Magic and Human Rights (School Project)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Delusional, Feb 10, 2014.

  1. Hi everybody,

    The time has come. I am a senior in high school, and graduation is just around the corner. However, to be able to graduate, every senior must complete a cumulative project. This project is the basis for how you are remembered at the school, and it also aims to provide a snapshot of your life at the school. It is called the Senior Mastery Project. Don't worry, the following is not me asking for you guys to do my homework for me...

    The main concern of the project is to address Human Rights, by answering one or more of the following
    ?What does it mean to be human?
    ?What does it mean to have human rights?
    ?What are my responsibilities and duties to others?
    ?Is the human condition changing?
    ?Have we become more or less civil?
    ?What is truth?
    ?What is beauty?
    ?What is morality?
    ?How did we get here and where are we going?

    There are two routes to take with this project. You can either do the Traditional project, wherein you type a 10 page research driven paper, and do a 30 minute presentation. OR you can do the Non-Traditional project wherein a student creates/performs an original work (for example, an art portfolio, original film, or musical
    composition) in addition to a written paper. Non-traditional SMPs still must include a written,
    research-based paper (although not necessarily a 10-page, thesis-driven paper) which must
    include connections to the course's essential questions and a presentation.

    So here is where I would like some input. I plan to pursue a non-tradtional project where I use magic to show how it can enrich others. I aim to answer the third question, by asserting that it is my responsibility to help and enrich others using my talent. I feel as if it is my duty to do my best to ensure people an optimal quality of life, and instill in them a positive outlook on life by using magic. I spoke with a teacher the other day, and she mentioned that it would be great for my project if I went into places where people are disadvantaged in one way or another, and performed magic. This includes performing at a children's hospital for kids who are not in the best of health. Senior living homes (Certainly not to say that all senior citizens living in homes such as these are disadvantaged!), and possibly homeless shelters as well. My goal would be to show how magic can brighten the day for people in bad situations, and that by doing this I am exercising my responsibilities as a human.

    What do you think of this idea?

    Also, for this, I would need to perform research on this topic. I'm sure magicians have used magic in ways like this for ages-- communicating a positive message with magic, or "giving back" by performing magic. I would appreciate anyone who could point me in the right direction of some sources on this topic. Or if you know of any magicians who are notable for doing things like this.


    This is something I'm very excited about, and I appreciate all of the help I can get!

  2. JP:

    I like the idea of performing magic, but I'm not sure about performing for disadvantaged people. Those people aren't necessarily in need of positive message (which may be counterproductive to a child with a terminal disease or an older person with Alzheimer's disease) but are more in need of being treated as "real" people and having fun. That is, treating them as if there isn't a problem rather than being told it will be OK if you just keep with it.

    I like your idea of communicating a positive message better - maybe even communicating a message that relates to your personal beliefs about the other questions -- how can people treat each other more civilly, exploring what is beauty, what is truth, how we relate to each other as humans.

    You want to start with Eugene Burger and Robert Neal's book Magic and Meaning. There is a discussion of a Shaman's magic, early conjuring performances, the origins of magic, meaning in magic, parable magic and a dissection of the different types of magic. The book is exactly what you need for your paper.

    From that book you can look to Magic Matters by Robert Neale (more tricks and essays) and Gift Magic by Larry Haas (effects that leave the spectator with a gift and essays on gifting magic). All of the effects in those books have a presentation that reflects a greater meaning.

    There are other books by Robert Neale - The Magic Mirror (has a number of essays on the reflective nature of magic and a couple of good effects) and This is Not a Book (has a number of effects, several of which I really like).

    If you need any help, shoot me a PM.
  3. I love the idea of the project. I don't have much to add about who you perform to, but I do have an idea. If you do card tricks, try to have your spectator sign each card that you perform with (take another deck and force cards on them from an unsigned deck so, when you are finished, you will have a 52 card deck, all with signatures of your spectators). Not only will this serve as proof that you really did perform for people, but it will also serve as an homage to the 52 (54 if you count jokers) people that you influenced. Perhaps you could give the project a subtle theme of 52 memories.
  4. One humanitarian program that comes to mind is David Copperfield's' PROJECT MAGIC that you may want to look into. I don't know that it's still viable but I'm certain his people on this forum might be willing to help you research and possibly even get footage from David's archives around what that project was about.

    R1 has given you some valuable resource pointers but you may want to look at the history of conventional magic and magicians visiting hospitals and even doing heroic acts such as Blackstone Sr. and the theater fire event; Houdini visiting Hospitals, etc. I think showing this historical perspective would go a very long way.

    I no longer have the article but the UTNE Reader in the UK did a feature about 12 or more years ago about Magic in 3rd world countries in the South Pacific region in which an American mage had to deal with local shaman and how he learned about how these shaman used their magic as a psychological tool for helping their communities. Understand too that shaman & mystics throughout hisstory have used magic, song, puppets and oratory as a way to teach others. You might wish to touch in this and how, in current time, this can be seen in both, the revival of the Urban~Shaman as well as in Gospel type performances. . . in fact, you may want to touch base with Andre Kole himself and discuss this topic, Andre has used his magic as a tool to aid others for decades.

    I've done routines in stage shows that deal with things like AIDS and Animal Cruelty that you may want to consider but the biggie on that front is a guy named Tony Brent out of Orlando, he's just organized a No Bullying program that's dynamite, you can find him on Facebook. Tony is a super guy and I'm certain he'd be willing to help you out a bit.

    Best of luck!
  5. It is you're responsibility to TEACH and contribute! So why not create a 30 minute presentation that teaches people a magic trick.. to people that feel like they don't have a voice. (Like you're fellow students) I don't know about you.. by my voice was muted before magic. Now it's loud and confident. You answer the question you wanted. You follow what you're teacher said (big points for that). And you know you actually made a difference. Because you will track some of these people over the course of a life time! Then you become a local star. A local star that gets on the news. The local news gets seen by CNN. Jimmy Fallon see's you on CNN. That leads to meeting Jimmy Fallon. And more importantly.. Jimmy Fallon meet you! I'm jealous!
  6. Hi everybody,
    These responses are amazing! RealityOne, thanks so much for those sources. My teacher even said today that I should include information on the history of magic, and the various ways it has been used.

    Strudles, I like this idea a lot. Maybe I could take the 52 cards, and create a poster with all of them on it, almost like an uncut card sheet.

    Craig Browning, I have heard of project magic, but it strangely never dawned on me the relevance it has to this idea. But now I see how integral it could be for my project to mention this. I will definitely read up on that. I will also certainly read up on and possibly contact some of the names you've mentioned. Thank you for your help.

    Meggisonj this is a great idea. I would like to stick more with what I originally posted, but I love the idea of teaching each these people how to do a trick, and helping them to empower themselves in that way.

    After hearing these suggestions I have so many ideas about my project-- there is so much I would like to include! I truly appreciate all the help.

  7. I think the beauty of the signed cards would be better shown if you were to keep them as a full deck. I like the idea that you could say, "In this box are 52 memories, each different, all created by me." It just feels that it would better symbolize magic's power to unify people together. You can do whatever you want to do, however.

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