Brion Gysin: A Centennial Invocation

Black and white image of Brion Gysin (copyright: Musee des Arts Decoratif)

For more information

  • This event has taken place
  • Tel: +44 (0)1937 546546
  • Email:

A celebration of a unique artist, with David Dawson, Barry Miles, Alan Moore, Iain Sinclair and Terry Wilson

This event has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. If you've booked a ticket, the Library's Events team will be in touch with you regarding your refund. 

Brion Gysin, painter, writer, sound poet, sexually-fluid mythologiser and multimedia artist, claimed he had shouted at birth, ‘Wrong Place, Wrong Time, Wrong Colour’!

Born in 1916, in Taplow, Buckinghamshire, Gysin was at various times a member of the Surrealist Group in Paris (until his expulsion by André Breton), a Fulbright Fellow, inspiration to Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, and a restaurateur in Tangier, Morocco. The restaurant was opened so that Gysin could hear the Master Musicians of Joujouka perform there every night. In the 1960s while living in Paris at the famed ‘Beat Hotel’ Gysin invented the 'cut-up' literary technique (‘you cut into the present the future leaks out’) that would be popularized by William Burroughs in his controversial novel Naked Lunch.

Gysin’s artistic projects, which were usually commercially unsuccessful, ranged widely: from calligraphic paintings made with an incised paint roller, to computer-permutated poems, to the invention of the Dreamachine – a device for generating through a stroboscopic flicker pattern a drug-free ‘trip’ you could take with your eyes closed. Burroughs claimed he was ‘the only man I've ever respected in my life’ and David Bowie talked of Gysin ‘igniting my imagination’.

This event is a gathering of souls to invoke his spirit and celebrate his life. Alan Moore gives live reading of a Dream-Machine. Iain Sinclair waits for the past to happen (1916/2016 Cut-Up) Terry Wilson and Barry Miles search for The Third Mind and David Dawson re-teaches The Final Academy (1982). Plus extracts from a work-in-progress Stanley Schtinter film on Gysin that includes a contribution from Genesis P-Orridge and a forensic site report of this year’s anniversary divining at Taplow.

Image © Musée des Arts Décoratifs


Name: Brion Gysin: A Centennial Invocation
Where: Conference Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546