|How do you think this would work for someone who doesn't know anything other than the basics about Burroughs?|
I'm still pretty fresh to William Burroughs and his life's works, which probably explains that while the work looked to me as though he was indeed working on/through something, I had little or no idea whether he had succeeded; like witnessing a few random and encoded test results from a far grander experiment. Of course, I suppose a lot of art, especially the more abstract, might be described in a similar way. But although I felt a sense of energy and purpose in his technique, the work didn't evoke a particularly strong response of any kind, other than to further encourage me to research more about the man and his work, e.g. the Cut-Up technique he and Brion Gysin employed.
To put it crudely, I'd still like to "learn the code", but none of the paintings on show pleased or stimulated me enough to really engage me or make me want to hang them on my wall. (Although I did admire the flick-book machine in the window: the cartoon made me imagine a sniper lurking somewhere on Beak Street.)
So when I say I felt I caught a glimpse of Mr Burrough's thought processes, I'm pretty sure that I wasn't understanding them. I suppose, therefore, that to try and further answer your question:
Is it interesting from a 'this is how a mind worked' point of view, or would you say it was more for people already interested in his work?
I'd say a little of both. If you'd never heard of William Burroughs and happened to stroll into the gallery, then I seriously doubt the work on show would offer a particularly broad insight into the machinations of Mr Burroughs' mind (although there is biographical information available). However, I imagine the exhibition would at least prick the curiousity of any questioning viewer, maybe even enough to inspire them want to learn more about Mr Burroughs' life's Work.
Whether people who are more knowledgeable about William Burroughs would get anything more out the work on show, I'm obviously not in a position to comment. Indeed, typing as someone who knows a little about William Burroughs, I'd be very interested to read and learn from the opinions of others about this exhibition. Also, has anybody got anything to report on what the "accompaniment" was like for Part One?