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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Definition of "Magic" (9 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Whit Haydn
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"Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee both had eyes but couldn't see.
You've got the eyes but not the heart.
You never win if you don't start."
tommy
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LOL
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Whit Haydn
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Magic is inherently theatrical. You don't need to "add" a story to magic or "add" meaning to magic, as if you were pouring ketchup on food. It is easy to drown the taste of magic that way.

The magician says, "Pick a card." He is the protagonist. The spectator takes up the challenge, and picks a card. He is the antagonist. Will the magician be able to find the chosen card? What is going to happen? Can the spectator keep the magician from finding the card? What if he shuffles the deck?

Conflict. Resolution. Denouement.

It is all there. Every magic trick is a little play, and each one is loaded with meaning and story that can be "discovered" within the trick the way Michaelangelo "discovered" his sculptures in the stone.

Many magicians try to add story or meaning onto a trick instead of discovering what dramatic, comic, or philosophical meaning can be found within the argument of the trick itself, or in the process of creating magic for the spectators itself.

Understanding what you are doing, and how a trick is rightly constructed helps you to accomplish this, the more artistic approach to creating magic. This approach to making magic meaningful is much more artistic, I think, than hoping that a moving song in the background, a tacked-on message, a contrived "story" told along with the trick, or some other nonsense will make a magic trick somehow more meaningful.

As Marshall McCluhan might have said, "Magic is the message."
tommy
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Whit, guess what I did yesterday. I walked into my living room and seen two Oranges in a fruit bowl and thought “All Oranges are Orange” So I dyed one Blue. When my girl came home from school I showed her the Orange one a said look and changed into a blue one. Cool she said, lets make some blue orange juice!
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Whit Haydn
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LoL. There are lots of blue oranges being presented as real magic. Smile
LobowolfXXX
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On 2006-05-10 14:33, tommy wrote:
Whit, guess what I did yesterday. I walked into my living room and seen two Oranges in a fruit bowl and thought “All Oranges are Orange” So I dyed one Blue. When my girl came home from school I showed her the Orange one a said look and changed into a blue one. Cool she said, lets make some blue orange juice!



See, here's what you do...you have an orange in sight the whole time, you borrow a bill, you vanish it, you turn the orange into a blue orange, you cut it open, and you pull out some blue Canadian money. Preferably with some music in the background about oranges, or the color blue, or maybe "Oh Canada."
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
Whit Haydn
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Don't forget to tell the story of the little boy, whose greatest wish was to one day move to Canada.

He only had a dollar and an orange from the family tree that his mother told him to try and sell, and even if he sold the orange, that wasn't enough to get him to Canada... So he met this old women who said...
Whit Haydn
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On 2006-05-10 13:17, JackScratch wrote:
Whit, I'm afriad I don't see any difference between that and any other stage performance. The audience is always the witness. That's their job in any threatrical presentation. It seems to me that you are trying to say that the particular nature of the story being told makes it different, but that's like saying "choclate pudding is different than vanilla pudding, so choclate pudding isn't pudding". Mind you, I'm not saying that magic is in no way different from any other art. I'm just saying that it isn't any more different than any two other art forms.


If you go to see Hamlet, you don't rush home to tell everyone that you just saw Hamlet, his mother, stepfather and best friend all kill each other! "And I was right there when it happened!"

Magic is a different kind of story, it incorporates the spectators in real time. "I was there. I saw it. You wouldn't have believed it!"

Tommy:

"Mind you I suppose when you’re a magician you may walk through the looking glass and join Alice."

Better than that, I take the audience with me and introduce them to Alice, The Mad Hatter, the Mock Turtle, and the Walrus and the Carpenter. Alice might even try to tell the audience her history...

Not the imaginary Alice. The real one. Promise. She's alive, inside, and she will talk to you...
chrisrkline
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But there is no Alice. But, man, I swear I shook her hand and I know I saw her passport.
Chris
Whit Haydn
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JackScratch said:

"Magic is, what magic is. Magic is not acting, though acting certainly applies. Magic is not storytelling, though storytelling also applies. It's as though you are trying to say that it is exactly the same, or completely different, and that there is no middle ground, where some rules apply and others do not. That simply isn't the case. Magic is a particular genre' of theatre, or performance. Of course it is different, if it weren't, we wouldn't bother having another genre' for it. There wouldn't be a special name for it."


It is different, it has its own rules, and according to Maskelyne and Devant, when Magic is used in theater, the rules of magic must be subservient to the rules of Theater--the magic must be subsumed into the story and not allowed to take people out of the story.

