We Remember The Magic Café We Remember
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Acknowledging it's all a trick (48 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page [Previous]  1~2~3~4~5~6 [Next]
Alan Wheeler
View Profile
Inner circle
Posting since 2002 with
2038 Posts

Profile of Alan Wheeler
Magic is the experience of an impossible illusion through artistically applied psychology.
Mentalism is the experience of a possibly real phenomenon.

Something between the two may allow for premise and presentation other than spiritual ("Crossing Over") or scientific ("Trick of the Mind"): culture, art, stories, imagination, symbolism, metaphor, archetypes...
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
A BLENDED PATH
Christian Reflections on Tarot
Word Crimes
Technology and Faith........Bad Religion
IAIN
View Profile
Eternal Order
england
18816 Posts

Profile of IAIN
Looking through all my old mentalism books, pretty much all advocate using readings as well as mentalism, both individually and together...so it seems that annemann, corinda, alexander and many, many others advocate that...

They are both used to create an authentic experience...
I've asked to be banned
Dr Spektor
View Profile
Eternal Order
Carcosa
10599 Posts

Profile of Dr Spektor
Stéphane Mallarmé
“To define is to kill. To suggest is to create.”
"They are lean and athirst!!!!"
IAIN
View Profile
Eternal Order
england
18816 Posts

Profile of IAIN
Theres a small clip on black box cinema, bob cassidy's dvd..of a PEA lecture where he says "I get a lot of my gigs from close up or one on one performances"

I think it can be done badly and it can be done well, just like everything else...
I've asked to be banned
Alan Wheeler
View Profile
Inner circle
Posting since 2002 with
2038 Posts

Profile of Alan Wheeler
New electric old folk...

The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
A BLENDED PATH
Christian Reflections on Tarot
Word Crimes
Technology and Faith........Bad Religion
Ben Blau
View Profile
Inner circle
1477 Posts

Profile of Ben Blau
"Magic," as you may know, is based on illusion. There are many kinds of illusions. For example, we all know that there are optical illusions, but very few people know that auditory illusions exist as well. Somasthetic illusions can occur under certain circumstances, as in the "phantom limb" phenomenon.

Magicians tend to produce visual illusions through the use of sleight of hand, or the use of physical apparatus that is not what it appears to be.

I am a practitioner of mentalism. Like the magician, I specialize in illusion. However, the illusions I create are COGNITIVE illusions. They are INTELLECTUAL illusions. The apparent miracles I perform are rarely exactly what they appear to be, but I strive to challenge and deceive your intellect through manipulation of INFORMATION, and an understanding of the human mind that is unique to practitioners of this art form.

The skills we employ to create these illusions are highly specialized, and not widely known (not even by magicians, or even psychologists).

When I do my job correctly, hopefully these cognitive illusions point beyond themselves to the greater mystery of life, the universe, existence, and what it means to be human.
Alan Wheeler
View Profile
Inner circle
Posting since 2002 with
2038 Posts

Profile of Alan Wheeler
Nicely stated, Ben Blau! I am so glad to see this description in the mix!

Consider the following responses to finding money:

1. "I'm lucky" as a cultural response: Money superstitions from 13 countries
2. "This coincidence may have meaning" as synchronicity: Carl Jung
3. "This is a sign to trust in God" as a religious impulse: Divine Providence
4. "This moment has the meaning I choose to give it" as a philosophical approach: Existentialism
...and so on...

In life, people experience phenomenon and write the script and subtext themselves.
In performance, an artist provides the frame...
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
A BLENDED PATH
Christian Reflections on Tarot
Word Crimes
Technology and Faith........Bad Religion
David Thiel
View Profile
Inner circle
Western Canada...where all that oil is
3927 Posts

Profile of David Thiel
The knee jerk reaction to talk like this is to say 'avoid labels' and just do the show.

But in this case labels define precisely what you call what you do. For that reason, labels are critical because they define how we see what we are about as performers..and the show we are going to present. They also set the mindset of the audience. With a magician anything could happen...but the audience knows it's all tricks. Seeing a mind reader has the potential to be something entirely different.

