The Magic Caf
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Altering the physical world (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
A l a i n B e ll o n
View Profile
Veteran user
301 Posts

Profile of A l a i n B e ll o n
In a thread about stopping watches, Mysticz offered an interesting view of the watch stopping effect. He said that it was a negative construct. Which is true. He also mentioned that there is no use for a broken watch. These good points led me to think about this particular effect.

Having performed the effect and having seen others perform it, I know that it works and can be greatly astonishing and memorable.

But why does it work?

Watches and clocks are the very image of reliablility, of something we can count on. We never see people wearing non-working watches, they are always ticking. As soon as one stops it is discarded and replaced. So a watch is almost synonymous with "operational".
Furthermore, besides the physical/mechanical forces, a watch is tied in with another very powerful constant of the universe we live in: Time. Something that is unstoppable and irreversible.

Now, the very presentation of a PK phenomenon where we stop a watch is, then, subconsciously powerful. We are not only demonstrating a paranormal phenomenon but we are, without saying a word, making a statement about our ability to alter a universal constant. To alter and stop something as reliable as a watch is an incredibly strong image. An image that is implicitly symbolic of an even more powerful concept: stopping time.

Now please don't go out an perform this effect and spell out this symbolism to the participant. It will lose its power and make the magic subservient to the metaphor.

Let it simmer under the surface of consciousness by saying NO word about it.

-Alain Bellon
Fred Darevil
View Profile
Elite user
446 Posts

Profile of Fred Darevil
Hello,

I do agree with you Alain but the problem with metaphor is that it works only if it is carefully constructed.
A visual effect isn't enough by itself in all contexts. That's why a woman in charge of the local French culture department said me a few months ago: "magic is a trivial entertainment !". The metaphor of magic wasn't apparent for her... She was a victim of her internal preconceptions about magic. And to fissure these preconceptions, words are often irreplaceable.
I like very much magic effects which create a special powerful moment if silence: before, during and after.
Often, words can reinforce a metaphor or simply offer something else like this presentation I offered in the previous topic :

"Sometimes I'd like to be able to stop time because of a true moment of happiness I'd like to feel forever. And I achieve to hallucinate my desire, my watch stop, time is frozen ! But very soon I realize that if I stop time I prevent myself from experiencing many new others moments of different hapiness in the future. I understand then that letting time passing is part of the life and its mistery, so I accept to wait and see how I can be surprised, tomorrow, by a new moment of happiness !.."

Just an example. Obviously both presentations can be effective. But I think that the interpretation slightly differs.
Fred Darevil
A l a i n B e ll o n
View Profile
Veteran user
301 Posts

Profile of A l a i n B e ll o n
That's why a woman in charge of the local French culture department said me a few months ago: "magic is a trivial entertainment !".


Hi Fred,

You found a tough customer in that woman. I would think though, that she was talking about tricks and not about phenomena perceived as real magic (paranormal or psychological depending on your inclinations).

The problem with using an explicit metaphor is that it makes the premise of the words and the premise of the effect different. And that is a discrepancy that just weakens the magic.

If I may, seeing that you posted it, let me use your presentation as an example:

The premise of the effect is clearly mind over matter. The stopping of the watch is just a demonstration of how your mind can afect the physical mechanism of the working watch.

The premise of the presentation is stopping time. You talk about stopping time for a moment of true happiness, etc.

So how is the audience supposed to interpret this event? Did the watch stop because it was sympathetic to your words about stopping time? Did time really stop? Or was it that you stopped the watch as a metaphor of your words, and illustration of the poetry?

I think the message sent is confusing and most likely interpreted in the way of the magic being just an illustration of the spoken word.

So not only do we have disparity of premise but we find the magical phenomenon happening as a mere illustration. It takes second place to something "more profound". In this case, the account of your desire to stop time.

The magic is taken away from the spotlight and in our attempt to give it an artificial meaning we create a dissonance of premise.

Please do not take my words offensively. I think your points are excellent. I am merely trying to illustrate a point that I feel is very important but very easy to miss.

Whenever we need to appeal to an explicit metaphor to enahance an effect we must ask if there is any real magic in the effect in the first place.

-Alain Bellon
Jonathan
View Profile
Inner circle
Oklahoma
1223 Posts

Profile of Jonathan
Now what would really be impressive is to give the illusion of time stopping by having EVERYONE'S watch stop in an audience or in a small group. It sounds impossible but I like to never say never.

I agree with Alain on the confusion there. To convince spectators that they are experiencing actual power is the most impacting thing you can do. It will have more meaning than just about anything you can do.

