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Putting More Meaning in Cardistry

CaseyRudd

Director of Operations
Team member
Jun 5, 2009
3,195
3,301
Charleston, SC
www.instagram.com
Something has been on my mind over the past few months about the direction of Cardistry that I need to share. It may be important to you, it may not, but I have noticed a trend over the past year that, in my opinion, needs to change. When was the last time you saw a Cardistry video that struck a chord with you, had a lasting impression, or was memorable and made you want to watch it many times over simply because it meant something to you? I remember a handful of them that came out many years ago that I still go back and watch. But recently, I can't seem to think of one that really hit home or really inspired me. This is the issue I want to discuss.

Now obviously it might just be me, but I am curious as to how many of you feel the way I do about the current direction that Cardistry is going. In my opinion and seeing it from my point of view, I haven't really seen the Cardistry community grow and evolve as much as it did back in the 2007-2011 era. I could be completely wrong, but then again this is just what I see. Why do I think this? Here's why:

Part of the reason why I think Cardistry hasn't grown that much or why Cardistry has lost its uniqueness is because there is a HUGE lack of originality in the community. Am I talking about the Cardistry moves themselves? Absolutely not. I have seen more original cardistry moves than ever before! So what am I talking about when I say originality? It mostly has to do with performance videos themselves that showcase the Cardist's material. Let me get into this in more detail.

Over the past year, most of the videos I have seen include this formula:

(cardistry moves + dubstep or rap music) = cardistry video

Does this formula go for every video? Absolutely not. There are a few exceptions. But this is what I mean by there being a lack of originality that sets anyone apart from one another. Almost every video is the same, even though the moves and the setting are different. All I get from it is that you put some moves to music and that's it. There is no lasting impression and doesn't leave me with inspiration.

Granted, if you want to just showcase some moves you are practicing on, there is nothing wrong with filming a few moves and putting some music on top of it just to share. But if you want to make a performance video that wants to catch the community by surprise and really showcase what you've got, you need to make your own style and film a video that is meaningful to you.

I feel that the community is somewhat pigeon-holing itself into using a certain genre of music and a certain filming style simply because it worked for someone else. Something that is really important to creating your own style is not in just the moves, but how you showcase them to your audience. I also feel that to grow Cardistry and expand it to a wider range of people, you need a video that will connect with them. Make them feel something. This why I think that a cardistry video should tell a story about yourself or an experience. Most of the cardistry videos you really remember are the ones that made a connection with you and made you feel something different. Cardistry has the potential to do this again, but for right now it's pretty stale. The only thing that keeps me interested now are the moves themselves and whether or not they look cool. That shouldn't be the only thing it's about.

If you want to make a cardistry video that takes the community's breath away, please do not do the cookie-cutter style that is out there currently. Find a genre of music that YOU enjoy, match the moves to the music you choose to use, and using your own filming style, capture the moves in a way only YOU can. The cardistry community needs way more people that think differently, and it needs different voices.

Is this a rant? Kind of. But it's something that has been on my mind as of late. Essentially what I am trying to say here is that Cardistry is more than just manipulating playing cards and slapping some dubstep or rap music (that rarely ever matches) on top of it. Cardistry is an art and an expression of yourself. Be original. Be yourself. Don't follow the norm. Make it meaningful.

-Casey
 
I agree with you, Casey. So much of what I've seen over the past couple of years has been individuals preferring visuals over substance. Cardistry is stale; however, I hold out hope that someone out there will remind the community of the brilliance that is our art.
 
Mar 6, 2010
138
3
I wholeheartedly agree with you Casey. I appreciate your honesty and ability to question our art form. Your post can help regenerate the art by inspiring others to put more thought into the collective whole of their Cardistry video.
 
Oct 28, 2014
27
8
Hello Casey! I'm discarding my previous post, I understand what all of you are saying, that it should be more than just music and cool moves. But I think that music is an art of it's own and it only enhances the experience and makes it more enjoyable . People do need to show more of them selves in videos, because that would make me connect with them on a deeper level. Everybody is doing the same thing which is what makes it boring and stale, I think that if you want to change the world than you should start with yourselves if i were to go to the playing card section and watch a trailer for your cards than it would be what you described as stale. I think the reason that nobody is changing is because they know it's the safe option and they are afraid to take risks and step out of the box. If what your doing is making you money are you going to change it? That is my opinion Have a great day!
 
