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fishwasher
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I would just like to thank those who have contributed to this thread, as it is really making me think.....I wish I could add something but I feel that others have said what I would say and written it better than I could.....



peace

Aidan
Sayn lay narn, marli?

http://www.bizarremagic.net
gabelson
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conscientious observer
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Not to be redundant, but I'd also like to thank Teejay, Entity, Tom Cutts, Don Theo, and Tom Jorgenson for this stimulating, reflective, and truly thought-provoking thread. After weeks of petty, tit-for-tat threads on "Phenomenon" (into which, I must admit, I threw my two cents), it is wonderful to engage in a level-headed, intellectual, philosophical debate.

Thanks, guys, for all the POV's to ponder.
teejay
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What a treasury of clear thought on this subject. I am one of those idiots that believe in NLP. One of the laws of NLP states that if the listener does not get/
believe/understand my communication, then it is my fault.
Obviously I will never achieve 100% success but are some of the posts suggesting that
it is OK to win with part of the audience? Surely I must strive for CANI (Constant And Never-ending Improvement <Anthony Robbins>)?
TJ
teejay
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Apologies to all. I made an error in transmitting the last email. THIS email should be part of the last of my emails. Please read that one then this one:


Surely I must strive for CANI (Constant And Never-ending Improvement <Anthony Robbins>) to win them all. To give this question some focus, let's say we are talking about ordinary members of the public i.e we're not talking about Edwards in a Spiritualist Church or Cassidy in a bikers bar lol.
So, how many people should I aim to win over? And what should I be winning them over to? More astonishment? More belief in my premise/proposal/persona? These are not trivial questions. This is turning into a truly great resource thread Smile
If possible we should move it on one step at time, shouldn't we? Try not to drift
When we have some sort of a target and the ideal target audience perhaps we can then discuss......METHODS.....of doing what we want to do. And that will be when the FUN starts, will it not? lol
TJ
entity
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Re: Art -- I'm going by my earlier-stated definition of Art being the direct communication between the imagination of the artist and that of his audience. Using my definition, if there is no audience, or if not one single person "gets it", then there is no communication, no Art.

A person might make a thing of beauty for himself to admire, and I suppose that some might consider that art, since it's an artificial representation of his own imagination, but I believe that all art must have others bringing their own interpretations and imaginations to the work as an audience in order for it to fulfill its potential.

I can sit in my room doing billet switches and nail-writing in Calligraphic splendour, but is that a Performance?

Gableson, with the examples you gave, of painters who received acclaim after their death, that goes back to my statement that sometimes the only audience you have available to you isn't the right one for what you're creating. When the audience changed, the work was recognized. Were Vincent's painting Art before that? Were Warhol's soup cans art before someone understood what he was doing and was willing to pay for it? It's not an easy question to answer, except in retrospect. Looking at it at the time, we might not be so quick to say yes.

With regard to Joplin, I think you have your facts wrong. He was a best-selling composer of sheet music and acclaimed as the King of Ragtime when Ragtime was at its height of popularity. He did very well for himself financially, for the times, despite paying alimony to several ex wives. He died of terminal syphilis.

RE: Winning the Hearts and Minds of our audiences... I don't know if we can ever expect EVERY person to appreciate what we do. People are so varied, bringing so many of their own prejudices and pre-conceived notions with them, that it's exceedingly difficult for any artist to please all of them, all of the time.

I think that the best we can strive for, as Gableson has pointed out, is a balance, where we take up the challenge of reaching people at different levels at the same time, while remaining true to our own vision of who we are and what we want the audience to see.

with mentalism, despite anything we do, there will always be a mix of those who believe, those who are skeptical, and those sitting on the fence. But we can bring things to each of these factions in an audience in a single performance if we think about it.

- entity
v_alfano
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I repeat myself: the art don't allow categories...
entity
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In all other areas of Art there are recognized categories. Classical, Modern, Impressionistic, Jazz, Rock, Country, Realism, Musical theater, etc.

- entity
Bambaladam
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Quote:
On 2007-11-19 09:30, entity wrote:
In all other areas of Art there are recognized categories. Classical, Modern, Impressionistic, Jazz, Rock, Country, Realism, Musical theater, etc.

- entity


And nowhere are the categories clear-cut.
Anthony Jacquin
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Good point Bam'.
Anthony Jacquin

Reality is Plastic! The Art of Impromptu Hypnosis
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entity
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My post was a response to the previous one that made a definitive statement that Art doesn't allow categories. Obviously there are categories in art, clear-cut or not.

- entity
lumberjohn
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To thrive, mentalism must not be about playing to the largest possible audience, though this is certainly a practical consideration for those who perform for a living. True artists are concerned only with what they feel to be right. Art comes from those things that make each of us distinctive and unique. Perhaps that is why many of the greatest artists were some of the most distinctive individuals in history.

The more we attempt to play to our audience, the more we abandon our own uniqueness and turn out an increasingly fungible product. Ideally, we would all simply go with our gut and create original presentations that suit our personalities with faith that our presentations would find their audience. This would be the best for the art of mentalism, though realistically, many, if not most, such performances will not find audiences.

