Domenech (May 11, 1904 - January 23, 1989) was an important Catalan-Spanish painter, best known for his surrealist works. ... A young Pablo Picasso Pablo Picasso, formally Pablo Ruiz Picasso, (October 25, 1881 - April 8, 1973) was one of the recognized masters of 20th century art. ... Henriette Theodora Markovitch alias Dora Maar (November 22, 1907 – July 16, 1997) was a French photographer and painter of Croatian descent, best known for being a lover and muse of Pablo Picasso. ...


Gysin had his first exhibition in 1935 at the Galerie Quatre Chemins in Paris with Ernst, Picasso, Hans Arp, Hans Bellmer, Victor Brauner, Giorgio de Chirico, Dali, Marcel Duchamp, René Magritte, Man Ray and Yves Tanguy. On the day of the preview, however, he was expelled from the Surrealist Group by André Breton who ordered the poet Paul Eluard to take down his pictures. Gysin was 19 years old. His biographer, John Geiger, suggests the arbitrary expulsion "had the effect of a curse. Years later, he blamed other failures on the Breton incident. It gave rise to conspiracy theories about the powerful interests who seek control of the art world. He gave various explanations for the expulsion, the more elaborate involving 'insubordination' or lèse majesté towards Breton." [4] Jean Arp (September 16, 1886 - June 7, 1966) was a sculptor, painter, and poet. ... La Poupée, by Hans Bellmer, currently located at the Centre Georges Pompidou, museum of modern art in Paris, France. ... Victor Brauner: Self-portrait with a plucked eye, 1931 Victor Brauner (June 15, 1903 - March 12, 1966) was a Romanian Jewish painter, the brother of Harry Brauner (a known folklorist who was a political prisoner in Communist Romania, and who later married Lena Constante). ... Giorgio de Chirico in 1936 photographed by Carl Van Vechten. ... Marcel Duchamp (pronounced ) (July 28, 1887 – October 2, 1968) was a French artist (he became an American citizen in 1955) whose work and ideas had considerable influence on the development of post-World War II Western art, and whose advice to modern art collectors helped shape the tastes of the... The Treachery Of Images (La trahison des images) (1928–1929) René François Ghislain Magritte (November 21, 1898 – August 15, 1967) was a Belgian surrealist artist. ... For other uses, see Man Ray (disambiguation). ... Indefinite Divisibility 1942 Raymond Georges Yves Tanguy (January 5, 1900 – January 15, 1955) was a surrealist painter. ... André Breton André Breton (French IPA: ) (February 19, 1896 – September 28, 1966) was a French writer, poet, and surrealist theorist, and is best known as the main founder of surrealism. ... Paul Éluard was the nom de plume of Eugène Grindel (December 14, 1895 - November 18, 1952), a French poet. ...


After serving in the U.S. army during WWII, Gysin published a biography of Josiah "Uncle Tom" Henson titled, To Master a Long Goodnight: The History of Slavery in Canada (New York, 1946). A gifted draughtsman, he took an 18-month course in Japanese language studies and calligraphy that would greatly influence his artwork.


In 1949, he won a Fulbright Fellowship to research the history of slavery at the University of Bordeaux and in the Archivos de India in Seville, Spain. He moved to Tangiers, Morocco after visiting the city with novelist and composer Paul Bowles in 1950. Paul Frederic Bowles (December 30, 1910 - November 18, 1999), was an American composer, author, and traveler. ...


In Tangier, Gysin co-founded and managed a restaurant called "The 1001 Nights" with Moroccan musicians from the village of Jajouka. The musicians performed there for an international clientèle that included William S. Burroughs. After losing the business in 1958, [5] , he returned to live in Paris, taking lodgings in a flophouse located at 9 rue Git-le-Coeur that would become famous as the Beat Hotel. Working on a drawing, he "re-discovered" a technique by accident: For other uses, see Tangier (disambiguation). ... William Seward Burroughs II (February 5, 1914) - August 2, 1997; pronounced ), more commonly known as William S. Burroughs, was an American novelist, essayist, social critic, painter and spoken word performer. ... The Beat Hotel was a small, run-down hotel at 9 Rue Git-le-Coeur in the Latin Quarter of Paris. ...

