Director Nik Sheehan
Genre Documentary
Runtime 75 minutes
Supplier National Film Board of Canada
Festivals/Awards Special Jury Prize - Hot Docs Festival 2008
Release Date In theatres on November 28, 2008
DVD/Blu-ray available on May 11, 2010


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 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 a incarn­a­tion of 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 Psychic TV, poet John Giorno, 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.

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

Special Jury Prize - Hot Docs Festival 2008

Official Film Site


Cast & Credits

Iggy Pop
Marianne Faithful
Brion Gysin
DJ Spooky
William S. Burroughs
Kenneth Anger
Genesis P-Orridge
Lee Ranaldo
The Stooges

Press & Articles

“Transcend reality” - Xtra

“Sweet dreams are made of this ” - The Globe and Mail

“NNNN” - NOW Magazine

“Hot Docs guide ” - The Globe and Mail


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