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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » Al Schneider's cups and balls (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Lawrence O
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PS: the "zero measurement piece of wood" is defined by the Gestalt as following the Law of Continuation where a straight line that is interrupted before being resumed is not a zero in PERCEPTION even if it is a zero in vision and the lines are mentally connected as just One straight line with a visual interruption rrather than two lines in sequence. Similarly, according to the "law of continuation" the non visible ball that just vanished has "travelled" if it reappears under the cup. Naturally this is nto limited ot geometry or C&Bs and would also apply in our art to the Coins Across etc...
Magic is the art of proving impossible things in parallel dimensions that can't be reached
Dave V
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Wow, I actually followed that! Not that I have much to add, but both sides had valid points. I eagerly await the continuation of this discussion.

Posted: Dec 9, 2012 12:34pm
I too was bothered by the "sine wave" description. I got that the "Y" axis was attention span, but although there is a natural rhythm to performances, it doesn't necessarily follow a continuous sine wave, which I suppose why Etienne tried to describe it as a complex waveform of multiple sine waves. Mr Schneider's definition of constant wavelength of a sine wave is of course correct, which is why I sort of followed both sides, still not exactly sure how to put it into words. It is definitely a complex waveform, and there may be an underlying low frequency wave that defines the basic rhythm of the performance, but it isn't a constant wave. Instead, it takes frequent breaks (possibly another defined rhythm I don't yet understand) and then resumes its original pattern. These breaks would relate to Al's "catch up" phases and without them the spectator's eyes would likely just glaze over and they'd lose track of the emotional aspect and consequently, not enjoy the magical experience we're trying to construct for them.

I'm not a multi-tasker by any means, so I'm only concerning myself at the moment with the low frequency wave of the overall performance. I await Etienne's elaboration on the other waveforms, hoping to better follow how he incorporates those into the overall "equation."
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Lawrence O
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I may add (about the ability to do two things at the same time) that since Ramsay we are aware of the "if you want them to look at something look at it, and if you want them to look at you, look at them". Doesn't this means that we can make a gesture AND look at them or at the action (two things at the same time). Doesn't our hand opens as our forearm extends and our chest leans forward.... (several actions). So how do the Stanford Study delineate actions? Don't they do as we do in magic: twist the premises to positively prove their prejudice (an inductive process rather than a deductive one)?
Magic is the art of proving impossible things in parallel dimensions that can't be reached
Dave V
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Oh, we can definitely do two things at the same time, but the audience only really focuses their attention (high Y)on the one act perceived to be more important at that moment, and subconsciously (low Y) processes the other act.

I explained it once to someone with the example of picking up a number of pennies, (not in the context of a trick, but just cleaning off your table.) Once you take one and place it in your hand, your eye look to the next coin you're about to pick up, as the less important act of emptying your right hand in preparation of reaching for the next coin isn't really important.

I.e. you never really follow the one coin with your eyes all the way to your left hand. You don't need to. It's not that important. What is important is looking for the next coin you're about to pick up.

In my avatar, you can see me looking at the ball in the air. That's the important thing at that moment

Compare it to this photo of the moment of the ball transfer and you'll see what I mean.

Image
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Lawrence O
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... and since you touched at the concept of "infinite", don't religions try to deal with our perception of two or three infinites (our finite nature couldn't actually encompass infinites. The infinite of time (no initial nor known final point: time itself is an arguable notion), the space (only its relation to time, since Einstein, is measurable, but not the infinite itself), and more than anything the infinite organization of the Universe (scientists "discover" -lift the cover from over something pre-existing- or "invent" -from the latin "in venire" to come into-). We may be originally assembling things or concepts but we don't "create".
Does the fact that nature hates vacuum means that vacuum doesn't exist? What is the scientific definition of vacuum? Could such a definition be argued upon taking into consideration the recent discovery not of the the Higgs Boson — not yet, anyway — but revealed a never before- "discovered" particle comprised of three quarks? Quarks, as you know, form a group of six particles that differ in their masses and charges. The two lightest quarks, the so-called "up" and "down" quarks, form the two atomic components, protons and neutrons. All baryons that are composed of the three lightest quarks ("up," "down" and "strange" quarks) are known. Only very few baryons with heavy quarks have been observed to date. Since the Boson have not been observed yet but are conceptually accepted to get through every form of known matter, does it means that vacuum doesn't exist? Does matter exist if, according to one hypothesis of quantum pysics, if we could cut and observe it ad infinitum, we would end uup not with smaller particles but force fields or quantum loops?
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Dave V
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Okay, you just lost me...
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Lawrence O
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Quote:
On 2012-12-09 13:16, Dave V wrote:
Oh, we can definitely do two things at the same time, but the audience only really focuses their attention (high Y)on the one act perceived to be more important at that moment, and subconsciously (low Y) processes the other act.

