Peter Chung and hallucinogens? : LUSENET : Aeon Flux : One Thread


I was wondering if Mr. Chung had ever experimented with any hallucinogens? Please, this in no way is meant to be offensive - I just think that Aeon Flux has some brilliantly surreal scenes, and I was wondering if hallucinogens in any way or form inspired them. My goal in life is actually to reproduce an LSD experience (visually and aurally) in some form of media.

-- Stephen Ceresia (, May 20, 2001


I am touched by the loyalty to Peter Chung's reputation and defended by evidently a real friend. Personally, I don't believe drugs are ever responsible for creative forces. I have had to work in chemical dependency and am not or ever have been any sort of addict but for 'Aeonoholism'. I am aware of the destructive powers of drugs/alcohol and I'm glad to find Peter is the least likely candidate for this. His genius is his own.

-- Barb e (, June 26, 2001.

Interesting; I admit people willing to detox from alcohol and drugs all the time who commonly list LSD among their substance abuse history. Perhaps you have heard the speeches reserved only for their friends and resembles something Daria once said, "My worst addiction is to Sick Sad World...I don't even order pizza with mushrooms".

-- Barb e (, June 27, 2001.

Timothy Leary said of Salvador Dali that Dali can express LSD without using LSD, an analogy which Dali favoured. I've always thought that LSD was more of a cop-out, people who need it are too bland and devoid of inspriration on their own. I draw alot on my own and I'm sure there are people who would suggest LSD influenced my work. I believe there are naturally gifted people who can create these surreal scenes (scenes that have made me fall in love with Aeon Flux) without the outside influence of agents such as LSD. And if I did hear that LSD was an influence for P. Chung it would really diminish my fascination with Aeon Flux to a certain point.

-- nick. (, May 21, 2001.

I think the wierder parts of the show came from dreams rather than drugs. I myself dream in Beronica all the time.

-- Frostbite a.k.a. Frosty the Snow Chick (, May 21, 2001.

If Mr. Chung did experiment with hallucingens, why would it in any way diminish your interest in Aeon? I believe exploring that part of reality through the use of substances is just as valid as any other method. As to people wanting to use an hallucinogen like LSD as a "cop-out" because they are "too bland" to comprehend the alternate visionary world, I'm sorry but that sounds very elitist. Maybe you and Dali and Francis Bacon could turn on that reality at will, but most can't, or the stresses and tedium of modern life disables their ability to do so. What about methods such as meditation, fasting, or sleep deprivation? Are people who use these methods "copping out" and "bland" as well? While dreaming can come very close, many can't control the experience in their dreams, much less remember it half of the time. Perhaps I didn't make my question clear enough; I'm not asking if Peter Chung took LSD because he HAD to in order to come up with such brilliantly surreal images and ideas. I'm asking if hallucinogens in any way inspired him or provided reference material in retrospect of the experience.

-- Stephen (, May 21, 2001.

Yeah, Stephen, I agree with you about hallucinogens not being a "cop-out". Certainly it can be used that way, but that's a function of the person using it, not the drug.

On the other hand, Peter Chung probably has used drugs (many do, esp. art students) but I don't see it playing a major role in the development of Aeon Flux (I may be wrong...) IMO, the choice to take hallucinogenic drugs means you are psychologically "ready" and open to certain stimulus. I'd argue that drugs and imagination *are* linked, though not necessarily in a linear, cause-and-effect way.

-- Inukko (, May 21, 2001.

Yes, of course that sounds elitist, and with the risk of making myself sound extremely pretentious, I consider myself, in many respects, to be one of the elite which is therefore why i make this argument. Drug use today has become a cliche, primarily due to the hippie fuck up of the sixties. There are artists like Dali, Matta, Tanguy and Peter Chung, as far as I'm concerned, that have the ability to "turn one" that fourth dimension of the mind automatically. And it is that very ability that separates the common man from artists like Dali, the ones who are truly and naturally visionary. It would be naive to think that just any person would be able to freely create those visionary works. My point is if Aeon was in fact spurred from an acid trip I just couldn't view her as genuinely as I do now.

-- nick. (, May 22, 2001.

Me again. Wow, Nick... there are so many things wrong with your argument I don't know where to start. First of all, why do you consider yourself "elite"? Is it because you're drug-free? Well, I don't use drugs either, but I do hang out with druggies, & they tell me I have the mind of a tripper. So is my experience "better" than theirs, simply because I manage to tap into the same wavelength? How can you quantify experience? How can you say that art (like Aeon Flux) would mean less if created under the influence? If anything, it means more. The mind lies, but psychedelics never do - ask anyone who's tried them.

