2020          The Film Not The Country
2019          Festival of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
2019          Revolutionary List (2)
2019          Revolutionary Stamp
2019          Nidder
2018          Revolutionary List (1)
2018–20    Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales 2.0
2018          Purge Royal Standard Flag
2016–19    Hotel Bardo

2016–19    Hotel Bardo

‘The last avant-garde
anti-project at the end of time.’
Iain Sinclair

Hotel Bardo is an effort to convey something of the artist and author Brion Gysin in present time. Resisting biography—refusing historicisation—and instead attempting to harness a narrative borne by Gysin himself. A transcendent un-biography, Hotel Bardo is an ultra-travelogue set in a vision of the public domain in which the living and the dead pass freely to play with the idea of origins and posterity. It manifests primarily through experimental film, documentary, intervention and literature.

The title of the project owes to Gysin’s final literary work—Beat Museum / Bardo Hotel—a work that represents the closest Gysin ever came to autobiography, exploring the time in his life he was happiest: living and working at The Beat Hotel in Paris. Lifting the concept of the Bardo from Tibetan Buddhism [‡], Gysin’s intention in this work—indeed throughout his work—was to ‘write himself out of existence’. What frightened him more than the certainty of death was the possibility of re-birth; Beat Museum / Bardo Hotel flirts with that fear. Throughout the book (published in pieces) Gysin swings from character study, to critical reflection, to a scrutiny of the act of storytelling itself. Bardo Hotel is a joke about art; a jibe about eternity; a treatise on death and memorial. Hotel Bardo is an extension of the same narrative: ancient, multiplicitous and without end.

In the year that would’ve been Gysin’s 100th, the artist Stanley Schtinter set out to explore and celebrate the impact of Gysin’s work on 20th Century culture in a 21st Century context. The resulting work is Hotel Bardo. In undertaking the project it occurred to Schtinter that Gysin could still be in the Bardo [‡], and that there must be a real Bardo Hotel on planet Earth. There is: Hotel Bardo, one hour south of Wrocław in Poland. With video footage of extensive interviews Schtinter had taken with artists and writers especially inspired by Gysin’s work (John Akomfrah, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Liliane Lijn, Shezad Dawood, Pam Grossman, Kathelin Gray, Jarett Kobek, William E. Jones, Jean-Jacques Lebel and Robert Macfarlane to name a few), Schtinter travelled to the Hotel Bardo. Here, each interviewee was granted a room of their own and played back in full on their respective monitor. The motive? That this would create a connection with Gysin—still in the Bardo—and release him finally from it. And so from death, and so re-birth.

Films comprising the Hotel Bardo available from Light Cone, screened at Int’l Short Film Festival Oberhausen and in competition at Edinburgh Int’l FF. A book is forthcoming: more information can be found here. Thanks to the generous support of Arts Council England.


(samples from Dreamachine)

(Norton’s Cut-Up)

[‡] The “Bardo” of the book’s title refers to the transitional state between death and rebirth found in some schools of Buddhist thought. Although though the concept “bardo” (བར་དོ་)—“antarabhāva”in Sanskrit—arose soon after the death of Siddhartha Gautama (and long after the foundational teachings of the Buddha), it holds a prominent place in Western imagination by way of the Bardo Thodol. A teaching revealed by Karma Limpa in the Fourteenth Century, translating as “Liberation Through Hearing During the Intermediate State,” Bardo Thodol is the cornerstone of The Tibetan Book of the Dead; a text popularized Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert who anchored their studies of the psychedelic experience in Walter Y. Evan-Wentz’s 1927 translation of theTibetan Book of the Dead. Metaphorically speaking, bardo denotes life in suspension; be it through dream, ritual or meditation. For Gysin, bardo was a hotel.

(sample from House Of The Last London)

(John Akomfrah in ‘John on the Void’ - click here for version with Arabic subtitles)