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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » I'll probably get my butt kicked for saying this. (35 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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ChrisPayne
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[quote]On Dec 22, 2020, tommy wrote:
Art with a message is propaganda and is the most powerful force on the planet.

Can't let that slip by!

"Propaganda" promotes a political or organisational message, with a particular purpose, it may occasionally be artistic. But art with a message usually communicates a particular individual's "take" or view of the world - a quite different thing. The Harry Houdini quote (and his whole appeal) taps into a deep, primal need in the onlooker. In his case the magic is indeed the message.
Pop Haydn
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Art with a message is not art. It is propaganda. Art raises questions, it doesn't give answers.
The principles of art can be used to increase the power of a message, but that is not art for it's own sake.

In the same way, magic can be used to deliver a message, but if it does, it is no longer art. Magic for it's own sake is art. Magic in service to some other goal is not.
tommy
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All art is a lie. Does a lie become the truth by carrying a wealthy patron’s message?

Is the Last Supper by Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci a work of art?
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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George Ledo
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"All art is a lie."

Sorry, tommy, but that statement is way too broad and just not accurate.

A lie is a statement (in some form) specifically intended to deceive someone by passing off something untrue as true. We have seen lots of those recently on this side of the Atlantic. And yes we can argue that magic is a lie.

However, art museums all over the world are full of items such as vases, paintings (some of which are commissioned portraits), sculpture, jewelry, furniture, and many other objects that were not intended to deceive anyone. They were put there by curators, academics, and others who are in the art field and consider them to be works of art because they fit a specific set of parameters for what constitutes art.

In the entertainment world, works like movies, TV shows, novels, operas, and similar things are considered art because (if) they meet the same parameters. But they are intended to amuse and entertain people, not to deceive them.

We can think or believe anything we want (we're seeing a lot of that on this side of the Atlantic too), but a broad fit-all statement like "all art is a lie" is just not accurate.
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George Ledo
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Sorry, the 30-minute time limit kicked in and I couldn't edit the above.

Did Leonardo really intend to deceive people into believing that his fresco was a photographic snapshot of the table and the people on the evening portrayed? I don't believe that for a microsecond.
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Josh Riel
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Isn't Propaganda a message? I'm not talking about the truth of the message here.
Maybe I'm thinking too much about what these words mean... I have been known to get things wrong. I won't even touch on "art" because no one will agree with me.

"Meaning in magic" [u]to me[/u] seems like the guy using mentalism to get people to believe in god, or whatever.
Whereas the magic I try to do and enjoy watching doesn't try to get you to change anything about yourself, just offering enjoyment and hopefully remembering the experience.

This is Food for Thought after all, and we might try to get to the deeper message... but I want to laugh and clap, be surprised, and baffled watching a magic performance, and I want to MAKE people laugh and clap, be surprised and baffled. I don't feel like there is much meaning there, or a message. Probably not art.

A short escape from reality, that's all.
Magic is doing improbable things with odd items that, under normal circumstances, would be unnessecary and quite often undesirable.
ChrisPayne
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I think we might be using "meaning" and "message" interchangeably, while there is some overlap, they are quite different. A beautiful sunset, spontaneous act of generosity, uplifting piece of music can all be deeply meaningful but not carry any "message". Astonishing magic has the power to move and be meaningful in it's own right, and for reasons we hardly understand. Tamariz points out that many of the classics of magic are appealing because they tap into universal hopes and longings - quoting the egg bag and ambitious card as examples.
The paradox here is that if we, as performers, try to make this explicit it will likely kill the impact, spectators feel things more strongly when they react emotionally rather than having all of the dots joined for them.
On a more superficial level we need a narrative hook or premise that draws the audience in, engages their interest so that they give their full attention - I see that as a presentational ploy to make the magic engaging, rather than distracting from the core event - the magical experience.
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In other words, entertainment?
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Jonathan Townsend
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Magicians are usually hired to entertain. Reinforcing beliefs, social norms, or political positions through demonstrations managed by trickery is a different service.

Quote:
On Dec 22, 2020, tommy wrote:
Is the Last Supper by Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci a work of art?
It was a commissioned work. The artist hired to put something decorative in place. The idea of setting a scene so that the viewer is sitting next to the table for those dramatic moments - wow!
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Pop Haydn
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Quote:
On Dec 24, 2020, George Ledo wrote:
In other words, entertainment?



It is more than that. There are two ways for the artist to explore the world of the fantastic and impossible.