William Burroughs and I first went into techniques of writing, together, back in room No. 15 of the Beat Hotel during the cold Paris spring of 1958... Burroughs was more intent on Scotch-taping his photos together into one great continuum on the wall, where scenes faded and slipped into one another, than occupied with editing the monster manuscript... Naked Lunch appeared and Burroughs disappeared. He kicked his habit with apomorphine and flew off to London to see Dr Dent, who had first turned him on to the cure. While cutting a mount for a drawing in room No. 15, I sliced through a pile of newspapers with my Stanley blade and thought of what I had said to Burroughs some six months earlier about the necessity for turning painters' techniques directly into writing. I picked up the raw words and began to piece together texts that later appeared as "First Cut-Ups" in Minutes to Go. [6]

When Burroughs returned from London in September 1959, Gysin shared his discovery with his friend who put the cut-up technique to use while completing Naked Lunch. The experiment dramatically changed the landscape of American literature. Naked Lunch is a novel by William S. Burroughs. ... American literature refers to written or literary work produced in the area of the United States and Colonial America. ...


Gysin helped Burroughs with the editing of several of his novels including Interzone, and wrote a script for a film version of Naked Lunch which was never produced. The pair collaborated on a large manuscript for Grove Press titled The Third Mind but it was determined that it would be impractical to publish it as originally envisioned. The book later published under that title incorporates little of this material. Interviewed for The Guardian in 1997, Burroughs explained that Gysin was "the only man that I've ever respected in my life. I've admired people, I've liked them, but he's the only man I've ever respected." [7] Interzone is a British science fiction and fantasy magazine, published since 1982. ... Naked Lunch is a novel by William S. Burroughs. ... Grove Press is an American publishing imprint that was founded in 1951. ... The Third Mind is a book by Beat Generation novelist William S. Burroughs and artist/poet/novelist Brion Gysin. ... For other uses, see Guardian. ...


His finest novel, The Process, was first published by Doubleday in 1969 and re-printed by The Overlook Press in 1987. In his forward, critic Robert Palmer defends the work as "a classic of 20th C modernism." The Process is a 1996 album by Skinny Puppy. ...


A consummate innovator, Gysin altered the cut-up technique to produce what he called permutation poems in which a single phrase was repeated several times, with the words rearranged in a different order with each reiteration. A memorable example of this is "I don't dig work, man." Many of these permutations were derived using a random sequence generator in an early computer program written by Ian Sommerville. With Sommerville, he built the Dreamachine in 1961. Wittily described as "the first art object to be seen with the eyes closed," [8] the device is notable for its capacity of producing a change of consciousness in receptive viewers. There are a number of people called Ian Sommerville: Professor Ian F. Sommerville (born 1951), the British computer scientist and author Ian Sommerville (possibly 1940-1976) , associated with the Beat Generation Category: ... homemade version semi-off The Dreamachine (or Dream Machine) was invented by Beat generation members Brion Gysin and Ian Sommerville in 1959. ...


Gysin experimented with permutation on recording tape and, in 1960, was asked by the BBC to produce material for broadcast. The results included "Pistol Poem", which was created by splicing together the sounds of a gun firing recorded at different distances. That year, the piece was subsequently used as a theme for the performance in Paris of Le Domaine Poetique, a showcase for experimental works by people like Gysin, François Dufrêne, Bernard Heidsieck, and Henri Chopin. He also worked extensively with noted jazz soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy. For other uses, see BBC (disambiguation). ... Bernard Heidsieck (born 1928) is a French sound poet. ... Henri Chopin (born 1922) is an avant-garde poet and musician. ... For other uses, see Jazz (disambiguation). ... Allen|Henry Red Allen]], George Pops Foster and Zutty Singleton and then with Kansas City jazz players like Buck Clayton, Dicky Wells, and Jimmy Rushing before jumping into the heart of the avant-garde by performing on the debut album of Cecil Taylor, appearing with Taylors groundbreaking quartet at...