Jonathan Grant
Greg Arce
View Profile
Inner circle
6641 Posts

Profile of Greg Arce
I agree with both points of view... magic is both trivial and can be a deeper experience... it all depends on who is witnessing it and how their mind works. Think about magic... really think... if you could do all these things for real would you stop watches, bend forks, read trivial thoughts in someone's mind, change hankerchiefs colors, produce birds... c'mon... even taking a case like Blaine who tries to be supernatural would you do a show that had those effects... c'mon... think about what most real people ask after you do a mentalist effect: Can you predict the future?Like the lotto? A real person thinks that if they had powers they would put them to real use not entertaining. We are entertainers. In the big picture of life magic is trivial... but having said that, it is still fun to do and I love entertaining people. So continue to stop watches, bend spoons, produce doves, etc... it's a short life so stop the worrying and enjoy the ride.
Just my opinion... and I still love all you guys and gals for keeping up the mental gymnastics that take place on this board.
Greg
One of my favorite quotes: "A critic is a legless man who teaches running."
Andy Leviss
View Profile
Inner circle
NYC
1179 Posts

Profile of Andy Leviss
First of all, let me say that I love Fred's idea for the presentation, with one minor change. Put it into the second person--make it about the participant, not about you. Don't say that you'd like to do it, ask them if they haven't wanted that.

Second, in response to Alain's comments:
Quote:
The premise of the presentation is stopping time. You talk about stopping time for a moment of true happiness, etc.

So how is the audience supposed to interpret this event? Did the watch stop because it was sympathetic to your words about stopping time? Did time really stop? Or was it that you stopped the watch as a metaphor of your words, and illustration of the poetry?

I think the message sent is confusing and most likely interpreted in the way of the magic being just an illustration of the spoken word.

So not only do we have disparity of premise but we find the magical phenomenon happening as a mere illustration. It takes second place to something "more profound". In this case, the account of your desire to stop time.


You'd be surprised what an audience gets out of things like this. All I can suggest is to suggest the connection, but not ram the audience over the head with it. Give the lead-in, or even tell it as you're doing the effect, and then let it be seen.

Will some folks just see it as a trick or a cute illustration of the words? Sure. But most of them will make the connection on at least a subconscious level, even more so than if you shoved it down their throats.

If you haven't, I highly recommend getting the full set of Kenton's Wonder Words. While they all build up to this sort of thing, part of the third volume directly addresses this specific concept of subtext and messages. It's a bit of an investment in both time and money, but you'll get more than your money's worth if you invest the time.
Note: I have PMs turned off; if you want to reach me, please e-mail [email]Andy.MagicCafe@DucksEcho.com[/email]!
Fred Darevil
View Profile
Elite user
446 Posts

Profile of Fred Darevil
Thank you Andy.

Alain : I really like your way of thinking. Obviously it is a point of view.

Confusion is about the conscious, inconscious knows what he has to understand from what he hears. This is the way Erickson's hypnotism works : non specific language which lets people to find in the words the meaning suitable for them. In my presentation I use many "nominalisation" : words which mean something different for every one. When you hear it : you have to connect yourself with your experiences of these words to find a meaning. It is part of the Milton Modele : linguistic techniques from Milton Erickson.
best,

Fred

PS: I can only explain 50% of my thoughts. If only I could speak a better english !
mysticz
View Profile
Special user
D.C. metro area
680 Posts

Profile of mysticz
Alain said: "The magic is taken away from the spotlight and in our attempt to give it an artificial meaning we create a dissonance of premise."

I disagree. Fred's script attempts to create a presentation that allows the audience to experience more than a simple trick -- it allows them to feel emotionally connected to his performance. The premise he has created (a personal connection) is a valid reason for stopping the watch in the first place.

Unless you possess the all-consuming charisma of a Svengali, the stripped-down effect of stopping a watch becomes a puzzle (an easily solved puzzle, I might add). Believe me, few people really think you are a superman (a magician's favorite daydream).

Anytime you can touch an audience (either intellectually or emotionally), you create a more complex magical experience that encourages the viewer to suspend their disbelief and enjoy the illusion you have created. That enjoyment is called entertainment, and isn't that the point of all this anyway?

I guess the bottom line is that if you can make the somewhat questionable premise of "I can stop your watch through my magic/mental power" engaging (re: meaningful) to the audience, go for it.
Joe Zabel
"Psychic Sorcery"

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

-- Shakespeare's Hamlet I.v. 174-175
Andy Leviss
View Profile
Inner circle
NYC
1179 Posts

Profile of Andy Leviss
Quote:
On 2002-05-22 05:39, Fred Darevil wrote:
PS: I can only explain 50% of my thoughts. If only I could speak a better english !


