Burroughs Dream Machine

A

Anonymous

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#1
I'm not sure if this is the right forum for for this question but here goes:

Has anyone ever constructed a 'Dream Machine', as popularised by William S Buroughs or come across the cut out version that was given away with an obscure publication in (I think) the sixties? What was the spacing of the slits and therefore the frequency of the alternation between light and dark? Did slight variation of spacing produce differing effects or does it only work at one frequency?
 

_Lizard23_

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#2
Have not ever made/seen the Bourroughs/Gysin version of which you speak, although I know of it ... same principle as the "flashing leds in the eyes" electonic version ... works on brainwave entrainment ... ie light flashing at a certain frequency, very little other sensory input, brainwave gradually get in sync producing the kind of "state of mind" associated with that brainwave state. Sounds at the same frequency can enhance the effect. A sort of sensory deprivation apart from these stimulii is useful also .. ie lying very still in an otherwise dark room etc
We made and experimented extensively with the electronic type - even taking it around nightclubs and charging people for 10 minute sessions (the effects while in an ahem altered state were ahem interesting!) ..... in my younger days :)If I recall correctly 4-6hz (cycles per second) is delta, like sleep, 6-8 is theta, the visionary/dreaming state and just above that is alpha, a daydreamy/relaxed state and anything above that is beta, there everyday waking state ..... I could be remembering incorrectly ... I suspect a web search for "brainwave entrainment" should dig up what you need to know ...... there are all sorts of complementary frequencies etc also .... so for the Burroughs machine (which was designed to work on a record turntable unless I am mistaken) would need the slits arrranged in such a way that as the thing rotates at a certain speed, light (from the bulb/candle in the centre of the thing) is emitted e.g. 8 times per second to induce a theta state ......
 

_Lizard23_

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#3
Lol ... and apparently neither of us can spell Burroughs!!!!
 

_Lizard23_

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#4
Oh and one other thing ... not recommended for epileptics or those who have previously experienced severe reactions to strobe lights/driving under trees, playing video games blah di blah
 
A

Anonymous

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#5
This reminds me of a story I read years ago about a bloke who would fall off his bike on a particular stretch of road. It only happened on sunny mornings and it was eventually concluded that the flashing of the sun between a long row of equally spaced trees was having some effect on his brain. The article wasn't clear on whether the guy actually passed out or went into a trance like state or what.

Makes you wonder about these lights they sometimes have on underpasses that are set into the walls at about head height....
 
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Anonymous

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#6
I was once driving through a forest on my way to school when a guy in front of me on his bike got a seizure. I guess that could have been the trees as well, he had a history of epilepsy.
 
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Anonymous

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#7
Sometimes whan I was travelling to school on the number ten bus in Newcastle (oh, those misty mornings of youth), as the bus accelerated up the Great North Road toward Gosforth I would feel intensely queasy. It was when the bus was passing the trees at the edge of the Town Moor. Some interaction between the speed of the bus and the space of the trees must hve produced exactly the right fequency to make me sick.

I live in a second level council maisonette, that is we are a in a block of houses on top of another block of houses. A balcony/walkway runs in front of the maisonettes with a white railing that is connected with a long pole every two or so metres to a canopy above. Sometimes if I catch the sun at exactly the right place in the sky when I'm walking to my front door I accidently manage to 'zonk' myself out. By the time I get to the front door I feel queasily stoned.

Also, on the topic of parallel lines, when I look at sets of parallel lines for more than a few seconds the lines disappear in my vision, either fading to grey or producing visual interference like when a person wearing certain types of checked or lined patterned clothes goes on television, a kind of swirling, ever moving pattern with elemants of green, red and blue. I first discovered this again when I was at school. Staring out of classroom windows I would find that the blinds, if open at a certain setting would at first blur and run together and then fade entirely out of view making an odd, three dimensional blur. The same hapns to the railings outside my front door, although if I try to read outsidewhen it's dark the railings make me feel sick, sort of flickering aroun the edge ofthe page.

On the topic of strobes, can anyone else hear them as well as see them. When I am exposed to stroboscopic lights, after every 'pop' I can hear a short high pitched sound. When I say hear, it does not seem primarily to be sourced in my ears but just somewhere inside my head. It's similar to the way that I can sense when there is a television on in a particular room, from a 'sense' of a high pitched sound.