I explained it once to someone with the example of picking up a number of pennies, (not in the context of a trick, but just cleaning off your table.) Once you take one and place it in your hand, your eye look to the next coin you're about to pick up, as the less important act of emptying your right hand in preparation of reaching for the next coin isn't really important.

I.e. you never really follow the one coin with your eyes all the way to your left hand. You don't need to. It's not that important. What is important is looking for the next coin you're about to pick up.

In my avatar, you can see me looking at the ball in the air. That's the important thing at that moment

Compare it to this photo of the moment of the ball transfer and you'll see what I mean.

Image



What you describe is exactly what Ascanio modelled as In Transit Actions
Magic is the art of proving impossible things in parallel dimensions that can't be reached
Lawrence O
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Quote:
On 2012-12-09 13:19, Dave V wrote:
Okay, you just lost me...

If you refuse to get scared by the unusual scientific jargon, you can understand it.
What it says is that it's not because we can't observe something that it doesn't exist (quantic loops, vacuum) and it's not because we "perceive" things (matter in my example) that they exist.

Just read it again without fear of not knowing enough.

Now it doesn't mean that I'm right in my discusssion with Al. It just presents interrogations to him who has explored things in a slightly different way and attempts to get one step further in our understanding of what makes magic good or bad... Since we look at concepts from two different angles we need to synthetize our perception and our analysis that converge. Such analysis may sound exceedingly deep (to remain nuanced: heaven or hell is in the details), but the aim or focal point remains the same: are there practical rules about HOW to make great magic a shade better.

Posted: Dec 9, 2012 1:56pm
@ Dave V

In your avatar, definitely, what's important on the surface is the small ball that you show. Now isn't communication even more important (in art) than the object (and the pause that Al was rightfully suggesting for the important steps to sink in)? So should you look at the small ball or just glance at it, and freezing your hand in its position, look up at the audience to get confirmation that they noticed what you want them to notice?

Now on Ascanio's In Transit Actions, you are unarguably right: as Slydini used to explain, the larger move covers the smaller one

Similarly with your coins from the table: yes the eyes don't follow the one coin all the way to our left hand. We don't need to. It's not that important. What is important in magic is glancing for the next coin we're about to pick up before looking at the audience.

Ramsay's rules were, IMHO, incomplete: "looking at the audience", in magic, "is the eyes rest position" (and a gentle peronalized smile -in Al Schneider's style- doesn't hurt)
Magic is the art of proving impossible things in parallel dimensions that can't be reached
Dave V
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What my avatar doesn't show is the whole picture. My wife did a great job of freezing that moment in time, but that was the second half of that "phrase" starting with (taking lessons learned from Gazzo's videos) tipping the ball into my left hand, tossing it lightly and freezing to show it to the left side of the audience, then tossing it into my right to freeze once again to show it to the right side of the audience(snap photo), then (noticing that I need to pick up the wand, conveniently placed on the right side of the table) or another ball, I naturally needed to empty my hand so I could reach for the ball or wand to continue the routine. It wasn't a "transfer" in the mind of the audience, it was simply necessary to do so.

The transfer could flash like crazy(I didn't), but nobody would notice anyway as they were directed to the next thing I was looking to do.
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leaycraft
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I am truly enjoying this thread- at the moment the project on hand is to refinish and prepare my version of Master Paynes. Schrodengers Bottles. As a teacher this thread interests me greatly especially as I tech Biology and Chemistry to the learning impaired. If yu have not seen Master Paynes bottles and you understand Quantum theory, I suspect like me yo will see wonderful possibilities to use magic to teach concepts that are challenging. I will next be looking at ways of introducing string theory as well.

Concept gives rise to explanation of concept which in turn forces one to consider the "rules" that regulate the explanation. Perception may negate reality, but reality is perception. We try to control what is perceived in a reality we can control and manipulate. This assures that the audience experiences a chosen reality (ours) created by their perception of the event. Heisenberg's paradox and Schrodinger's cat paradigm work for more than multiplying bottles.
"It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." A. Conan Doyle," The Sign of Four"
Al Schneider
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I am truly amazed that when something is not understood, everyone can tell you what it is all about. A statement in all books (except one) will say that understanding quantum mechanics is impossible. Yet, everyone seems to know what it means. Especially religious people that rely on pure faith to understand the world and despise science yet use it to prove what they have faith in.