One is through the vicarious experience of the impossible. In this, the audience becomes interested in a magical character, such as Peter Pan, and follow his adventures into fantasy worlds. The audience experience the magic vicariously through the eyes of the characters like Wendy or Peter. In narrative presentations, the artist wants to lull the audience into a receptive state--lowering their critical thinking, suspending disbelief, and allowing themselves to experience the impossible in their imaginations. Magic effects might be used to help make the presentation more believable and fantastical. But as Maskelyne and Devant say, the rules of Magic must be sublimated to the Rules of Theater; e.g. the needs of the story. The magic must not take the audience out of their reverie--their imaginary participation in the story.

The second way is for the performer to create the actual experience of the impossible for the audience. This is the way of Magic. In this, the audience is asked to approach the presentation with their critical thinking on alert. A presentation will attempt to prove that the magic is real, creating an argument that the onlookers will find extremely convincing whether presented seriously or tongue in cheek. The audience knows that it is a "play" but can't escape the conviction that the proof of the impossible engenders. They are faced with a dilemma which they can't completely reconcile. It is very much like an actual experience of the impossible.

In Magic, the elements of character and story are meant to serve the needs of the magic. In theater, the magic is meant to serve the needs of the story. Both can be artistic, and can be Art, but it would be difficult to accomplish both in the same presentation--Art can't have two masters.
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There are those who gamble and there those who make a living from those who gamble.

Today, there are also poker players getting paid as much as $5k to wear a hat.

If you were booked to perform a gambling act on TV and offered $5k to wear this hat, would you?

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landmark
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Quote:
On Dec 24, 2020, Pop Haydn wrote:


...In Magic, the elements of character and story are meant to serve the needs of the magic. In theater, the magic is meant to serve the needs of the story. Both can be artistic, and can be Art, but it would be difficult to accomplish both in the same presentation--Art can't have two masters.


“But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion.”

― Tom Wingfield in Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie
tommy
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In my amateur card guy opinion, the dinosaur bones in the Birmingham museum are not art because nature never lies.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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On the patter side, the point of telling a lie too incredible to be believed true is to convey to the audience that the lie being told to them is a lie. In so doing, the audience can then appreciate the lie as art, suspend their disbelief, believe true the lie while knowing it isn’t for their amusement and enter into the spirit of the thing.

Then, I think, is the time to use deceptive hidden lies, to make it appear that the evidence being presented in the experiment is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The point of this credible evidence in the experiment is to persuade the audience that the lie that they know is a lie, is true!

In my view, the entertainment does not serve magic or vice versa. I think that the entertainment and the magic are equal and opposite states, that serve one another equally, that when crossed create a moment of equilibrium, a simultaneity of opposites, where the lie and the truth become one.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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George Ledo
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Quote:
On Dec 26, 2020, tommy wrote:
In my amateur card guy opinion, the dinosaur bones in the Birmingham museum are not art because nature never lies.

Dinosaur bones in museums all over the world are not presented as art. They are presented as real historical objects.
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Pop Haydn
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Liar:

Image
tommy
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So they were not put there by curators, academics, and others who are in the art field and consider them to be works of art because they fit a specific set of parameters for what constitutes art. So what I would like to know, is who put them there?
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
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A scorpion, which cannot swim, asks a frog to carry it across a river on the frog's back. The frog hesitates, afraid of being stung by the scorpion, but the scorpion argues that if it did that, they would both drown. The frog considers this argument sensible and agrees to transport the scorpion. Midway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog anyway, dooming them both. The dying frog asks the scorpion why it stung despite knowing the consequence, to which the scorpion replies: "I couldn't help it. It's in my nature."


It would not surprise me if was non-other than Pop Haydn, when he passed through Birmingham on his way to Blackpool.
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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Let's not sidetrack into who made the objects presented in Plato's allegorical cave or whether the depiction of dinosaurs is more historical fact or fantasy. Similarly we don't yet need to worry about those who promote art on behalf of museums or invest in artists with an eye on returns. That capital A in art is about the capitalization of art. Different market for selling supplies, lessons, kits, postcards, coffee table books...

I'm still curious about what's been observed to work well in context and what has been tried and failed in context. What bad ideas surprised by working for audiences and what fine ideas have failed due to sound or scale or visibility in the venue?
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Pop Haydn
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Quote:
On Dec 26, 2020, tommy wrote:
A scorpion, which cannot swim, asks a frog to carry it across a river on the frog's back. The frog hesitates, afraid of being stung by the scorpion, but the scorpion argues that if it did that, they would both drown. The frog considers this argument sensible and agrees to transport the scorpion. Midway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog anyway, dooming them both. The dying frog asks the scorpion why it stung despite knowing the consequence, to which the scorpion replies: "I couldn't help it. It's in my nature."


It would not surprise me if was non-other than Pop Haydn, when he passed through Birmingham on his way to Blackpool.


That is ridiculous, tommy! Scorpions don't talk.
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