By Javier Calvo and Víctor Nubla
[Listening with a Subwoofer or headphones recommended]
From the moment of its invention, Brion Gysin intended his dream machine to be reproduced on a mass scale and manufactured in different contexts. Its basic configuration consists of a perforated stroboscopic cylinder, internal lighting, and a spinning platform.
The light shines through the holes and reflects on the user’s eyelids at a frequency rate that corresponds to alpha waves in the brain, which are capable of inducing a hypnagogic state. Building on this basic system, numerous subsequent artists have generated variations or versions of Gysin’s hypnagogic device. John Giorno, Kenneth Anger, Genesis P-Orridge and Hafler Trio have made new dream machines that use both light and sound.
In 2010, the New Museum in New York organised a major exhibition around the dream machine that included several audio, visual and light installations as well as performances by artists such as Lee Ranaldo, P-Orridge, Nik Sheehan, Max G. Morton and F. Sean Martin. Shezad Dawood's 'The New Dream Machine', exhibited at MACBA (Before Our Eyes, 2014), also fits into this genre, and includes a reflection on the mythologisation of the music and art scene that developed around Gysin, Tangiers and the musicians of Joujouka.
This 'Dream Machine' is one more in a long line of versions of a concept that the original author devised as a kind of commercially-produced psychic TV set, a psychonautic vehicle for inner journeys on a mass scale. The music composed by Víctor Nubla uses analogue synthesizers to generate 'gyratory' frequencies.
Based on a hypnagogic experience with the music, the texts are also cyclical, and their four character pairs are assembled out of gyratory recurrences of the concepts of Tangiers, cut-ups, homo-eroticism, drugs and paranoia, all of which are components of the mythology around the original dream machine.