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"Really, I think, behind everything, he was trying to teach people to see differently." - Marianne Faithfull, on Brion Gysin

The dream machine looks simple enough: A 100-watt light bulb, a motor, and a rotating cylinder with cutouts. Just sit in front of it, close your eyes, and wait for the visions to come.

The dream machine offers a drugless high that its creator - poet, artist, calligrapher and mystic Brion Gysin - believed it would revolutionize human consciousness.

He wasn't alone. Kurt Cobain had a dream machine. And William S. Burroughs thought it could be used to "storm the citadels of enlightenment."

With a custom-made dream machine in tow, director Nik Sheehan takes us on a journey into the life of Brion Gysin - his art, his complex ideas, and his friendships with some of the 20th century's key counterculture figures.

Gysin was fascinated by identity. He saw himself as incarnating the 10th-century King of Assassins, trained in counter-espionage during WWII, and wrote and rewrote his name in countless permutations, as if to make it disappear - in the process, inventing the cut-up technique that his lifelong friend, Beat novelist Burroughs, would make famous.

Featuring greats like Burroughs (in archival footage), singer Marianne Faithfull, singer/artist Genesis P-Orridge of Pyschic TV, poet John Giorno, punk rocker Iggy Pop, filmmaker Kenneth Anger, and artist/turntablist DJ Spooky, FLicKeR is a hypnotic documentary.

Taking the dream machine as the basis of its explorations, FLicKeR asks crucial questions about the nature of art and consciousness, and imagines a humanity liberated to explore its creativity in complete freedom.

2007, 72 min

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Award for Best Film on Art- with a cash prize of 10 000 euros
Era New Horizons International Film Festival
July 23 to August 2 2009, Wroclaw - Poland

Special Jury Prize Canadian Feature Documentary
Hot Docs
April 17 to 27 2008, Toronto - Canada

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