One of Lawrence O's previous posts is about quantum mechanics, a subject near and dear to my heart. I began studying it when I was eleven years old. I acquired a B. S. in Physics degree from Wayne State University in 1969. The ‘S’ in that title is due to the fact my studies in physics included quantum mechanics. If that were not so, the ‘S’ would be an ‘A’ meaning art. I have studied quantum physics all of my life. In 2002 using my knowledge of Theoretical Mechanics and knowledge of software; created a mathematical universe that supported Einstein Mechanics of Special Relativity. That opened a door that explained the structure of the universe and what quantum mechanics is. This has been recorded in a book titled, New Age Quantum Physics available on amazon dot com. The book meticulously begins with early recorded history (roughly 15 BC) and plots the development of quantum mechanics concepts up to the present day. The primary tenants of quantum mechanics were established by Greek philosophers. The experiments used to develop quantum mechanics over the years are presented so the reader can interpret the results for themselves. Unfortunately, results of many experiments have been interpreted for us that we use for later thinking leading many to wrong conclusions. My book attempts to set these conclusions straight. Halfway thought he book, different conclusions of the experiments are presented and the meaning of quantum mechanics is clearly defined. The results are staggering. The book is intended for people with a tenth grade level of mathematics capability.

And by the by, I have a friend, a magician, that is a top physicist working with super colliders searching for the Higgs Boson. I asked him if it had been found. He replied that they may have found it. He says they have found something but are not sure. He claims that a couple years of analysis are required to see if the properties of what they found match what the Higgs Boson need to be. You might find it interesting to know that if the Higgs Boson is not found the entire understanding of what physics is today will crumble. Quarks, charm, spin, up , down and all of it will fall to the wayside. This is a comment made by Dr. Michio Kaku, a leading theoretical physicist.

OK, that is the sales pitch. To this point in this discussion I have been attempting to play the game from Lawrence O's perspective. In each discussion, many points are made that are difficult to respond to. He presents so many, it is overwhelming. I attempted to do this in turn, but the message did not get through but generated a bigger shower of details. It began with a comment of something I said that I do not believe I said. Now, I would like to attempt to simplify the approach by asking a single question. At the end of a routine, just before the climax is presented; what is the spectator thinking of? Here are some possible answers.

Nothing
Something just disappeared and I wonder where it went.
I saw him roll a small ball under a cup.
He just made a ball appear under a cup.

Now, I would hope you could add to this list. If we do this enough, we can start categorizing the answers and generalize what might be on the spectator’s mind at this point.

As I think of it, here are some generalizations.

The spectator thinks nothing.
The spectator is so shocked by something he just saw; he is not watching the show.
The spectator is looking around everywhere because he just saw a flurry of magic events and wonders where the next will come from.
The spectator’s attention is focused on a specific point because he expects something specific to happen.

I maintain that if you generate such a list, your style of doing magic will change drastically. When you have data that indicates what is in the mind of the spectator, and see what is actually going on, the knowledge will motivate a confident known direction.

Here is the motivation in the LA Street Cups routine. During the routine the cups have been demonstrated to be empty other than the small balls being used. At the end of the routine the small balls are placed on the bottoms of the mouth down cups. The first ball is caused to disappear and appears under the first cup. This happens with the second cup. The third ball is caused to disappear but when the third cup is lifted, there is a large ball.

The philosophy is this. During the main part of the routine, events occurred in threes. At the end of the routine the balls disappear and appear under the cups one at a time. Due to these events, the spectators will watch the third cup like a dog on a squirrel. In their mind they believe there is already a small ball under the cup. In fact, I will hear murmurs from the audience, “There’s a ball under that cup.” I believe that in the mind’s of the audience there is an image of a small ball under the third cup. As the cup is raised, I believe they put an image of a small ball there. However, it is very big.

The point is this. Due to the preceding action, the audience attention is at its highest on a single point on the table and the audience has a preconceived idea of what is about to happen. When that cup is lifted, the small ball in their mind suddenly explodes to a large ball.

A similar thing is done in the Oriental Bowl routine. Near the end of the routine red balls are rolled under three bowls. The bowls are lifted to show green balls. Next the green balls are held in a closed fist. A magic gesture is made from the hand to the three mouth, down bowls. The hand is then shown empty. What is the audience to expect? Perhaps the green balls may appear under the bowls. Maybe they will appear red when the bowls are lifted. Then, each is lifed and each bursts overflowing with a number of red, yellow and green silks.

The point here is that the spectators are focused intently on those bowls during this series of events and what they hold in their mind is abruptly altered.