"Our Magic" says that when Magic uses theatrical techniques (whether acting, stage effects, lighting or sound) these must all be made subservient to the artistic goals of the "Art in Magic."

When Magic uses Theater, it must make the rules of Theater subservient to the needs of the Art in Magic.

This is the way it is described in "Our Magic."

Magic and Theater are related arts, and share many, many goals and techniques in common, but when Magic is used by Theater, it becomes a mere "transitional device" or special effect. When Theater is used in Magic, it becomes a tool for the sake of the magician's art.

It is no longer Magic the Art, but Magic the Device.

Much like when an actor creates his art, he must subsume his work into the needs of the whole--he must serve the story of the play. In the same way, acting and other theatrical tools must be made to serve the Magic. They must be subservient to the goals of Magic.

I am not saying that Magic is exactly the same as Theater, or completely different.

It is a branch of the "Theater of Deception" which is in turn a branch of the theater.

It shares many of the goals and methods of the Theater, but it has its own unique purposes and goals, and its own unique way of accomplishing them. That is what makes it a special and distinct part of the Art of Theater.

It is only by truly understanding the rules of both arts that we know how to manage the two together without damaging the end result.

Theater is an Art for which Magic can be a useful tool. Magic is an Art for which Theater can be a useful tool. The goals of each determine the proper place of the other. Not doing things according the appropriate needs of the artistic vision--not knowing the distinctions and rules; will usually produce an artistic disaster.

If you can not make the distinctions between Theater and Magic--if you can not distiguish among their myriad goals and methods, you will not be able to use any of the tools correctly.
bishthemagish
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On 2006-05-10 15:47, Whit Haydn wrote:
When Theater is used in Magic, it becomes a tool for the sake of the magician's art.

It is no longer Magic the Art, but Magic the Device.

Theater is an Art for which Magic can be a useful tool.

Magic IS THE EFFECT. To get the EFFECT of magic we use TOOLS like technique, Manipulation, Theater, ETC. Magic is the EFFECT.
Glenn Bishop Cardician

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Publisher of Glenn Bishop's Ace Cutting And Block Transfer Triumphs
tommy
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Do you mean the effect that is seen or the effect that it has on mind of those seeing the effect.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Jonathan Townsend
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On 2006-05-12 17:26, tommy wrote:
Do you mean the effect that is seen or the effect that it has on mind of those seeing the effect.

Hold that thought.

Hold that question.

You are standing on the traintracks of understanding.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
tommy
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Are talking to yourself Jon?


Just kidding. Smile
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Jonathan Townsend
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Oh well... missed the train.

There will be other opportunities.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
JackScratch
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Quote:
On 2006-05-12 16:26, bishthemagish wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-05-10 15:47, Whit Haydn wrote:
When Theater is used in Magic, it becomes a tool for the sake of the magician's art.

It is no longer Magic the Art, but Magic the Device.

Theater is an Art for which Magic can be a useful tool.

Magic IS THE EFFECT. To get the EFFECT of magic we use TOOLS like technique, Manipulation, Theater, ETC. Magic is the EFFECT.


Incorrect. Magic is the sum of the efforts of a good magician. The effect is a part of that sum. It is not the whole of the sum. The effect is, in fact, a smaller part of the sum. An effect alone, no matter how good, is worthless. Without proper presentation, it is not magic. Magic in this instance being defined as the goal of our particular trade.
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-05-12 18:18, JackScratch wrote:... Magic is the sum of the efforts of a good magician....


Magic may happen as a result of the performer's efforts.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
JackScratch
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I define a good magician as one who gets such results, so "may" isn't realy correctly used there.
Jonathan Townsend
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Can we go with "reliable" instead of "good" in that case?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
bishthemagish
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Quote:
On 2006-05-12 18:18, JackScratch wrote:
Incorrect. Magic is the sum of the efforts of a good magician. The effect is a part of that sum. It is not the whole of the sum. The effect is, in fact, a smaller part of the sum. An effect alone, no matter how good, is worthless. Without proper presentation, it is not magic. Magic in this instance being defined as the goal of our particular trade.

Incorrect. Incorrect. Incorrect.

Magic IS THE Effect. Without the magic effect or the effect of magic in the mind of the audience the magician might as well call themselves a juggler.

An effect alone is not worthless. Start with the effect - then come up with a method and then the mumbo jumbo is added. To help hide the method and then a presentation is added and hopefully that makes the whole thing entertaining.
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