Surrealist, painter,calligraphist, writer, psychonaut, esoterist, traveller and a dozen of other things, Brion Gysin (1916-1986) was the inspirator of the famous William Burroughs' "cut-up" technique and the inventor of the "Dream Machine", a strboscopic flicker device that produces strong visual stimuli and altered states of consciousness.
He crossed paths with people like Brian Jones, Paul Bowles, Timothy Leary, Iggy Pop,Ira Cohen, Francis Bacon and beat icons like Ginsberg and Kerouac. With his good friend Burroughs he co-wrote "Minutes to Go" (1960) and published - among other books - "The Third Mind" (1978) and "Here to Go: Planet R-101" (1982).
"Here to Go and Back Again: The Lives and Arts of Brion Gysin", an interesting and rather exhaustive article about Gysin written by Matthew Levi Stevens was recently published on the always cool Reality Sandwich
"If Brion Gysin had not existed, it probably would have been necessary to invent him, as the saying goes. Pre-eminent multimedia psychedelic shaman of the latter-half of the Twentieth Century, Gysin was something of a jack-of-all-trades: artist, calligrapher, entrepreneur, kinetic sculptor, novelist, performance artist, photographer, poet, raconteur, restaurateur, and traveller in this-and-other worlds. Brion did it All. And even a brief list of the names he crossed paths with sounds like a veritable who’s who: Laurie Anderson, Francis Bacon, David Bowie, Paul Bowles, Ira Cohen, Ornette Coleman, Max Ernst, Marianne Faithfull, Leonor Fini, Jean Genet, Keith Haring, Billie Holliday, Brian Jones, Timothy Leary, Iggy Pop, Genesis P-Orridge, Patti Smith, Gore Vidal – and, of course, his long-term friend and collaborator, William Burroughs – are among the friends, fellow-travellers and sometimes collaborators that have spoken of their admiration for the Man and his Work..."