Strangeness ensues when the two labels don't fit. Consider going to see a "mentalist" who does dove productions, coin matrixes, breakaway wands and zig zag illusions. Does the performance fit the label? Nope. It is ridiculous even to try to make it work, right? By this I mean that a performer calling this act "mentalism" doesn't change the fact that he's doing a magic show. (Calling a dog a duck does not make the dog able to fly south, right?)

I exaggerate for effect, of course. But take the example just a few steps further. Let's say that the "mentalist" claims that it is the power of his mind that causes doves to appear inside his clothes...the coins transport themselves through the air in obedience to his will...that he smashes the wand with a blast of mental energy -- and that, after having been bitten by a radioactive mentalist, he has acquired the power to chop women into three pieces and (wait for it) restore them to LIFE!

Still silly, right? The only person fooled by this scenario is the magician...who, in the act of fooling himself, is subjecting his audience to a load of crap onstage and committing the ultimately unfair deception by calling what he's doing something it's not.

Again: an exaggeration -- but an example of how someone who doesn't understand mentalism is going to make a mess of presenting it...in the same way a biologist would make a mess of presenting advanced physics. The arts of magic and mentalism are only distantly related disciplines in that they both present aspects of the mystery arts.

ALL of which leads us back to the basic question: why most mentalists would rather have the hair ripped out of their legs one hair at a time than tell the audience it's "all a trick." Doing so would suck the tantalizing mystery out of the whole performance and transform it (note I did NOT say 'reduce it) into a magic show.

That's why it would be absolute folly for a mind reader to say "you know the mentalism I just showed you? It's all tricks." That would be like Copperfield saying "Okay...now that you've see me vanish the Statue of Liberty, here's how I did it..."

Mystique is critical in ALL of the mystery arts. It's just the KINDS of mystiques that differ. And understanding WHY they differ, glaring obvious to the mentalist, seems to confuse most other people.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


www.MindGemsBrainTrust.com
www.magicpendulums.com
www.MidnightMagicAndMentalism.com
thatmichaelguy
View Profile
New user
65 Posts

Profile of thatmichaelguy
I constantly go round and round on this with myself. And I think a lot of it has to do with what experience you want to give to your audience.

There is the route of claiming psychic powers/psychological prowess. This has no real explanatory power because we know that's not how the effect was actually accomplished (and that, as far as we are aware those sorts of powers don't exist and/or can't be harnessed in the way we claim,) but it provides tons of explanatory power for an audience member. It's a very surface level explanation that appeals to a deeper mystery, but it stops at the surface. Went to see a mind reader, and he read some minds. End of story.

You could, of course, say nothing and let the audience draw their own conclusions. Many esteemed professionals suggest this route. Now there's a mystery with no easy explanation. Is it real? Is it not? Were some parts trickery and other parts genuine? How do you know? And how do you tell the difference? The savvy in the audience will understand that they've been duped. The believers will believe. There will be those who can't decide. But that leaves the audience mostly contemplating whether what they saw has an explanation or not. They are stuck at a doorway between explicability and inexplicability. For those who see it as genuine psychic/psychological phenomena, they are stuck on this side of the door. They ultimately belong in the first group who, though unaware that their explanation is false, have an explanation and move on. Then there are those who are stuck at the threshold, unable to quiet themselves with an explanation one way or the other. But how can one even begin to contemplate any mystery of deception when one isn't even sure if they've even been deceived? This distills to a binary mystery for most of the audience. Was it real? Was it not? For many performers this mystery is the soul of mentalism. However, there are at least some in the audience who know they've been fooled and can see through to the door to the other side. On that side is the understanding that you've been fooled and that you've got zero explanatory power for that. On that side lies wonder.

And you can open the door for them by either by announcing before that you're going to spend your time together fooling them or telling them after that the entire experience has been a deception. In doing so you take away the mystery of whether any of it is real, but you replace that with a mystery so much deeper. You replace it with an experience that seemed real - that possibly could have been real if you hadn't said otherwise - that can't be explained away (unless you know the methods.) "He has psychic powers" is not a real explanation, but it satisfies the need for one when the alternative is incomprehensibly mysterious. To tell the audience that you fooled them, that it was all a trick, doesn't offer even that surface level explanation. It immediately plunges them into the contemplation of how that could possibly be. It forces those who would be stuck at the threshold considering a heads or tails, up or down mystery to engage in something much deeper.

