Dream machine was a project by beat author Brion Gysin. It is a device, that uses flashing light to trigger dreamlike images. He is said to come up with the concept when driving on a car and looking at the trees passing in front of the sun. He is known to have found inspiration for his invention from William Grey Walter’s book, The Living Brain.
Dream machine consists of one large cylinder with holes, device to rotate it (usually a turntable rotating at 78 rpm) and a light bulb hanging inside the cylinder.
Machine is used by sitting close to it with your eyes closed, so that the flashing light can stimulate user’s optical nerve. Pulses should flash between 8 and 13 times a second, which corresponds with brains alpha waves.
There are many different diy instructions available for the different versions the machine, and different kits to buy. Gysin himself published his book “Dreamachine plans” in 1986.
This particular Dreamachine was built for our museum by California Andy. It is not our first Dreamachine, we had one in many of our very early projects.