William S. Burroughs & Brion Gysin, pages from Black Scrapbook, c. 1963-64.

William S. Burroughs & Brion Gysin, pages from Green Scrapbook, c. 1971-73.

The writer, William S. Burroughs, experimented with images and words in scrapbooks as a way to expand his thinking in the 1960s and 70s. He clipped and placed newspaper photographs, headline, or story that reminded him of something he was writing into his scrapbook juxtaposed with his own writing. Another day, he photographed a scene on a street that was similar to the scene in his novel. He put his photograph of the scene on the same page. This created and built complex associations, which, he argued, expanded his consciousness. According to, William S. Burroughs, he linked association blocks rather than the linear progression of traditional logic. This technique was, and is, an exceptional trait of his novels. Collage and text in scrapbooks gave him a way to visually/conceptually travel across space and time with his writing.

Burroughs collaborated with Brion Gysin on scrapbook techniques and other art/text projects. One scrapbook was meant for publishing, but never was published and is now in the collection of the LACMA. It was entitled 'The Third Mind'.

Artist: William S. Burroughs.

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