Some will say that wonder is the realm of magic and magicians and that mentalists exist to present the binary mystery of what's real versus not real. I think this is where a choice has to be made as a performer. And the choice isn't how you're going to label yourself or your performance. You have to decide what sort of experience you want your audience to have.
Alan Wheeler
View Profile
Inner circle
Posting since 2002 with
2038 Posts

Profile of Alan Wheeler
Whit Haydn paints a spectrum with theater/suspension of disbelief/claim to fiction on one end and charlatanry/belief/claim to reality on the other end.

Magic is in the middle with what Teller calls the "unwilling suspension of disbelief" giving evidence that the effects have "really" happened.

The mentalist is somewhere between the magiciaan and the charlatan, giving evidence of the effect like the magician--yet often not making a direct claim of reality or at least performing the phenomenon in the context of a show, giving something of a theatrical frame. It seems to me performers should choose where they appear on the spectrum, rather than letting the audience write the script as people do for phenomenon in real life. For example, in Artful Mentalism 2, Bob Cassidy mentions using subtle, comedic disclaimers--not directly stated--to take the edge of charlatanry off the performance.
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
A BLENDED PATH
Christian Reflections on Tarot
Word Crimes
Technology and Faith........Bad Religion
The Hermit
View Profile
Loyal user
300 Posts

Profile of The Hermit
There has been so much mental !@#$%^&*()_+ on this subject here and elsewhere it's gotten ridiculous. If you are a mentalist or a magician for that matter you are a mystery performer. The whole act must have an air of mystery. How you create that doesn't really matter. Once you explain a mystery or analogize it, it is no longer a mystery and no longer worth paying for.

You trash Uri Gellar. He made fame and fortune and always played it as real. What was wrong with that? He kept the mystery going for years. People went to see him because there was a dichotomy in their mind - he does miraculous things, no one can really do these things, how does he do it for real?, It's not real, but I don't know how it works, maybe it is real, it can't be. That is the basis for the mystery.

Once you take that away you are not a mystery performer or mentalist anymore. You're a hack pretending to do things. Who wants to pay for that?

If people don't think what I do could be real, they won't pay for it. Deceiving them is part of the bargain. Why disappoint them?
Alan M
View Profile
Elite user
California
420 Posts

Profile of Alan M
Quote:
On Oct 6, 2016, The Hermit wrote:
You trash Uri Gellar. He made fame and fortune and always played it as real. What was wrong with that?


I don't think Uri was trashed for playing it for real as a performer. I think it came from playing it for real outside of that context. Such as taking money to find oil or a lost plane. Stuff like that does invite more criticism than bending a spoon. Just sayin'.

-Alan
Alan Wheeler
View Profile
Inner circle
Posting since 2002 with
2038 Posts

Profile of Alan Wheeler
...................................Ghost Story.......................Spirit Theater......................Ghost Hoax
...................................Urban Legend.....................Mentalism Show...............Psychic Advisor
Harry Potter.....Magic Show...........................................................................Voodoo Priest

In the old days, magic was probably more believable and was closer to the Spirit Theater or Mentalism of today.
Magic has lost the mystic and supernatural tone, except maybe in some of Blaine and Angel's presentations.
The mixing of elements of proof and reality and believability make the mystery arts distinctive...
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
A BLENDED PATH
Christian Reflections on Tarot
Word Crimes
Technology and Faith........Bad Religion
Alan Wheeler
View Profile
Inner circle
Posting since 2002 with
2038 Posts

Profile of Alan Wheeler
Magic, mentalism, and the stuff on the far right of the spectrum are the mystery arts. They are distinctive from theater and fiction because there is some claim to reality. Magic and mental magic are the strangest hybrids between claims to fiction and fact because evidence is expected at the same time as fantasy. The difference between the items in the spectrum in my previous post is the levels of the claim made by the presenter. Theater and fiction have a claim to illusion, depending on the verisimilitude required by the genre. The reason old science fiction seems cheesy is that the expectations have change for special effects, for example. These basics are pretty much found in Whit Haydn's theories and years of discussion in the Food For Thought forum here at the Magic Café.