You're doing pretty darn well in my opinion; far better than my French, to say the least (not that that's saying much, since my French is pretty much limited to "bonjour", "soup du jour", and "au revoir"!).
Note: I have PMs turned off; if you want to reach me, please e-mail [email]Andy.MagicCafe@DucksEcho.com[/email]!
A l a i n B e ll o n
View Profile
Veteran user
301 Posts

Profile of A l a i n B e ll o n
Mysticz wrote:

"The premise he has created (a personal connection) is a valid reason for stopping the watch in the first place."

So you are saying that if I have a yearning of stopping time, then a watch should stop working? That is awfully sympathetic of that watch Smile

It is a good attempt at creating some personal connection but has the disadvantage I am pointing out.

What about a direct premise approach? Make your audience yearn for the ability to manipulate the physical universe with their minds. That alone, while it is not as poetic, is highly meaningful. And this kind of tiny demonstration is plausible enough ,for most people, to be accepted as reality (if presented correctly). If you can't make it appear real, you are not doing mentalism. (independently of whether you use a psychic or psychological premise)

-Alain Bellon
mysticz
View Profile
Special user
D.C. metro area
680 Posts

Profile of mysticz
No, I'm saying that by creating a pleasing vignette about the universal desire to halt the progression of time, you may have a better chance to engage the audiences' imagination and thereby create a more personal magical moment for them. This would be one viable artistic approach for the interested magician. I see no disadvantage in this approach.

The direct approach you seem to be advocating could be effective if presented by the right performer for a specific audience. However, this kind of direct approach is certainly not necessarily the best or only viable approach, even for a mentalist.

At least in my opinion.

Joe Z.
Joe Zabel
"Psychic Sorcery"

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

-- Shakespeare's Hamlet I.v. 174-175
A l a i n B e ll o n
View Profile
Veteran user
301 Posts

Profile of A l a i n B e ll o n
"By creating a pleasing vignette about the universal desire to halt the progression of time, you may have a better chance to engage the audiences' imagination and thereby create a more personal magical moment for them"

Oh, I agree absolutely.

I am just pointing out that a possible approach to the creation of personal magic has the pitfall of making the magic secondary. I will make my thoughts clearer in a following post.

-Alain Bellon
Philemon Vanderbeck
View Profile
Inner circle
Seattle, WA
4566 Posts

Profile of Philemon Vanderbeck
Quote:
On 2002-05-22 11:43, Alain Bellon wrote:
I am just pointing out that a possible approach to the creation of personal magic has the pitfall of making the magic secondary.


The trick (stopping the watch) becomes secondary.

The introductory patter makes the 'magic' primary.
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
That Creepy Magician
"I use my sixth sense to create the illusion of possessing the other five."
Philemon Vanderbeck
View Profile
Inner circle
Seattle, WA
4566 Posts

Profile of Philemon Vanderbeck
Quote:
On 2002-05-21 19:32, Jonathan wrote:
Now what would really be impressive is to give the illusion of time stopping by having EVERYONE'S watch stop in an audience or in a small group. It sounds impossible but I like to never say never.


You could do it, but the people with pacemakers might have some problems...

:evilgrin:
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
That Creepy Magician
"I use my sixth sense to create the illusion of possessing the other five."
Jonathan
View Profile
Inner circle
Oklahoma
1223 Posts

Profile of Jonathan
First off I think that text is too long and a simple lead-in would be enough so that you start the thought process of the people who really connect with that idea of stopping time and all the idealistic stuff. They would fill in the blanks and continue what you started so you don't have to say it. Those who don't connect just take the little you said with a grain of salt.

I think the key is using presentation, personality, connection, and mood to tap into the internal desire each of them have to be able to have control over the physical world or whatever. If you bring that desire to do whatever it is you claim to do or represent it will have meaning.

And if you present it simply as power and you think it creates a puzzle that is easily solved...realize that if you present it right and create the right mood, connection, etc. the audience should be so sucked into your little "world" that they won't be in that kind of mind to just go out and solve the puzzle. It's the experience that is important to the spectator, not the puzzle. If presented right, even under the guise of simply having power, they will want to keep that experience. They will WANT others to be amazed by the story of the experience so they will exaggerate a little and try to make excuses as to why it WASN'T done with a X if they come across the actual method. And they will also stay away from finding the method because they want that experience. The experience has meaning. This isn't true for EVERY spectator, but in my experience is true for the vast majority. But you have to work on the presentation, persona, connection, mood, etc. There can't be any competition, no arrogance, nothing like that.

