Chapel of Extreme Experience: A Short History of Stroboscopic Light and the Dream Machine. Brion GYSIN, John GEIGER.

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Chapel of Extreme Experience: A Short History of Stroboscopic Light and the Dream Machine.

Brooklyn, NY: Soft Skull Press, 2003. First edition. Wrps., 120pp. Illustrated with photographs (incl. Huxley, Gysin, Sommerville, Tony Conrad) and drawings throughout. SIGNED by the author on the title page. Review copy, with publisher's printed sheets laid in. Fine.

An examination of the intersection between art, science and the exploration of consciousness, with specific reference to the pioneering work of Ian Sommerville and Brion Gysin. Introduction by Leila Hadley (who became an advocate of the commercial potential of the Dream Machine after viewing it at a small gallery in Tangier in 1964). Gysin demonstrated an early version to Allen Ginsberg at the Beat Hotel in April 1961, who immediately wrote approvingly to Timothy Leary ("Amazing. It works.") and stated that he intended to try and help Gysin locate a manufacturer for it. Gaït Frogé exhibited one in her bookshop window and Helena Rubinstein, whom Gysin had known since before the war, displayed it in the window of her beauty salon following its official unveiling at an exhibition in Paris in March 1962, but none were sold. Gysin had by then applied for a patent, but when Philips sent an executive to Paris to investigate, Gysin's hopes were dashed when no deal was forthcoming, an outcome Gysin blamed (in some accounts) on the businessman slipping on dog excrement in the Beat Hotel's hallway.

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