As a joke, Gysin contributed a recipe for marijuana fudge to a cookbook by Alice B. Toklas; it was unintentionally included for publication, becoming famous under the name Alice B. Toklas brownies. [9] Cannabis, also known as marijuana[1] or ganja,[2] is a psychoactive product of the plant Cannabis sativa L. subsp. ... Alice B. Toklas, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1949 Alice B. Toklas (April 30, 1877 – March 7, 1967) was the lover and confidante of writer Gertrude Stein. ... An Alice B. Toklas brownie, also known as an Alice B. Tokin brownie or more colloquially as a bud brownie, magic brownie, or special brownie, is a type of hash cookie (a cake containing cannabis). ...


A truncated version of his novel, The Last Museum, was published posthumously in 1986 by Faber & Faber (London) and by Grove Press (New York). Faber and Faber is a celebrated publishing house in the UK, notable in particular for publishing the poetry of T. S. Eliot. ... Grove Press is an American publishing imprint that was founded in 1951. ...


Made an American Commander of the French Order of Arts and Letters in 1985, Gysin died a year later of lung cancer on July 13, 1986. An obituary by Robert Palmer published in the New York Times fittingly described him as a man who "threw off the sort of ideas that ordinary artists would parlay into a lifetime career, great clumps of ideas, as casually as a locomotive throws off sparks." [10] The New York Times is an internationally known daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed in the United States and many other nations worldwide. ...


Influenced

Gysin's wide range of radical ideas became a source of inspiration for Beat Generation artists and their successors such as David Bowie, Keith Haring, Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Genesis P. Orridge, Iggy Pop, and Laurie Anderson.[11] Beats redirects here. ... David Bowie (IPA: []) (born David Robert Jones on 1947 January 8) is an English singer, songwriter, actor, multi-instrumentalist, producer, arranger and audio engineer. ... Harings Radiant Baby Keith Haring (May 4, 1958 - February 16, 1990) was a pre-eminent artist and social activist whose work responded to the New York street culture of the 1980s. ... For other persons named Brian Jones, see Brian Jones (disambiguation). ... Sir Michael Phillip Mick Jagger (born July 26, 1943) is a English rock musician, actor, songwriter, record and film producer and businessman. ... Genesis P-Orridge (born Neil Andrew Megson February 22, 1950, or May 22, 1949), is an English performer, musician, writer and artist. ... James Newell Osterberg, Jr. ... Laurie Anderson (born Laura Phillips Anderson, on June 5, 1947, in Glen Ellyn, Illinois) is an American experimental performance artist and musician. ...


Quotes

  • "Writing is fifty years behind painting." [12]
  • "I enjoy inventing things out of fun. After all, life is a game, not a career." [13]
  • "I view life as a fortuitous collaboration ascribable to the fact that one finds oneself at the right place at the same time. [14]
  • "The Way Is Nor This Nor That." [15]
  • "Writers don't own their words. Since when do words belong to anybody? 'Your very own words,' indeed! And who are you?"
- 'Cut-Ups Self-Explained' in Brion Gysin Let the Mice In [16]
  • "I may write only what I know in space: I am that I am."
- Notes on Painting [17]
  • "He covered tons of paper with his words and made them his very own words... he branded them like cattle he rustled out there on the free ranges of Literature... Used by another writer who was attempting cut-ups, one single word of Burroughs vocabulary could ruin a whole barrel of good everyday words, run the literary rot right through them. One sniff of that prose and you'd say, 'Why, that's a Burroughs."
- on the prose of William S. Burroughs in Here to Go: Planet R-101 (Interviews with Terry Wilson) [18]
  • "Of course the sands of Present Time are running out from under our feet. And why not? The Great Conundrum: 'What are we here for?' is all that ever held us here in the first place. Fear. The answer to the Riddle of the Ages has actually been out in the street since the First Step in Space. Who runs may read but few people run fast enough. What are we here for? Does the great metaphysical nut revolve around that? Well, I'll crack it for you, right now. What are we here for? We are here to go!"
- The Process [19]
  • "Language is an abominable misunderstanding which makes up a part of matter. The painters and the physicists have treated matter pretty well. The poets have hardly touched it. In March 1958, when I was living at the Beat Hotel, I proposed to Burroughs to at least make available to literature the means that painters have been using for fifty years. Cut words into pieces and scramble them. You'll hear someone draw a bow-string. Who runs may read, To read better, practice your running. Speed is entirely up to us, since machines have delivered us from the horse. Henceforth the question is to deliver us from that other so-called superior animal, man. It's not worth it to chase out the merchants: their temple is dedicated to the unsuitable lie of the value of the Unique. The crime of separation gave birth to the idea of the Unique which would not be separate. In painting, matter has seen everything: from sand to stuffed goats. Disfigured more and more, the image has been geometrically multiplied to a dizzying degree. A snow of advertising could fall from the sky, and only collector babies and the chimpanzees who make abstract paintings would bother to pick one up."
- Cut-Ups: A Project for Disastrous Success