About the lottery. David Blaine in his latest special (not the one tonight) went to a person on the street and asked what he wanted to see from him or he could do anything what would he want and he mentioned winning the lottery. So DB took him into a convenience store and gave him the money to purchase any three lottery tickets he wanted. DB also gave him free choice of the three. The man unscratched the ticket and won the grand prize 1600 dollars. DB took him to the lottery building and they accepted his ticket and he got the money. He gave him a hug and drove off.

Just thought that was interesting because of what you said. DB never claims to have powers, he just contradicts himself all the time. "I'm not the devil or a magician, I'm a performer." He'll claim to one person that the levitation is real, and he'll tell another that he uses magic tricks and sleight of hand to amaze people.

Jonathan Grant
A l a i n B e ll o n
View Profile
Veteran user
301 Posts

Profile of A l a i n B e ll o n
Quote:
Philemon wrote:
"The trick (stopping the watch) becomes secondary.
The introductory patter makes the 'magic' primary."


I don't understand what this means.

Is stopping the watch perceived as a trick? If it is, then there is no magic to talk about.

If it is not perceived as a trick, then it is the magic. But you are saying that it is secondary in the first sentence and then that the talk makes it primary in the second sentence.

I am sure you meant something more, care to clarify?

-Alain Bellon
Greg Arce
View Profile
Inner circle
6641 Posts

Profile of Greg Arce
Alain, all I can say is I do the stopped watch and the movement of hands on the watch constantly... and I mix it in while doing standard card tricks... without the benefit of mystical patter I still get the weird reactions on the watch effects. They keep talking about it and showing others their watches. I know many disagree, but I think the effect needs no enhancement... just do it right and don't get caught and you have a minor miracle... sometimes a major one. I had one bartender in the crowd who was a skeptic about everything and wanted to check everything out. He kept trying to figure out the effects and verbally stated his ideas. The minute I stopped his watch he shut up and looked puzzled for the entire evening. He couldn't believe I could do that to his own watch. By the way, I know others have talked about the inherent problems of constantly doing this... including doing damaged to your own credit cards and atm cards... I did this in the past when I had the BAT, RAVEN and the original PKs... no longer... I always use the gimmick made by the same guys that bring out the Loops... it works great and I've never had a problem with my cards ever again.
Greg
One of my favorite quotes: "A critic is a legless man who teaches running."
Philemon Vanderbeck
View Profile
Inner circle
Seattle, WA
4566 Posts

Profile of Philemon Vanderbeck
Quote:
On 2002-05-22 14:45, Alain Bellon wrote:

I don't understand what this means.

Is stopping the watch perceived as a trick? If it is, then there is no magic to talk about.

If it is not perceived as a trick, then it is the magic. But you are saying that it is secondary in the first sentence and then that the talk makes it primary in the second sentence.


The action of stopping the watch is a 'trick'.

When you communicate the reason of why you stopped it - that is the 'magic'.

When you imbue a trick with meaning, it becomes magical.

But don't assume that just because you present a trick, it automatically has meaning. If it only has meaning in your own mind, and no one else perceives that meaning, then there's no magic.
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
That Creepy Magician
"I use my sixth sense to create the illusion of possessing the other five."
A l a i n B e ll o n
View Profile
Veteran user
301 Posts

Profile of A l a i n B e ll o n
Greg, fair enough. I am not in favor nor against mystical talk. I am against performing *tricks*, but I will respect someone who does. I am in favor of performing real magical experiences. But I understand it is not for everyone.

I think what you have experienced with your watch performance might be moments of real magic. You stop being a trickster and for a moment; people may think they saw a real phenomenon. At least that's what you seem to be describing.

-Alain Bellon
A l a i n B e ll o n
View Profile
Veteran user
301 Posts

Profile of A l a i n B e ll o n
Philemon, I think there is a definition problem somewhere in here.

Stopping the watch is an EVENT. That event can be either perceived as a TRICK or as a REAL magical phenomenon (paranormal or whatever you like to frame it as).

A trick is a trick, and a trick is not magic. Period. If one choses to do tricks that's fine. I do not. I never present tricks. I always present magic. And magic has meaning. Tricks may or may not have meaning.

If the phenomenon you present is preceived as real then it is magic, if trickery is even suspected (even if not known what kind of trickery accomplished the effect) then you don't have magic.

I am not concerned with imbuing tricks with meaning, because as I said I don't present my magic as tricks.

I know you come from a story-telling magic perspective, which is nominally Burgerian in origin, and as such you will defend the Burger notions till the end. But I think it is only fair to recognize some problems with that theory, it's errors and short comings.

Also please note that I am not the kind of performer Eugene Burger and story-telling magicians are aginst, on the contrary. If any of my presentations are perceived as puzzles or tricks I have failed.

-Alain Bellon
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Altering the physical world (2 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2022 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.07 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL