William Burroughs – A Thanksgiving Prayer

Every year at this time I stop and think of my favourite and original mashup artist, William S. Burroughs, and his Thanksgiving Prayer.

A mad master far ahead of his time in so many ways, he tends to be thought of for his drug taking, guns and obsession with ejaculation and viscerality (and the fact he shot his wife in a bizarre accident. But he was a pioneer in the field of the time-based cut-up technique (moving on from the Surrealists method that cut up text – which he also used for his books, he was the first to splice audio tape or film to get at the “truth” of the recording”) and a believer in the hidden power of the mashup. The happy accident. With Brion Gysin (who invented the Dream Machine – thought to cause a hallucinatory state by staring at a cardboard reel on your record player – it was used by Temple ov Psychic Youth a lot in the 1980s-90s).

Check out a snippet of interview of the man here:

A beautiful example of an early cut-up here:

A very full-on film here:

And finally, a piece of Year 9 art made with Burroughs as inspiration. This kid has some real talent.

Happy thanksgiving William, you strange dark man.


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