Nick, you seem to have a high opinion of yourself, and that's good. Why not raise that opinion to accomodate visionary experience of all kinds?

-- Inukko (, May 22, 2001.

BTW, I see the straight line in what I just wrote; believe me, in certain circles "druggie" and "tripper" are very much compliments.

-- Inukko (, May 22, 2001.

Drugs are just another tool at the disposal of humanity. People use caffeine to stay awake, nicotine to stay unstressed... are they any less human then the drugless man? I don't think so. I'm not a drug user, and I don't think I ever will be (especially concerning LSD), but I don't object to its use as an artistic tool. Drugs don't create experiences, they're only one of many ways to reinterpret human experience. Drugs can be no more influential on a work than an artist's upbringing, education, and interests. It's just another filter.

Then again, what do I know? I've never tried.

-- Mat Rebholz (, May 23, 2001.

I got high once behind a dumpster. I have no plans to repeat the experience.

-- Frostbite a.k.a. Frosty the Snow Chick (, May 23, 2001.

I don't know...if Aeon was the product of drug use (and I don't think so) then I think it would be kind of a cop out. All drugs really do is help people forget about the fact that they are not particually good at anything.

-- Jack Murphy (, May 23, 2001.

Thank you, Jack. Maybe I was a bit too general the first time or many of you are over analyzing what I said because I believe I've already answered most of the follow up comments in my first 2 posts. However there is a significant differance between "getting high" and eating a piece of paper that puts you inside a Salvador Dali painting. I don't bother wasting my time and getting high with external chemicals because I can just as easily put myself in that mindset on my own. No, not everyone can do that but it's that ability that separates an artist from a common individual. I don't consider myself elite because I'm drug free, i consider myself elite because I'm able to see an artistic vision without the aid of drugs. Jon, I believe, made a valid argument, sleep deprivation and meditation can be wonderful tools however I cannot possibly constrew those tools into the same catagory of hallucinogens. I myself work best at 5-6am because my subconscious tends to take over so i can focus clearly. Hallucinating (which is the purpose of taking hallucinogens) is not focusing clearly, the subconscious is taken over so the drug is the tool, not the mind in that case. This all seems very elementary too me I don't understand what all the confusion is.

-- nick. (, May 23, 2001.

Yes, it is elementary. It's also too simplistic.

Let me put it to you this way: if I were to accept your argument, that would mean no great artist has ever used drugs (uh, yeah right), and those that have, aren't. Which I can't accept. Your concept of psychedelic drugs is also very one-sided. There are certain substances, especially plant ones, which cause the mind to work differently. Not better, not worse, just differently. What happens from there is up to the user, and one's person's "escape" is another's awakening. They do not "subdue the subconscious" - bad trips are repressed feelings coming out. Peyote, Salvia Divinorum, Psilocybe Cubensis and Ayahuasca have all created "visions", but who's to say those visions didn't exist in the first place, waiting to be brought out? Certainly not you.

-- Inukko (, May 23, 2001.

Belushi believed cocaine helped him achieve the edge he necessary to Saturday Night Live...The Beatles used Marijuana and LSD...Joe Snowed uses crack......."Talent is everything"

-- Barb e. (, May 23, 2001.

Well all along I had a point planned then Barb took it away. Drugs do help creativity, not just whilst you use them but that memorey and feeling can be mentally followed to other ideas long after the fact. I myself spent a great deal of my last few months of school "tripping". I haven't done it regular since then and still I draw from those very unique feeling from time to time. Still though I much prefer to grab "artistic" vision from the more spirtual realm not only do you not have to sit in a chair for 5 hours while you think your legs a burning but you tend to learn things of yourself of greater meaning.

I never thought of Aeon as a drug show, however that might explain that fucking baby!

-- mark (, May 24, 2001.

Well said NAdar & Barb. Take it away!

-- Inukko (, May 25, 2001. ndex.html

Say it isn't so!!!

-- Peter Chung (, May 26, 2001.

I don't know about the rest of you but this new information has drastically diminished my interest in William Shakespeare!

-- Stephen (, May 26, 2001.

I guess you're not gonna want to hear about George Washington then...

-- Inukko (, May 26, 2001.

Talent is everything...

-- Barb e. (, May 27, 2001.

I have to admit it's amazing to me if Shakespeare did get stoned, Dylan knew it all. Shakespeare; he's in the alley avoiding the Memphis blues again. Now...about Washington???

