William S. Burroughs: commissioner of sewers

Germany, 1986

Please note

Sorry, we don't have images or video for this item.

Arguably Burroughs is the greatest talent to emerge from the “Beat” generation. In his novels, poetry, films and performance he has created an oppositional and profane aesthetic which continues to inspire contemporary artists and writers who refuse to - or cannot - work within the mainstream. This video features footage of Burroughs reading his poetry, excerpts from films by Gus van Sant, Antony Balch and Klaus Maeck, as well as a long interview where the writer explains his ideas on artistic inspiration; his belief that language is constituted as a virus; his use of “cut-up” and “fold- in” to represent contemporary experience of space and time; and the value of dreams for inspiration. Abrupt, unapologetic and disturbing this documentary reveals Burroughs as possessed of a profound intelligence, and as having the genius to translate his questioning and doubt into innovative and powerful art.

How to watch

This work has not been digitised and is currently unavailable to view online. It may be possible for approved reseachers to view onsite at ACMI.

Learn more about accessing our collection


In ACMI's collection



Klaus Maeck

production company





Production places
Production dates

Please note: this archive is an ongoing body of work. Sometimes the credit information (director, year etc) isn’t available so these fields may be left blank; we are progressively filling these in with further research.

Cite this work on Wikipedia

If you would like to cite this item, please use the following template: {{cite web |url=https://acmi.net.au/works/82486--william-s-burroughs-commissioner-of-sewers/ |title=William S. Burroughs: commissioner of sewers |author=Australian Centre for the Moving Image |access-date=26 September 2023 |publisher=Australian Centre for the Moving Image}}