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Logic and Magic?

Dec 20, 2009
343
0
Mumbai, India
Hey everyone,

So I just saw this post in the 'Cerca Trova Ideas' thread and thought it was an interesting thing worth discussing, I felt it'd be better to post it here since barely anyone looks into that section anymore. So here is the post.


I think we should discuss logic and simplicity in magic, and how it might have an effect on the audience.. I think that for most laymen, although a magic trick is something "not possible", it should be coherent in a sense and show a logical progression of how something is happening. Take a transposition for example, if the joker is placed on the table and a three of hearts is taken, and changed into the joker, the card on the table should now be the three. You ever wonder why it wouldn't be just as amazing to change the card on the table blank? Because it wouldn't go with the logic that the trick was following. The card trick is not a transposition effect anymore, it was just 2 random changes. This is why some laymen aren't amazed by tricks with too many twists turns 360s 180s and situational irony. The progression of the trick has left their minds in the dust and when you ask what their card was for the final revelation they say, "uuuh". Just thought I'd say this: although out of the ordinary, tricks have a route to follow, and when we put too many detours in it, the spectators get lost and need a map.


Although what Mark says does make a lot of sense,I can't help but wonder, if we want spectators to percieve magic as impossible or inexplicable why does it need to be logical explanation of whats happening. I always prefer to present my magic as "This is not impossible, Accept that there are things around us that we don't know about...this is one of them". I send that message by telling them how I did it...false explanations that involve the power of THEIR minds and such. So I believe if thats what your going for its OK to follow a logical route. Do you think starting by doing things logical...gets people thinking there is a logical explanation for what you just did thus diminishing the inexplicable vibe? Do you think there's something that we need to change? Or is it right as it is (if so why, cause i can't seem to understand it)



Thanks, Im looking forward to your replies



- Jenai
 
Jul 13, 2010
526
34
I totally agree with MarkEfferent.

Do you think starting by doing things logical...gets people thinking there is a logical explanation for what you just did thus diminishing the inexplicable vibe?
No, I just think there needs to be a logic or things (not just magic) get confusing. And confusion is not magic, as Mr. Dai Vernon once said. It takes away from the effect. There needs to be a logic to appreciate what has happened.

Logic shouldn`t be used to explain the effect, it`s a tool that helps making the context of the effect coherent.

Even when something is not possible in the real world, I think logic is essential.
In Roleplaying Games, Fantasy or Science fiction-books events are often not possible in the real world.
Nethertheless they follow (or should follow) an inherent logic so everything is conclusive.
 
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RickEverhart

forum moderator / t11
Elite Member
Sep 14, 2008
3,638
469
44
Louisville, OH
I agree that there should be some form of logic or the spectator will not understand what happened or why it happened. What caused "this" to happen? I'm not saying that the magician has to walk and talk the spectator through the effect because that is boring as well.

Even if the logic is BS and doesn't pertain to the method...the spectator at least has something to follow or grab onto mentally. Effects need the emotional "buy in" value. If random things are just occurring during an effect....I'm not so sure people will follow it.

Remember: Simple Hits Hard.

Just my two cents.
 

Keo

Mar 10, 2011
43
0
Texas San Antonio
"The audience knows the truth: the world is simple. It's miserable, solid all the way through. But if you could fool them, even for a second, then you can make them wonder, and then you... then you got to see something really special... you really don't know?... it was... it was the look on their faces... " Robert Angier, The Prestige

You can't out right lie with bogus BS about having powers with your minds or whatever. That is the fastest way to disconnect with your audience. Your audience is familiar with the world, they live in it for goodness sakes, they know that if you drop a cigarette, it falls to the ground. BUT as magicians, we actively set out to bend logic in a logical manner. A magician drops a cigarette, but it stops mid fall, suspended without explanation. The magician set a card down on the ground and in an instant, the magician caused the cards to change places. I asked how he did it, and he replied with. He didn't know, it must have had something to do with time.
 

RickEverhart

forum moderator / t11
Elite Member
Sep 14, 2008
3,638
469
44
Louisville, OH
Valid points Keo. By BS I didn't mean something so far fetched that the audience wouldn't believe it. I hope I didn't imply that.
Nice quote by the way! Love it.
 
Dec 20, 2009
343
0
Mumbai, India
Chris and Rick,

I understand what you guys are saying, I don't mean suspend logic COMPLETELY, I mean not go deep into it. Like many times you hear magicians say "coins dont just vanish...they reappear somewhere else" for some reason that doesn't appeal to me.
I don't know why but, it seems odd. It seems odd when people say ' If I drop a coin, it falls down...but look this one special,look it can fly up' I think if you STARTED saying ordinary coins falls down, you should explain why that one doesn't. Just a personal opinion


Keo,

I start performing the effect normally, then when they say "How did you do that" I explain. When I say 'powers' I don't mean superpowers or anything like that, I mean things like photographic memory or will power...Things that DO infact exsist. I just...exaggerate their capabilities a bit in my 'explanation' :p



- Jenai
 

Keo

Mar 10, 2011
43
0
Texas San Antonio
So instead of just saying, "You don't understand it," you give the pitch that your amazing, borderline miracles, are accomplished with a can do spirit and a brain? That is a transparent lie, especially if you just performed a flawless three fly or even a close up misers dream. Here is a plausible line you could use to make it seem semi believable.