See also

Max Ernst. ... Mohamed Hamri (1932 - 2000) was a Moroccan painter and author and one of the few Moroccans to participate in the Tangier and Beat generation. ... Paul Frederic Bowles (December 30, 1910 - November 18, 1999), was an American composer, author, and traveler. ... This article or section needs sources or references that appear in reliable, third-party publications. ... The Master Musicians of Joujouka are the Sufi trance musicians most famous for their connections with the Beat Generation and the Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones. ... This article or section needs sources or references that appear in reliable, third-party publications. ... Brian Jones Presents The Pipes of Pan at Jajouka, originally Brian Jones Presents The Pipes of Pan at Joujouka,[1][2] was an album produced by Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones band, originally released in 1971 on Rolling Stones Records. ... Beats redirects here. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Geiger, John (2005). Nothing Is True - Everything Is Permitted: The Life of Brion Gysin. The Disinformation Company, 130. ISBN 19328571251. 
  2. ^ Cf. John Geiger's biographical essay on Gysin titled, 'Brion Gysin: His Life and Times' in Brion Gysin: Tuning into the Multimedia Age, ed. José Férez Kuri (London: Thames & Hudson, 2003), p. 201.
  3. ^ Cf. John Geiger, 'Brion Gysin: His Life and Times' in Brion Gysin: Tuning into the Multimedia Age, p. 204.
  4. ^ Cf. John Geiger, 'Brion Gysin: His Life and Times' in Brion Gysin: Tuning into the Multimedia Age, p. 204.
  5. ^ In his seminal essay 'Cut-Ups: A Project for Disastrous Success', Gysin explains that "on January 5, 1958, I lost the business over a signature given to a friendly American couple who 'wanted to help me out.' I was out with the shirt on my back." From A Williams Burroughs Reader, ed. John Calder (London: Picador, 1982), p. 276.
  6. ^ Brion Gysin, 'Cut-Ups: A Project for Disastrous Success' in A Williams Burroughs Reader, ed. John Calder (London: Picador, 1982), p. 272.
  7. ^ The Guardian, January 18, 1997.
  8. ^ Quoted on coverflap of Tuning in to the Multimedia Age.
  9. ^ Biographer John Geiger writes that Gysin's restaurant, The 1001 Nights provided him "with an entrée into Tangiers society. His Moroccan culinary delights even merited an entry in Alice B. Toklas's famous cookbook, with a recipe for hashish fudge. Toklas, however, had no idea what the mysterious ingredient - cannabis - was, protesting later 'of course I didn't know the Latin name'." Cf. John Geiger, 'Brion Gysin: His Life and Times' in Brion Gysin: Tuning into the Multimedia Age, p. 213.
  10. ^ Cf. John Geiger, 'Brion Gysin: His Life and Times' in Brion Gysin: Tuning into the Multimedia Age, p. 227.
  11. ^ Most of the names listed are cited on the coverflap of Tuning in to the Multimedia Age.
  12. ^ Gysin quoted in Brion Gysin: Tuning in to the Multimedia Age, ed. José Férez Kuri (Thames & Hudson, London, 2003), p. 153.
  13. ^ Tuning in to the Multimedia Age, p. 4.
  14. ^ Tuning in to the Multimedia Age, p. 9.
  15. ^ Tuning in to the Multimedia Age, p. 10.
  16. ^ Tuning in to the Multimedia Age, p. 153.
  17. ^ Tuning in to the Multimedia Age, p. 96.
  18. ^ Tuning in to the Multimedia Age, p. 159.
  19. ^ Tuning in to the Multimedia Age, p. 49.