-- Barb e. (, May 28, 2001.

To say this that guy who created the West Wing was arrested for mushroom possesion. It like B. E. keeps pointing out talent is everything. I think that looking down on drug use is silly. I mean who are we to tell someone who is, or has done better than us creatively that they ought not to do this. I mean it all boils down this, and don't let anyone tell you different, Drugs Are Cool! Well not really, but a spade is a spade and Will, and George did very well.

-- Mark (, May 31, 2001.

I just realized Peter was right here and could have answered our question. Just like Arnold Swartzenager he's taking the ambigious approach to his drug use.

-- (, May 31, 2001.

I think if anything Peter would be laughing about our ponderings :-)

-- William (, June 01, 2001.

Yeah your probably right, he is smirking and smiling at us right now. He's funny that way, never gives any quarter.

I've recently(last night) been inspired to go the full nine yards and try to get a hold of some LSD.I want that stuff nothing else. I want to take a great big dose and venture to places hither-to unseen within my own mind. Now if only I could afford it.

-- Mark (, June 03, 2001.

You know, maybe this is the place to explain that the first Aeon Flux I saw (the one with the Demiurge) I was high. I was never what you'd call a 'druggie' type, but I liked to get high, there I was at a friends house, slightly high,and Aeon romping about in her little confusion of a script, and I'm totally blown the script and the girl. I always was into Shakespeare.

-- Barb e (, June 22, 2001.

Throughout the time I worked on "Aeon," I never saw Peter so much as drink a beer. A less likely candidate for hallucinogenic drug use would be hard to imagine.

-- Peter Gaffney (, June 26, 2001.

Sorry, but I can't agree with you Barb. I think we're talking about two very different things; entheogens vs. normal drug/alcohol use.

To Gaffney: I believe you (hey, who would know better?), but your analogy doesn't hold up. In my experience, users of entheogens (I'm not going to say "drugs") rarely drink.

-- Inukko (, June 26, 2001.

Some people have actually cured themselves of alcoholism using these substances... but this has become a touchy subject for me, so I'll stop. I do wish people on both sides would be a little more open minded.

-- Inukko (, June 27, 2001.

"curing" an addiction for alcohol by replacing it with a seperate addiction (or habitual use - since some things are not so much chemically addictive as they are mentally addictive) to something else hardly seems like a "cure" at all to me.

-- pixi (, June 27, 2001.

I meant when someone says, I'm just drinking a .75 of Jack Daniels a day so that I can stop smoking, it hardly seems like it would really "help" anything at all. It's entirely possible that a person could end up back where they started from - For example a person could say: I started drinking alcohol to give up pot, then I started doing coke to give up alcohol, then I started doing heroin to give up coke, then I started doing methodone to give up heroin, then I started smoking cigarettes to give up methodone, now I'm smoking pot to give up cigarettes.

That's all I mean by giving up one addiction for another one not really being that "helpful"

-- pixi (, June 27, 2001.

It's a fact that one-time peyote use (or LSD use, which is still preferable to drink) has cured some alcoholics. I read about this study in the LA Times, in a 2-3 page article, and I'm sure there are others to back it up... so please don't lump psychedelic/entheogen substances together with hard drugs.

No offense meant to Peter Gaffney, BTW. He's a great guy, and we're lucky to have him here.

(warning: long post ahead!)

I believe the stigma attached to psychedelics can be traced to a desire to seperate internal and external experience. According to this school of thought, there are two realities; subjective (the mind) and objective (everything else). Reality is static, unchanging, and totally excludes the subject; a comforting thought for anyone who's ever doubted themselves!

Sadly, reality doesn't fit into neat little packages. Without the arbitrary barrier between subject and object, no one form of perception is less real than another, and psychedelics erode that barrier. Long-term users believe in their reality as much as, or more than, the consensual one. And why not? Is it not, as Mat said, just another way to see? This is what the phrase "You Create Your Own Reality" means; you can argue there is but one true reality, underneath all these experiences, but that again excludes the subject.

Consensual reality is but one of many realities, i.e. ways of interacting with the physical universe. Insecure non-users seek to control perception by regulating the drug use of others, thereby guaranteeing their own psychological stability. Ask yourself: If "true experience comes from within", then why do we wage war on non-addictive, external substances? Are they a real threat, or are these the laws of a theocracy?

People want objective reality; as Guy Pearce's character said at the end of Memento, "I have to believe in a world outside of my own head". The problem is that we believe *absolutely* in that world. Which is why psychedelics scare us.

-- Inukko (, June 28, 2001.