"I don't know how the coins get to my hand. They just appear, but I do know where they are coming from. My pocket, I can also make them appear in your pocket."

Then you can perform something like Joshua Jay's Cornered and have the dollar appear in the spectators wallet. You've given a fairly plausible premise and then demonstrated an impossibility that confirms what you had just explained as the explanation.

Pseudo explanations only work when you can back up your claims. If you really had super human memory, or a super human brain, why would you be performing for them? Or if your in school, why haven't you skipped three grades?
 
Sep 11, 2010
90
0
Although what Mark says does make a lot of sense,I can't help but wonder, if we want spectators to percieve magic as impossible or inexplicable why does it need to be logical explanation of whats happening.

The effect that jumps to my mind is TnR by Mathew Bich. The card restoring, but then being a different card does not make sense to me.

The reason it needs to be sensical is so the spectators are not misguided into false thinking. The way I perceive TnR (I do not know the actual method) is that the card never really restores, but the magician somehow switches the card for a card that has not been torn. It takes away the magic from the effect.
 
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Dec 20, 2009
343
0
Mumbai, India
I am not suggesting ILLOGICAL magic. Dancing with a monkey on your head and then having your shoes disappear would be...awkward. I am just saying, if you want to be logical shouldn't you be completely logical? I always think that if you explain the obvious things, you should explain the other, less obvious things as well. Thats all.

The effect that jumps to my mind is TnR by Mathew Bich. The card restoring, but then being a different card does not make sense to me.

The reason it needs to be sensical is so the spectators are not misguided into false thinking. The way I percieve TnR (I do not know the actual method) is that the card never really restores, but the magician somehow switches the card for a card that has not been torn. It takes away the magic from the effect.


This is what I mean. If you're saying it 'restores' then changing into a different card doesn't make sense. That is why you should either CHANGE the presentation or the method. If you want to make sense, make COMPLETE sense, since you have a justification to why the card is being restored, you should have one for why it changes as well.

Keo,

Not all of my tricks use the same presentation, that was just an example. I use 'photographic memory' when i spread a deck have them remember a card and then call stop at the exact same card. The explanation is that they remembered the number of cards above and below and called stop without even realising.



Thanks for all your replies.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Sep 1, 2007
3,786
15
If something does not follow a sense of internal consistency and motivation, then you wouldn't be doing it anyway.

If this is something you've seen before and in fact experience on a regular basis, you wouldn't feel the need to explain it for the same reason you don't routinely point out to anyone riding in your car that it's powered by explosions.
 
Dec 20, 2009
343
0
Mumbai, India
If something does not follow a sense of internal consistency and motivation, then you wouldn't be doing it anyway.

If this is something you've seen before and in fact experience on a regular basis, you wouldn't feel the need to explain it for the same reason you don't routinely point out to anyone riding in your car that it's powered by explosions.


Sorry but I did not completely understand what you said. Is this what you mean?

Your saying since what I perform is something I experience regularly, I shouldn't feel the need to explain in to others?
 
Aug 17, 2010
411
4
Although what Mark says does make a lot of sense,I can't help but wonder, if we want spectators to percieve magic as impossible or inexplicable why does it need to be logical explanation of whats happening.

Magic is unique in theatre as it gives the audience a story to tell. I don't tell people stories; people tell stories about me, about what they've seen with their own eyes, and how impossible it was. It's not like the movies where they tell their friends about something that happened to someone else, somewhere else.

There's still a story based around a conflict of sorts, but the conflict is usually against physics, incredibly long odds, or knowledge the performer could not have had. To make it clear and understandable, it has to have an internal logic, which is more of a presentation or scripting issue about consistency; a morose, hard-boiled gambler would not likely use Magic Pixie Dust. It must, however, follow a logical structure.

I like to build (with the spectator's active participation by way of agreement with the premises I'm laying out) a syllogism that makes a sound, irrefutable argument with an impossible, inescapable conclusion.

The spectator should walk away with the bullet points of the effect they saw, the conditions it was performed under, and be fully armed to defend what they saw when relating the story. The character, presentation and everything else has to support this.

If the method is sound and the design of the routine is solid, it should be inexplicable to all but those who know about the "technology and techniques of deception." Framing it as a syllogism makes it easier to get agreement on the conditions, makes it easier to follow as the points are in an order that makes sense, and it makes the conclusion that much more powerful.

Here's one I perform, and these are the points I try to drill into the people watching.

I borrow a bill, and give them irrefutable proof that this bill could not be duplicated or switched (torn corner with serial number)
They freely choose one of three lemons that they have examined
That same unique bill teleports into that normal lemon.
I repeat the process with the added proof of a signature, teleporting it into a freely chosen egg.

Without knowledge of the methods of deception we use, there's no way for a layman to pick this apart. Someone telling this story is armed with enough evidence to defend it. "No, he couldn't have switched the bill - the serial numbers matched; I saw him tear the corner and he gave it to me openly, the jagged torn corner matched the bill perfectly. No, they were normal lemons - I examined them before I decided which one to use. No, he didn't force me to pick one lemon or the other, he said I could change my mind and I did. No, he didn't force the egg - I changed my mind three times."

Without a structure that clearly gives spectators the facts they need to understand the conditions, the effect, and to defend the story they're going to tell, the magic is not as strong as it could be.
 
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