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Brett Hurley

Elite Member
Sep 27, 2014
2,400
1,998
Texa$, with a dollar sign
In my opinion, the big problem with cardistry performance is that, outside of tutorials, I don't care.

I don't care about a performance because the performer hasn't given me a reason to care.

I don't think it's enough to make up your own moves or do a video with different music; in fact I think the whole 'silent cardist' routine is doing the art a disservice.

I think that there is a lot of untapped potential in creating patter and routines (if these exist, I haven't seen them). Give the spectator a reason--a WHY. Why do you need to do what you're doing?
I don't think the performance can just carry itself at this point. Cardists need to start talking.
 

CaseyRudd

Director of Operations
Team member
Jun 5, 2009
3,195
3,301
Charleston, SC
www.instagram.com
In my opinion, the big problem with cardistry performance is that, outside of tutorials, I don't care.

I don't care about a performance because the performer hasn't given me a reason to care.

I don't think it's enough to make up your own moves or do a video with different music; in fact I think the whole 'silent cardist' routine is doing the art a disservice.

I think that there is a lot of untapped potential in creating patter and routines (if these exist, I haven't seen them). Give the spectator a reason--a WHY. Why do you need to do what you're doing?
I don't think the performance can just carry itself at this point. Cardists need to start talking.

Good points. I think the reason why a performer hasn't given a spectator a reason to care on an emotional level is because they just perform the moves, without setting a mood, an atmosphere, etc. in the video. It's just moves to music, and that doesn't take much effort. The same could be said about artists that paint a landscape or anything of the sort. Why should I care about this painting? What is it saying to me? The artist cannot speak audible words through the painting itself, so the painting is supposed to do the talking for itself.

Let's say a Cardist wants to make a new performance video, unlike anything he/she has ever done before. This Cardist wants the video to spark interest, and make a connection with the viewer. How would they do this? Much like an artist, they would ask themselves what they are trying to invoke in their "piece" (in this case, the video). The artist would then go to the color palette, and pick the colors that would fit his piece the best. Red and orange are colors of warmth, anger, or spontaneity, while blue and green are colors of cool, calm, and relaxed moods. The analogy can continue further, but you see what I mean.

When this kind of process is used for a cardistry video, it is more than just moves to music. If we call cardistry an artform, we need to treat it like an artform instead of a hobby. If we want Cardistry to advance and expand we need to stop pigeon-holing ourselves with the same-old same-old and take the next step forward. There are also big names in the community that know they have a big responsibility and influence over other cardists, yet choose to stick with the same thing they've been doing because they get complacent or might be afraid of going against the status-quo they established and don't want change.

Thanks for all the feedback so far you guys. If anybody else has thoughts that they would like to share, please feel free to! :)
 
Dec 20, 2009
343
0
Mumbai, India
Wow! It's been a while since I've posted here! This is a really interesting topic. I've always found cardistry meetup videos so much fun to watch for this reason. Its more than just moves in front of a camera. Perhaps not the kind of artistic expression through a video you were talking about Casey but I'm trying to say its less robotic and allows for some sort of emotional connection with the cardist's personality and a glimpse into their lives.

If there are any existing cardistry videos that have struck a chord with anybody
any of you, please do share them. I'd love to know which ones and why.
All I could think of was Chris Brown's Arthritis Onslaught 3-6 (they're more magic but that's all I could think of)

Looking forward to hearing everybody's thoughts on this! :)

-Jenai
 

CaseyRudd

Director of Operations
Team member
Jun 5, 2009
3,195
3,301
Charleston, SC
www.instagram.com
Wow! It's been a while since I've posted here! This is a really interesting topic. I've always found cardistry meetup videos so much fun to watch for this reason. Its more than just moves in front of a camera. Perhaps not the kind of artistic expression through a video you were talking about Casey but I'm trying to say its less robotic and allows for some sort of emotional connection with the cardist's personality and a glimpse into their lives.

Meet-up videos are always fun because, like you said, it's not about the moves. You get to see a bit more of the person behind the moves, and I think that's really important in making a connection. We see too much of the hands and not the face. It's only in a solo performance video where it's important to be more of an artist. It's your piece, it's your show, all eyes are on you and what you want to showcase.