Another way of looking at the presentational options is that what is "art" or created items at one end of the spectrum become real phenomenon at the other end of the spectrum: the storybook magic acted out becomes theater>>>which presented with evidence becomes a magic show/or tied to history becomes legend>>>>which made believable becomes mentalism>>>>unattached from theater becomes real phenomenon.

Hypnotism plays as a real phenomenon, though I have no idea whether the participants experience what the audience thinks they do. Readings can be considered a real phenomenon (apart from the theatrics of spiritualism or science) in that the cards make patterns which can be actually be interpreted by a reader and really be applied by a sitter. As a kind of physical version of these "mental" effects, the rice jar effect (a favorite of Barrie Richardson) is a real physical phenomenon that plays as a mystery art because it's counter-intuitive.
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
A BLENDED PATH
Christian Reflections on Tarot
Word Crimes
Technology and Faith........Bad Religion
Waters.
View Profile
Special user
689 Posts

Profile of Waters.
If your subtext is "perceptual manipulation" then you get to have your cake and eat it too. Having a shocking knowledge of how we perceive things and how to bend that perception is both truthful and incredibly intriguing. While you are not making claims, the innocent outer layer holds in tension the menacing idea that someone has such a command of a hidden knowledge. You get to be fun and nice, but the honestly creates another layer, with which, they must contend. I like being fun (and a bit disconcerting).
Check out my (soon to be released) ebook, WANDERER at..
www.experience-architecture.com
Adeofspades
View Profile
New user
51 Posts

Profile of Adeofspades
Quote:
On Oct 6, 2016, The Hermit wrote:
There has been so much mental !@#$%^&*()_+ on this subject here and elsewhere it's gotten ridiculous. If you are a mentalist or a magician for that matter you are a mystery performer. The whole act must have an air of mystery. How you create that doesn't really matter. Once you explain a mystery or analogize it, it is no longer a mystery and no longer worth paying for.

You trash Uri Gellar. He made fame and fortune and always played it as real. What was wrong with that? He kept the mystery going for years. People went to see him because there was a dichotomy in their mind - he does miraculous things, no one can really do these things, how does he do it for real?, It's not real, but I don't know how it works, maybe it is real, it can't be. That is the basis for the mystery.

Once you take that away you are not a mystery performer or mentalist anymore. You're a hack pretending to do things. Who wants to pay for that?

If people don't think what I do could be real, they won't pay for it. Deceiving them is part of the bargain. Why disappoint them?


I agree Hermit, you must keep an air of mystery. If not, what are you getting paid for?
Martin Pulman
View Profile
Inner circle
London
3403 Posts

Profile of Martin Pulman
There's a difference between keeping an air of mystery and explicitly claiming you have psychic powers or have been gifted powers by aliens. As soon as Geller did that he was fair game for those wishing to expose him.
Still love the guy though. One of the great performers.
bdekolta
View Profile
Inner circle
Texas
1636 Posts

Profile of bdekolta
If what you do is not real then you have the issue. If the majority of what you do is real the situation does not exist. My personal performances are 99% legit. The rest of the show I cover with presentation.

I never use a disclaimer, reference the above, and I believe that the vast majority of mentalists do not need to either since their audiences will never believe they are real in the first place.
ctom
View Profile
New user
8 Posts

Profile of ctom
Curtis Kam has an interesting perspective on it, in which he likens it to keyfabe in professional wrestling. You can hear the talk here : https://www.themagicwordpodcast.com/scot......rtis-kam
Alan Wheeler
View Profile
Inner circle
Posting since 2002 with
2038 Posts

Profile of Alan Wheeler
Even if not admitting trickery, maybe it's good to acknowledge the effects are for entertainment, just like fortune cookies or professional wrestling--the reason being that the methods of the mystery arts can be and indeed are used for nefarious purposes.

When the performance is a show, the context may be assumed.

When doing telepathy or readings off stage (in bars, classrooms, streets, homes), the context of art or fun may need to be made clear.
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
A BLENDED PATH
Christian Reflections on Tarot
Word Crimes
Technology and Faith........Bad Religion
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Acknowledging it's all a trick (48 Likes)
 Go to page [Previous]  1~2~3~4~5~6 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2021 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.32 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