I must point out that magician's will not observe this phenomena. Magicians will say, "He produced a big ball at the end." or "He just produced a bunch of silks." Magicians will not see the imagne in the layman's mind of a ball exploding into something else.

And now, after all of this is said, I feel as if I violated my own process. I have presented a plethora of details. So, let me suggest this.

Make a list of why a unique climax is needed?

Then:

Make a list of where you got the idea a unique climax is needed.

By unique, I mean something that is bigger, different, or louder that deviates from the path established by a given routine.

If several people did such a thing and posted them here, this would be a truly valuable thread.

My assumption is that several of you will come up with observations that are worth pursuing rather than listening to mind babble of some wizards of smart.

Al Schneider
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
Lawrence O
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It's because I knew that Al is very knowledgeable in quantum mechanics (more than me, even if I may not be totally ignorant about where it stands having exchanged approaches to magic with Georges Charpak against candles in the dark of quantum physics), that I chose to take my examples in the field. My idea was to try and convince Al of the binary aspect of human attention and of the consequences of this in delivering a strong climax. That's the only reason why I tried to take examples in a scientific domain he knows well.

Considering somebody who has a slightly diverging aproach without exploring it, isn't very scientific however. Now is it interesting to resort to dismay and switch to name calling rather than presenting why, supplying evidences, one has doubts as to the importance of rhythm to the building up of climaxes, or counter arguments about the binary nature of the rhythm of awareness and perception.

So, to remain topical, let's make a list of why a unique climax is needed? What does "unique" mean (the bottom of all three cups could be pulled back at once as recommended by Dai Vernon); would the appartion of three large balls at once be considered as a unique climax?

"In their mind they believe there is already a small ball under the cup. In fact, I will hear murmurs from the audience, “There’s a ball under that cup.” I believe that in the mind’s of the audience there is an image of a small ball under the third cup. As the cup is raised, I believe they put an image of a small ball... in their mind suddenly explodes to a large ball"

Do spectators imagine that the small ball suspected to be there "explodes" to a large ball... I doubt it. I can accept the intensity of the surprise but "exploding" isn't something that I think gets to the audience perception as fast as in the performer's imagination.

Where do we get the idea that a unique climax is needed?

A unique climax is needed to indicate without doubt to the audience that the routine is over.

Also spectators wouldn't like to have been fooled repeatedly without something special and surprising that is so impossible that they shouldn't feel gullible or inferior for having been fooled.

A unique climax is needed because, for entertainment purposes, the dramatic structure calls for "going higher and higher until the final blast"

A unique climax is needed because people don't want to have been taken for a ride by watching cheap stuff.

A unique climax is needed because an increased interrupted crescendo leaves the audience wanting more

A unique climax is needed for it's a reputation builder for the performer and a potential for other gigs or more profitable ones

A unique climax is needed because magical performers never found any reason not to follow the dramatic structure of every other art (litterature, film, computer games, finals in sports, sexual intercourse...)

Would the word "climax" exist if there was no need for it?

"latest mind babble of a wizard of smart" Smile
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Al Schneider
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Well.
Thank you for telling me that.
Al Schneider
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motown
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This is one of the more interesting threads I've read on the Café in a long long time. Al, always great to hear your thoughts on magic.
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FatHatter
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My need for a unique climax involves hatting a group of people.
I need something that WoWs them and also lets them know that the show is over, I have done well, and deserve reciprocation.


I got this idea from watching other performers.
magicalaurie
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I'm not sure there's great disagreement here. Seems to me a matter of interpretation and articulation, largely.
Through line, continuity, integrity, interest. ?
"Every thought you think, word you speak, and action you take proceeds from either love or fear. Peace and upset, innocence and guilt, healing and illness all spring from that one fundamental choice." Alan Cohen
pabloinus
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I read this as 2 big egos showing off and from time to time a little interesting point about magic, I will read some other posts, this discussion bored me to death.
This is just my simple opinion with no degree on quantum, phisycs, calculus, super colliders, personality test, Einstein, Jung and others.
Artie Fufkin
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Finally, somebody has the "cups and balls" to speak the truth.
magicalaurie
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Well I supposed there was some (?) of that in it, too, but I do my best to give the benefit of the doubt, you see.
"Every thought you think, word you speak, and action you take proceeds from either love or fear. Peace and upset, innocence and guilt, healing and illness all spring from that one fundamental choice." Alan Cohen
Zombie Magic
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I dropped out of High School and I LOVED Al and Etienne's discussion and it got me looking up much of what they were talking about. Thank you Gentlemen!!!
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