I do agree that meet-up videos are usually about having fun, and that's what it should be about. But then there are some instances where a meet-up video is being filmed like a performance video and all substance is lost, it's just visuals like Jon described above placed over a track of music that has either inappropriate lyrics or crazy loud wob-wob-wobs that does not match the movement in the video whatsoever.
 
Oct 28, 2014
27
8
Hello Jon Ramirez! I understand what your saying, and i'm not saying that it's right because I don't think it is I'm just saying of course people aren't going to stop whats making them money.
 
Oct 28, 2014
27
8
This is one of the reasons Cardistry has become stale. Everyone wants a project/dvd/download/MONEY. I get it, but there are ways to execute that goal without losing the integrity of our art.
Hello Jon Ramirez! I understand what your saying, and i'm not saying that it's right because I don't think it is I'm just saying of course people aren't going to stop whats making them money.
 

Josh Burch

Elite Member
Aug 11, 2011
2,962
1,097
Utah
In my opinion, the big problem with cardistry performance is that, outside of tutorials, I don't care.

I don't care about a performance because the performer hasn't given me a reason to care.

I don't think it's enough to make up your own moves or do a video with different music; in fact I think the whole 'silent cardist' routine is doing the art a disservice.

I think that there is a lot of untapped potential in creating patter and routines (if these exist, I haven't seen them). Give the spectator a reason--a WHY. Why do you need to do what you're doing?
I don't think the performance can just carry itself at this point. Cardists need to start talking.

Some of my favorite routines are these:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkIPDEKkhTc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tdjh-7rJjw

Basically it's just the artists explaining what is happening but these feel very different from the classic dub-step videos. Maybe this is the start of cardistry with patter.
 

Josh Burch

Elite Member
Aug 11, 2011
2,962
1,097
Utah
I feel like there is a type of sport aspect to cardistry that makes me think that in some respects it doesn't need meaning.

Maybe I could compare it to ice juggling. Yes there are ways to make routines that move the audience. There are times when I would call it an art for sure. Examples:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FX7xruR12YA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEqnAz4laNo

This type of performance is completely different than this of Anthony Gatto:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wP8tbLBls_M

The first 2 are probably 10 times as entertaining, but the last is more than 10 times as difficult. They each have merit and I feel like it's stupid to think one is better than the other.

Sure, there is room to make cardistry more entertaining but I see no problem with people pushing themselves to do more difficult moves faster, smoother, better and different than ever before.

I feel like the Olympics have little artistic meaning but that doesn't mean I don't see the beauty in setting goals and pushing ones self to ones limits.
 

Brett Hurley

Elite Member
Sep 27, 2014
2,400
1,998
Texa$, with a dollar sign
Some of my favorite routines are these:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkIPDEKkhTc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tdjh-7rJjw

Basically it's just the artists explaining what is happening but these feel very different from the classic dub-step videos. Maybe this is the start of cardistry with patter.

Those are good! Thanks for posting those.

I especially like the first one because the experience is shared with others.

Actual live interaction.

And while one could say that youtube does the same thing on a more widespread level; I think that a video can be made more powerful when you can see more of a magician/cardistry when you aren't trying to recreate the 'shaft of hands' scene from Labyrinth.
 

Brett Hurley

Elite Member
Sep 27, 2014
2,400
1,998
Texa$, with a dollar sign
Sure, there is room to make cardistry more entertaining but I see no problem with people pushing themselves to do more difficult moves faster, smoother, better and different than ever before.

I feel like the Olympics have little artistic meaning but that doesn't mean I don't see the beauty in setting goals and pushing ones self to ones limits.

But there's the thing! With the Olympics, there is a story to be told. An athlete who has been training for a long time to push themselves to an extreme human limit for a single moment of time to display it.

What is being told with Cardistry 'hands' and dubstep?

I don't think cardistry needs faster, smoother, better. Cardistry already has plenty of that.

I think that without a story or a message. Anything put out there is nothing more than showing off and appearing to look clever.

And it doesn't need to be that way.
 
