<—alle Themen


Brion Gysin and William S. Burroughs with a Dream Machine.
Photo Charles Gatewood
Dream Machine (design copy, film and music by Dave Arnold, 2001)

Brion Gysin und Ian Sommerville, Dream Machine, 1959/60
The Dream Machine (or 'Dreamachine') was the first visual object created to be viewed through closed eyes.
The dreamachine was a collaborative creation between Brion Gysin and Ian Sommerville, the classical collision and collusion of the artist and the scientist. Both men had read Grey Walter's The Living Brain and were corresponding on the subject in early 1960. It was Sommerville who came up with the plans for the original flicker machine mounted on a 78rpm record player. Gysin, residing by this time in the Beat Hotel in Paris, constructed his own version, replete with calligraphic art, and obsessively began to refine its design. By the middle of the year he had taken out a patent ((P.V. 868 281) and was hawking the idea around town. The machine was officially unveiled in 1962, at the Louvre’s Museé des Arts Decoratifs, to a fascinated public and press—but Gysin, unsatisfied with a small art audience, dreamed of mass production.

"Had a transcendental storm of colour visions today in the bus going to Marseilles. We ran through a long avenue of trees and I closed my eyes against the setting sun. An overwhelming flood of intensely bright colors exploded behind my eyelids: a multidimensional kaleidoscope whirling out through space. I was swept out of time. I was out in a world of infinite number. The vision stopped abruptly as we left the trees. Was that a vision? What happened to me?" (Extract from the diary of Brion Gysin, December 21, 1958)


peter kubelka, "arnulf rainer", 1960

Although this is an analoge film, it references digital principles and uses a binary system by only having cadres of black or white. Printed out frame by frame,
you can see the highly conceptual quality of Peter Kubelka's score for "Arnulf Rainer": Sequences in "Arnulf Rainer" reach from one single frame up to 24 frames.
If you have only one frame, there are just two possible sequences: black and white. For two frames there are already four possible sequences, white and white,
white and black, black and white, black and black. (= 2²) With three frames, the number of sequences reaches 8 (=2³) and so on.
Oppositional factors in that film not only include black or white, but also sound (white noise) and silence (in reference to white noise: black silence).
In "Arnulf Rainer", Kubelka uses sequences of 1,2,4,8,12 and 24 cadres. He uses 576 cadres altogether, which is what he calls "the square of a second" -
given that to fill one second of film, you need 24 cadres, so the square is 24 x 24.      (>> Monument Film, 2012)


Nam-June Paik, Zen For Film, 1962-64

Zen for Film is one of the only known films by the Korean composer and video artist Nam June Paik. The original version ran for 20 or sometimes even 30 minutes. The film is simply transparent leader which accumulates dust and scratches as it passes through the projector over time, with each successive screening. This idea of an “undetermined” piece stems from Paik’s approach to music composition influenced by John Cage’s Concert for Piano, the score for which is based on imperfections in the paper.
The basic ingredients for a film screening (some film, a projector, a light source, a screening room), usually used to reproduce a moving image, are seen here as a system to produce one, forming to a certain extent the structure of the work itself: its medium and materials. The content of the piece in evolution is generated by this system in operation and the risks in incurs (accidents, dust, wear and tear).

Tony Conrad, The Flicker, 1966

Tony Conrad studied Mathematics at Harvard University. His father was Arthur Conrad, who worked with Everett Warner during World War II in designing dazzle camouflage for the US Navy. In 1960 Tony Conrad went to Copenhagen to a friend who was a research mathematician and was working on a computer project at Physics Chemist Institute there. That computer was the only computer at the time in Denmark with a memory of 8 Kilobyte. Tony worked on it in machine language during the summer, which helped build his computer skills. He also did work as a computer programmer for a year when he came back to the United States.
In music, Conrad was an early member of the Theatre of Eternal Music (The Dream Syndicate), which included John Cale, Angus MacLise, La Monte Young, and Marian Zazeela, and utilized just intonation and sustained sound (drones) to produce what the group called "dream music" (and is now called drone music). The Theater of Eternal Music performed pieces consisting of long extended tones, in which the performers sustained harmonically related pitches for the duration of each piece.
In 1966, he made his first film, The Flicker, said to be a "landmark in structural filmmaking." Conrad says, "Since other filmmakers were making films at the time that dealt with structure as a foregrounded principle, and this seemed to be built around mathematical principles, it was adopted as a kind of flagship film for the structural film movement, where it dealt with abstract light-organizing ideas." The film consists of only completely black and completely white images, which, as the title suggests, produces a flicker when projected.

Carsten Nicolai, Rota, iPhone-App, 2009

Die als Experiment zu verstehende Arbeit rota vereinigt wissenschaftliche Forschung mit künstlerischer Produktion. Sie beschäftigt sich mit den Auswirkungen audiovisueller Stimulation auf die menschliche Wahrnehmung.
Angelehnt an die gleichnamige Rauminstallation, erzeugt diese Applikation einen stroboskopischen visuellen Effekt, der je nach Geschwindigkeit des Rotationsvorgangs verschiedene Frequenzen flickender Lichtimpulse generiert, die auch auf akustischer Ebene umgesetzt werden. Laut wissenschaftlicher Forschung könnten diese Impulse direkte Auswirkungen auf die Gehirnströme des Zuschauers haben und somit ein neuronales Feedback bewirken, welches unterschiedliche Zustände mentaler Verfassung - wie Trance, Meditation, Entspannung bis hin zu Stress - hervorrufen.
Im besonderen die im Kontext der Beatnik-Bewegung seit den 1950er Jahren von Brion Gysin entwickelten dream oder mind machines, welche durch die Produktion von Alpha-Wellen eine bewusstseinserweiternde Funktion besitzen sollten, standen Pate für rota. Daran angelehnt stellt die Arbeit eine Versuchsanordnung bereit, welche den Zuschauer potentiell am eigenen Leib erfahren lässt, inwiefern seine eigene Gehirnaktivität durch die Lichtimpulse beeinflussbar sind. Es ergibt sich die Frage, ob und inwiefern sich bestimmte Funktionen des Gehirns - wie Entspannung, Aufmerksamkeit, Lernfähigkeit und damit auch Kreativität - potentiell steuern lassen. (Informationstext zum App.)
(Courtesy Galerie Eigen + Art Leipzig/Berlin und PaceWildenstein)

Carsten Höller, Light Corner, 2011
Exhibition 'Dynamo. Un Siècle de Lumière et de Mouvement dans l'Art 1913-2013'. Grand Palais, Paris 2013

Rafael Rozendaal, www.hexattack.com, Website 2013