Chasing the Impossible

Oct 5, 2012
97
0
So I have a dilemma. As magicians, we seek to present illusions that come nearer and nearer to reflecting impossible events. Effects that are highly visual, have only a brief procedure, and involve no unnatural movements are among the most sought after. In all that we do, we are attempting to construct the best imitation we can of an impossible event.

We learn a basic color change, like the Erdnase. And maybe we are happy with that for a while. Then we find something that is a bit better, less suspicious looking, more visually pronounced (say, ego change). Then the snap change. Whatever the progression, we are trying to move in stronger and stronger directions, moves that hide less from the spectators or give them less of a reason to doubt.

Here's an effect. I hold up the Queen of Spades. Without moving the card, the picture swirls and changes color, twisting and morphing into the Ace of Hearts. The whole time, the card is completely in view, and there are moments when both the Queen and the Ace are visible. In fact, all of this can happen in the spectators hands. This can be done with a regular deck of cards and is fully examinable.

Unfortunately, I don't have a method for this effect yet. Probably because it is impossible. We have to cheat to chase the impossible, and every way that we do moves us a little bit farther away from the illusion we are trying to present. Helder talks about Magic as a reflection of the impossible, but the only way we can do that is by warping the image slightly.

So the dilemma is this. We are constantly striving towards the ideal method that best simulates the impossible reality we are trying to present. We can get close to that, but we can never reach it. Is this Magical Xeno's Paradox why we do what we do, or is it a promise of frustration and disappoint at our inability to actually achieve what we are striving for?
 

RealityOne

Moderator
Nov 1, 2009
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New Jersey
We are constantly striving towards the ideal method that best simulates the impossible reality we are trying to present.

Your problem is that you are simply thinking like a magician. An Erdnase change, presented to a lay spectator looks like the impossible. When you learn how it is done, it doesn't look as good. So you see another change that looks impossible and when you learn how it is done, it doesn't look as good. Repeat process again and again and again.

Let me put this in the most plain terms:

The method doesn't matter. The magician does.
 
Oct 5, 2012
97
0
Your problem is that you are simply thinking like a magician. An Erdnase change, presented to a lay spectator looks like the impossible. When you learn how it is done, it doesn't look as good. So you see another change that looks impossible and when you learn how it is done, it doesn't look as good. Repeat process again and again and again.

Let me put this in the most plain terms:

The method doesn't matter. The magician does.

I could not agree more. I have been thinking a lot about what Darwin Ortiz has to say about conditions in "Strong Magic" and how often the spectator will be concerned with something that is completely irrelevant. How can we as Magicians best tap into the way spectators think? Is there a way to return to that naivete?
 
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