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Josh Burch

Elite Member
Aug 11, 2011
2,962
1,097
Utah
I don't think cardistry needs faster, smoother, better. Cardistry already has plenty of that.

I think that without a story or a message. Anything put out there is nothing more than showing off and appearing to look clever.

Apearing to look clever and showing off is what I feel sports are.

The goal may be to run a faster mile in track but it may be to master Pandora in cardistry. Once mastered it would be appropriate to share in whatever medium one choses.

There are millions of skateboard, BMX, snowboard and motor cross videos out there. I feel like a cardistry video needs to tell a story as much as a skate video. It doesn't, people just like to watch other people do cool things. I don't think it needs to be anything more than that for some.
 

Brett Hurley

Elite Member
Sep 27, 2014
2,400
1,998
Texa$, with a dollar sign
Apearing to look clever and showing off is what I feel sports are.

The goal may be to run a faster mile in track but it may be to master Pandora in cardistry. Once mastered it would be appropriate to share in whatever medium one choses.

There are millions of skateboard, BMX, snowboard and motor cross videos out there. I feel like a cardistry video needs to tell a story as much as a skate video. It doesn't, people just like to watch other people do cool things. I don't think it needs to be anything more than that for some.

The disparity in sports VS. cardistry is that sports has a single corporeal goal to aspire to and train for: First place.

Cardistry and magic have no singular goal that all involved are trying to achieve other than to be able to deliver an a powerful performance that suits the performer. Making more of the magician/cardist challenging themselves.

I feel that if the opportunity is there to deliver a more powerful performance or message through the art because we aren't in a field of contests and swiss-bracketing.
If the goal of everyone is to become better at the craft and promote the art; then why settle on it being ONLY entertainment.
 

Josh Burch

Elite Member
Aug 11, 2011
2,962
1,097
Utah
The disparity in sports VS. cardistry is that sports has a single corporeal goal to aspire to and train for: First place.

Cardistry and magic have no singular goal that all involved are trying to achieve other than to be able to deliver an a powerful performance that suits the performer. Making more of the magician/cardist challenging themselves.

I feel that if the opportunity is there to deliver a more powerful performance or message through the art because we aren't in a field of contests and swiss-bracketing.
If the goal of everyone is to become better at the craft and promote the art; then why settle on it being ONLY entertainment.

There's not always a first place in sports and with cardistry there is there are competitions, not a lot because it is young but there are some. In extreme sports the athlete may perform for days just to land a specific trick for a cool video. I feel like cardistry is very similar to extreme sports.

I feel that cardistry is closer to a sport than a performance art to some. I don't feel like this is a problem.
 

Brett Hurley

Elite Member
Sep 27, 2014
2,400
1,998
Texa$, with a dollar sign
There's not always a first place in sports and with cardistry there is there are competitions, not a lot because it is young but there are some. In extreme sports the athlete may perform for days just to land a specific trick for a cool video. I feel like cardistry is very similar to extreme sports.

I feel that cardistry is closer to a sport than a performance art to some. I don't feel like this is a problem.

Like you said, Cardistry is young, but the OP has suggested that it has already plateaued.

Cardistry is over saturated with videos just showing off cool tricks. If we were to go the way of extreme sports, it seems like there would need to be more contests and unilateral incentives.

All I think that would do it get more people in the Cardistry community and make more new techniques--which is happening already, but that model is not advancing the performance aspect of the art.
 
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May 21, 2014
127
6
Staunton, VA

I'm no cardist, but it seems like somebody could do a "History of Cardistry" routine, starting with the Charlier cut and talking about how Cardistry developed over the years, its relationship to magic and gambling, etc.

It also seems like Cardistry and dubstep dancing could somehow be spliced, especially since cardists already like to use dub as their music.

To me, cardistry doesn't seem to stand up well on its own and should really be encased in some kind of package, much like magic but even more so. I honestly don't know much what you would do with it besides use it to enhance magic or put it to music. Maybe try to put inspirational messages with it? Like the people going around motivating teenagers by ripping phone books and smashing cinder blocks?

I'm just brainstorming here. I'd like to see cardistry become a little more relevant and useful than it seems right now, even though I basically don't do it. I've learned a few fancy cuts here and there, but I've found my magic has more impact if people think I'm a sloppy card handler.
 
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