It would be very risky for a mentalist to take no account of audience preferences from the beginning. It often takes time for audiences to appreciate something new, and in the meantime, the performer's show might close and he would be forced out of performing. A fair compromise might begin with a "four for you, one for me" philosophy and gradually increase the "for me" number as circumstances allow.

The point I am trying to make, however, is that playing to your audience is a practical consideration only. It is not part of creating art. Art comes entirely from within. I disagree with Entity that if no one else gets it, it isn't art. I think it is art if only one person gets it, even if that person is you.
Hoff Man
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I can’t speak about punch lines. By “getting it”, as in a magic performance, I assume you mean to be entertained, if not even, intellectually or emotionally affected.

If that’s the case, I would say that choosing the appropriate material for particular audience is a performance prerequisite. Magic theory, creativity and the essence of art aside, doesn’t it seem that if your audience does not “get it”, you are at best practicing, and at worse, acting out some sort of absurd self indulgent ritual in public.

I guess I don’t get it.

Steve
lumberjohn
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But we don't know what our audiences will or won't get. When we tailor our performances to our audiences, we are simply trying to second guess what they will like based, most likely, on other people's successful performances. This breeds duplication and repetition rather than innovation and creativity.

You could say that any artist whose work was not immediately appreciated was merely "acting out some sort of absurd self indulgent ritual." Many artists, such as Andy Kaufman, or Picasso, have been accused of this very thing.

When we perform what is entertaining to us, we are not simply writing off the audiences. We are being true to ourselves and having faith that if it connects with us, it will connect with others. Maybe we will only connect with a small group or maybe none at all. That is a risk that artists take, but I believe it is a risk worth taking.
entity
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Art is about having something to say. Intrinsically this would mean, I suspect, that you want others to experience what you have to say.

I'd agree with Hoff Man... If you're saying it purely for yourself, and don't care if the audience "gets it" or not, what's the point of the exercise?

I believe that you can take routines or effects that are "commercial" and imprint them with your own stamp of personality and presentation. In this way, you can have material that will please a broad range of people while still allowing your own artistry to shine through, your own "message" to be heard.

Not everyone is capable of creating their own routines from scratch, but everyone who wishes to be a performing artist should make the material their own.

- entity
lumberjohn
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When a great jazz musician composes a piece, I doubt he is thinking about which notes will most entertain his audience. He writes what comes out of him and what he feels. Are you saying there is no point to his exercise? Are you saying that, even if his piece fails to connect with the first, second, or fiftieth audience that hears it, he has nothing to say?

Of course not everyone can create routines from scratch and there is certainly nothing wrong with taking "commercial" routines and imprinting them with one's own personality and presentation. But it is in the imprinting process, rather than the portions lifted from other's effects, that art takes place.

I don't believe I have ever seen a magic or mentalism act that was constructed 100% of completely new materials, concepts, and presentation. We necessarily build on the foundations of others. Acts differ, however, in how much of the material/presentation is new and unique. My point is that we should strive to make as much of our acts unique as possible, given the practical considerations we all face. The art will be advanced in direct proportion to how much uniqueness and distinctiveness we add.
entity
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I think we're agreeing on most things here, lumberjohn.

I don't think, however, that if discordant noise comes from a saxophone with no meter or artistic intent, that it's art, no matter who the musician is. If no one wants to listen, then it's entirely possible that what he's saying is without merit. On the other hand, it might just be that he's performing for the wrong audience. Taste plays an important role in every artist's work. With taste and experience, the great Jazz composer that you mention DOES take into account what will be pleasing to the audience's ears or moving to their souls when he's composing or playing.

As has been said on this thread several times, it's about a balance. It's about the artistry of the performer, about taste and about his ability to say what he wants to say in a way that others will appreciate.

- entity
DT3
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Hill Valley
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There's an old saying amongst us pianists:

"If you mess up once, it's a mistake. If you mess up twice, it's jazz."
entity
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Messing up in Jazz is an oxymoron. There are no mistakes, just variations and improvisation. Whether that ends up being something worthwhile depends on the skills, taste and imagination of the player.

I can f*a*r*t six different notes. Does that demonstrate that I have something worthwhile to say as a musician because it came out of me and it's what I felt at the time?

- entity
DT3
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E- depends on the bass line. (LOL)

May seem strange, but I think this is relevant to this thread:

"The Inner Game of Tennis" is a great book that will energize performance both on stage and in real life.

Zen baby, Zen.

D.
lumberjohn
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Entity,

I agree that we are about 90% on the same page, but I'm uncomfortable with definining art in terms of how many people enjoy it. In the above example, at which point would you call the jazz musician's piece art? When one person enjoys it? When 100 do? Does it at that point "become" art, or was it art all along, just not recognized as such? Also, I don't think the musician necessarily takes into account what he thinks other people want to hear. He just plays what he thinks sounds right and lets the audience decide for themselves.

By the way, your last post gave me a great idea for a new "PK Touches" routine. Of course, the spectator will have to be sitting down . . . Smile.
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