Bibliography

Gysin is the subject of John Geiger's acclaimed biography, Nothing Is True Everything Is Permitted: The Life of Brion Gysin, and features in Chapel of Extreme Experience: A short history of stroboscopic light and the Dream Machine, also by Geiger. Man From Nowhere, a collection of homages to Gysin, was authored by Joe Ambrose, Frank Rynne, and Terry Wilson with contributions by Marianne Faithfull, John Cale, William S. Burroughs, and Paul Bowles. A monograph on Gysin was published in 2003 by Thames and Hudson. Frank Rynne is an Irish-born singer, record producer, art curator, film-maker, writer and historian. ... Marianne Faithfull (born 29 December 1946) is an English singer and actress whose career spans over four decades. ... Not to be confused with J.J. Cale. ... William Seward Burroughs II (February 5, 1914) - August 2, 1997; pronounced ), more commonly known as William S. Burroughs, was an American novelist, essayist, social critic, painter and spoken word performer. ... Paul Frederic Bowles (December 30, 1910 - November 18, 1999), was an American composer, author, and traveler. ...

  • To Master A Long Goodnight (Creative Age Press, New York, 1946)
  • Minutes to Go (with William S. Burroughs) (Two Cities Editions, Paris, 1960)
  • The Exterminator (with William S. Burroughs) (Auerhahn Press, San Francisco, 1960)
  • The Process (Doubleday, New York, 1969)
  • Brion Gysin Let The Mice In (with texts by William S. Burroughs & Ian Sommerville) (Something Else Press, Vermont, 1973), ed. Jan Herman
  • The Third Mind (with William S. Burroughs) (Viking, New York, 1978)
  • Here To Go (Interviews with Terry Wilson) (Quartet Books, London, 1982) New edition Creation Books 2003
  • Stories (Inkblot Publications, 1984)
  • The Last Museum (Grove Press, New York, 1986)
  • Who Runs May Read (Inkblot/Xochi, Oakland/Brisbane, 2000)
  • Back in No Time: The Brion Gysin Reader (Wesleyan University Press, 2001), ed. Jason Weiss (posthumous)
  • Brion Gysin: Tuning in to the Multimedia Age (Thames & Hudson, London, 2003), ed. José Férez Kuri ISBN 0-500-28438-5

The Process is the title of a novel by Brion Gysin which was first published in 1969. ...

External links

  • UBU Sound article on Brion Gysin
  • Extrageographic Magazine article What Does Brion Gysin's Art Mean?
  • Cutup The Burroughs & Gysin Non-Linear Adding Machine
  • Village Voice review of Back in No Time: A Brion Gysin Reader (2001)
  • Perilous Passages Terry Wilson's account of his "lifetime apprenticeship" with Brion Gysin
  • 1994 William Burroughs letter concerning the genuine Master Musicians of Jajouka
  • Official site of the Master Musicians of Jajouka featuring Bachir Attar
  • Official site of the Master Musicians of Joujouka
  • Joe Ambrose on Brion Gysin, William Burroughs, and the Master Musicians of Joujouka

  Results from FactBites:
 
Brion Gysin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (562 words)
Brion Gysin (January 19, 1916 - July 13, 1986) was a writer and painter.
Gysin helped Burroughs with the editing of several of his novels, and wrote a script for a film version of Naked Lunch which was never produced.
A consummate innovator, Gysin altered the cut-up technique to produce what he called permutation poems in which a single phrase was repeated several times, with the words rearranged in a different order with each reiteration.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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