Maybe dream machines aren't such a good idea after all. Maybe I should just look at some railings or go for a walk in the park.
 

kiel_d

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#10
I'm sure this one's been covered in the UL forum, but wasn't there a report that an electronic dream machine was found switched on at the suicide scene of Kurt Cobain? I think this might have also been mentioned in FT a while ago.

Since i read about the suicide connections (not just Kurts) i've always given these things a wide berth........ Am i missing out?

Would people recommend using them or not?

Any advice would be great. :)
 

Mattattattatt

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#11
Hmmm... don't forget binaural beats...

*tap*
*tap*
*tap*
*tap*
*tap*
*tap*

(graphical representation)

Anyone used them in commercially released music???
 
A

Anonymous

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#12
Some neighbours of mine, back in the seventies, spent lots of time playing with a Gysin/Burroughs dream machine. They had lots of fun. I don't think they were just relying on the dream machine though. Neither were Gysin, or, Burroughs.

Isn't it something to do with 16 flashes of light a second? I remember stories and articles (in the Fortean Times?) tying it in with powerful 16hz radio signals, eminating from the old Soviet Union, supposedly for the purposes of mind control.
 

augustverango

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#13
Binaural beats? Try this program -

http://www.bwgen.com/

I'm pretty sure it's freeware too. :cool:

I remember an article in FT a while ago about those LED goggley type mind machines. I'm sure they wouldn't be too hard to build DIY-style.
 
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Anonymous

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#14
Ta-ching! I was planning to try using Flash to make a replica Dreamachine without all that Blue Peter scissors and cardboard stuff. But I discovered someone'd already done it. Not exactly pretty, but may well do the job - haven't really had a chance to use it, since sitting in the office with my closed eyes really close to a flashing computer screen and a towel over my head seems to get me a few too many funny looks from colleagues... I'm going to experiment a bit, though, when I get home. Tell us if you get anywhere with it.

http://callmeburroughs.tripod.com/dreamachine/index.html
 

James_H

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#15
JackSkellington said:
Hmmm... don't forget binaural beats...
Anyone used them in commercially released music???
Apparently (according to the make-a-dream machine link) Throbbing gristle have amde a dream machine accompanying record
 

James_H

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#16
I just had that binaural sound computer prog thingy on for an hour - how deeply irritating!
 

James_H

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#17
according to this website, erm, http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/inside/loureed_doc.shtml lou reed (him an admirer of burroughs i think) experimented with binaural sounds, but it doesnt expand... i'm going to do a little search... i have a suspicion that he means something completely different... anyone gots facts on their hands?
 
A

Anonymous

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#18
I'm fairly certain that Burroughs actually refers more than once to the similar effect of sunlight through trees, as seen from a moving vehicle.

The effect is, quite certainly, real. There have been times, when driving, that I have had to really fight the will to drift off - certainly caused by sunlight through trees.

On trains I have sometimes enjoyed the same effect. In my experience - if it goes on for too long then I fall asleep ... but if it goes on and off (typically a late afternoon or early evening train journey through sometimes wooded countryside) ... then you may very quickly experience an awake - dream state.
 
S

Sifaka317

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#19
tomsk~ said:
Ta-ching! I was planning to try using Flash to make a replica Dreamachine without all that Blue Peter scissors and cardboard stuff. But I discovered someone'd already done it. Not exactly pretty, but may well do the job - haven't really had a chance to use it, since sitting in the office with my closed eyes really close to a flashing computer screen and a towel over my head seems to get me a few too many funny looks from colleagues... I'm going to experiment a bit, though, when I get home. Tell us if you get anywhere with it.

http://callmeburroughs.tripod.com/dreamachine/index.html
Have been trying this out, with mixed results. I don't seem to be able to get any visual effects at all! Many years ago I made a Dreamachine (using an old 78 rpm turntable etc), and, whilst I didn't get transported to alien landscapes, travel into the future/past etc, it did induce some very pretty multicoloured shifting abstract patterns.
The Flash program does seem to induce a calming effect akin to that I get from meditation, but that's about it. Maybe I'm not doing it for long enough (about 10 mins each time). Anyone else have any experiences?

(NB I'd like to repeat the usual caveat - caution/contraindicated if one has a history of seizures/epilepsy)
 
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