William S. Burroughs: Three Films 1950s - 1960s
When writer William S Burroughs and artist Brion Gysin met Anthony Balch at the Beat Hotel in Paris at the start of the sixties they knew they had the ideal person to assist them in translating the ideas they had explored in experimental art forms to film.
Balch began his moviemaking career collaborating with Burroughs on two shorts 'Towers Open Fire' and 'The Cut Ups'. The former is a relatively straightforward attempt to capture the essence of Burroughs writing on film, utilizing key themes and situations featured in his books. The latter is an attempt to cinematically represent the art form. To achieve this each scene was filmed and edited in its entirety before the cut up method was applied - physically cutting the movie into foot long lengths and splicing them together randomly.
Following the death of Anthony Balch in 1980 the films remain untouched and virtually forgotten at his home until the intervention of Psychic TV's Genesis P. Orridge, who salvaged and archived them. This unique collection comprises all the films made during that lengthy period of collaboration between Burroughs, Gysin, and Balch. In addition to the finished works the video includes a 50 minute film called 'Ghosts at No. 9' which uses cut-ups of film and superimpositions, material from the extensive archive of Psychic TV and to which Orridge added the distinctive soundtrack.