Video and Audio of William S. Burroughs
One of the many things that make William S. Burroughs unique among writers is the fact that he spent a lot of his creative energy not writing, presumably as a way to accomplish his mission of “rubbing out the word.” Burroughs painted, experimented with collage, manipulated tape recordings, collaborated on film projects, toyed with weird contraptions like the orgone accumulator and Brion Gysin’s dream machine. His interest in technology ran from the sophisticated down to the homely, as his usage of scissors and guns can attest. Contemplating the extraliterary range of Burroughs’ work, you can’t help but get the sense that he accomplished in aesthetics what Malcolm X sought to accomplish in politics with the slogan “by any means necessary.” Burroughs may have been a writer, but for him the tools of the trade were not confined to typewriters or pens. He wrote with anything that could make a mark or leave a trace, a tape effect or a shotgun blast.
Accordingly, although there are many good collections of Burroughs audio online, RealityStudio has sought to make available some of his other multimedia, particularly his video. Please note that there some interesting DVDs available for those interested in further exploring Burroughs’ multimedia work, and RealityStudio recommends those put out by ScreenEdge in particular.
Note: The original version of this page, published in 2006, contained a number of media files. The arrival of YouTube has since made most of those obsolete and in 2011 the files were removed. Here is a link to William Burroughs videos on YouTube.
Burroughs / Balch Video Experiment
This video experiment created by Jan Herman features filmmaker Antony Balch projecting the film “Bill and Tony” on Burroughs’ face. Prior to appearing here on RealityStudio, it had never been seen by anyone but the participants.
There are any number of filmographies available online, but the extensive Burroughs filmography at Internet Movie Database has fast become the authoritative one.