I don't knock anyone's use of any sort of substance (hard drugs, psychadelics, hell even paint thinner). In fact, I'm a huge believer in legalizing everything. People should be allowed to do whatever they want with their own bodies, without interference from the gov't or others. I'm just saying that some people decide to take these experiences to extremes (and if they decide to do so, good for them, more power to 'em I say) and when pressured to give something up they trade 6 of one thing for half a dozen of another and they're really not doing themselves any good. Does that mean I think they should be locked away? Hardly. Does that mean I think all "drugs are bad, mkay"? Again, not at all. All I'm advocating is that if someone says they want to stop being controlled by various substances, they should stand by their convictions (as hard and as unthinkably difficult as that may be) and not trade one addiction for another.

-- pixi (, June 28, 2001.

There are religions, artists and even societies that to pursue the ethereal untouchable realms of our mind used hallucinogens to gain a new pathway. The site I list below actually makes a case as to the belief that psilocybe mushrooms may have been the 'manna' spoken of in the bible. Citing their taste like wafers, appearance like hoar frost and with a heavenly (bluish) coloring. Kinda interesting theory. Thought you'd like to check it out; it also links to other etheogenetic sites~

-- Barb e (, June 28, 2001.

If not for drugs I might never forget what what a fuck up I've become because of them. Well actually no. That statement is completely false. Some one mentioned that the internal reatlity of drug users overtakes their outer reality. Well that is true of all people. What is on the inside is also on the outside. If you internal world is chaotic, and harmeful, it bleeds over to not just your "real" world but infects those around you. Those internal worlds are what make the collective world what it is. The only danger with drugs(other than addiction and death) is that sometimes, they can ruin a perfectly alright internal world.

-- MArk (, June 29, 2001.

LSD and beer are EXACTLY the same.

-- Peter Gaffney (, June 30, 2001.

Budweiser alludes to an elevated psyche. Tune in, turn on, hop out.

-- Barb e (, July 01, 2001.

Some people don't choose to do things to their bodies. they are controled by society, and know nothing of their mind, how it works, or even how to control it. Expierences/memories make a person who they are (aeon flux ep.) when a person learns to disregard those memories and make up their own rules then and only then can a person rightfully say they choose to do something. and very few people have this ability or have discovered it's meaning. :O)

-- Lady Morgan (, July 02, 2001.

On the other hand, during the time we worked on the show, I rarely saw Peter Gaffney not imbibing copious amounts of brew. Didn't seem to affect him in the least.

-- Peter Chung (, July 16, 2001.

I love it.

-- Barb e. (, July 17, 2001.

I don't remember drinking beer while we were working on the show. Come to think of it, I don't remember working on the show... or anything else from about 1986 until September 6, 1997, when I woke up in a suburb of Baltimore with one hell of a headache.

-- Peter Gaffney (, July 17, 2001.

I have the freedom to write this, and I have the freedom to worship that and I have the freedom to have a fair trial about something else. Yet with these freedoms, which have been established by our great forefathers, I still do not have the right to do with my body whatever I please. Nor do I have the right to reach higher levels of consciousness with my very own mind. This is appaling. Freedom or facade what is this country when such a question must be raised?

Mental expansion should not be a crime.

-- Niron I. Vlas (, November 03, 2002.

Different substances affect different people in different ways. To unilaterally judge whether a drug or other substance enhances or represses creative ability or any other unquantifiable faculty of the mind is impossible, as one cannot take in precisely how it will affect every human being and how different people will react to the stimulus. I'm certain many people feel their creative abilities are expanded by drugs; and I'm certain just as many feel their abilities are hindered by them. Entirely disregarding an artist's work just because they used a particular substance misses the point completely, not to mention makes one look like a self-important, overly- judgemental boor.

What's important to keep in mind, though, is that no substance can magically create those abilities and talents; they have to already exist in the first place, and the issue of whether an artist's work comes as a byproduct of a substance-induced experience questions only a fragment of the artist's total mindset, creative process and attitude. It's true that certain drugs can destroy the mind, but in large enough doses everything is dangerous. It's even possible to die from an overdose of nutmeg.

So we can establish that abuse of any substance presents numerous dangers and risks; if we suppose, however, that the artist is very disciplined, and has sufficient willpower and self-control, how can we objectively quantify whether his work would improve or deteriorate without it? That would be a daunting judgement to make, I'd think.

Personally, I've never done anything "harder" than marijuana; and in my personal experience, no substance hinders or aids my creative drive specifically, but they make me a bit sloppier than I would be sober.

So the main thing we can conclude from all this is to reiterate what Barb said yet again: "Talent is everything."

-- Brian Davis (, November 07, 2002.

Yeah, how about a discussion on talent? What is it? Innate? Aquired? Either or? What does it stem from? A way of thinking? A biological advantage? I wish these talented people wouldn't be so damn modest, I'd love to here any ideas and explanations they might have on how they do it. Although it is fun to speculate.

-- Sam (, November 07, 2002.

As an art student me and my friends found your argument very interesting and quite entertaining but would like to point out that NOT all art students are druggies!!!!!! although i have to agree that the vast majority are.

-- wouldnt u like to know (, January 10, 2003.

The top art students at my school certaintly arnt druggies.

-- Sam (, January 10, 2003.

What the hell kinda school do you got to

-- wouldnt you like to know (, January 21, 2003.

'high' school

-- Sam (, January 21, 2003.

Drugs are bad M'kay.

-- Mark (, January 24, 2003.


-- Urkie (, November 13, 2003.

first off, i dont know if you read this peter, but big ups , i love aeon flux. i always thought there was drug influence, at least in the sense that the stories parallel to some drug experiences, regardless of whether peter indulged himslef or not. and to think less of his work because of it, pfff! come on, art is art, this is not a fucking competition and is not intellectual masturbation, sober or not, the end product is what counts. is it an expression by the artist and does it make the viewer fell something? and nick, im assuming you've never taken lsd, so how would you know what it does? lsd doesnt put things into your head, it over stimulates everything and lets you get to some regions that maybe you could get to through years of meditation. personally i dont do drugs anymore, but never regretted a moment of it. so yeah, peter chung is the man.

-- chris matule (, February 14, 2004.

My 2 pennies

It's not the drugs, it's the people that use them.

It's not the cars, it's the people who drive them

It's not the guns, it's the people who shoot them

It's not the cartoons your children watch, it's not the shitty example you set as parents, it's your cruel bastard children

Mankind will never learn, only individuals can learn.

Mankind will never care, only individuals can care.

Mankind will always begin their lives as selfish cruel animals.

Individuals will not always learn rise above,


Every day is a holiday, every meal a feast.


Always, always remember, less is less, more is more, and twice as much is good too. not enough is bad, and too much is never enough, except when it's just about right.

-The Tick

-- ashley fox (, February 18, 2004.

I am reminded of a song with interesting lyrics which are also often misinterpreted. As far as I can discern (via the actual album and not my imagination), this is what the lyrics are:

HydroElectric (by MDFMK/KMFDM, released approx. March of 2000) ------------- Float Flushed Flowing Like a River Try and Suffer This Calamity

Drift Swim Hover and Beside You Question My Humanity

It's a Complex State Another Dimension Blind as I Sink to the Other Side

Calling Me Awaken to a Hurricane Crushed Way Feels Like I Could Flat Line

Devil Fluorescence is All I Remember Succumb I Surrender to This

Here to Eternity Not a Reality Only the Pulse of Insanity

A Mystic High

A Thrive on This Disease Liquify SubZero Freeze

Initiate You Germinate It's You That Moves the HydroElectric Drive Me Down You Dominate Me

Invite the Noose And Violate Intoxicate HydroElectric You, You, View Dominate Me

It's the Ebb and Flow Eternal Connection A Trickle of Rain Shrouding the Dirt

Calling me Waken to a Hurricane Watery Grave Cry a Churning Shatter Tap

Broken Reflection On The Surface of Never From Here to Forever and Back

Total Viscosity Into Fluidity Only the Pulse of Infinity

A Mystic High

A Thrive on This Disease Liquify SubZero Freeze

Initiate You Germinate It's You That Moves the HydroElectric Drive Me Down You Dominate Me


Invite the Noose And Violate Intoxicate HydroElectric You, You, View Dominate Me


Dominate Me Dominate Me

A Thrive On This Disease Liquify SubZero Freeze

Initiate You Germinate It's You That Moves the HydroElectric Drive Me Down You Dominate Me


Invite the Noose And Violate Intoxicate HydroElectric You, You, View Dominate Me


Dominate Me It's You That Moves the HydroElectric


You Dominate Me Dominate Me


Dominate Me It's You That Moves the HydroElectric


Dominate Me Dominate Me


...very Aeon Fluxish if you ever hear the song: sci-fi, dark, semi-ambient, rough, mystical, with some odd sexual undertones... interesting contemporary work as i remember it.

-- Day Of Brahma (, November 13, 2004.

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