Videogames becoming art

Feb 27, 2008
2,354
1
30
Grand prairie TX
You ask, how does this relate to magic? let me tell you.
Videogames are a relatively new medium and it has grown immensely.
Videogames generally all have the same basic formula and it's been the same way for decades.
Gather points.get items. move through the level from left to right. rescue the princess or kill the bad guy.
It's the formula seen from super mario to dead space. You know how mario jumps on an enemies head and coins come out? Notice that Isaac has to stomp on fallen enemies and money comes out? same formula, different execution.
Videogames that take the medium to a whole new level like Braid, noby noby boy, psychonauts, Amnesia, Portal, Take old formulas and reinvent them. Braid enters the realm of art with its thought provoking,evocative, emotional story. Rescuing the princess turns into something more.
In the form of this relating to magic, we also have basic performing structures that have gone unchanged and some that have been slowly reinvented. Street magic was a new take on performing for groups of people. Replacing the restaurant/parlour setting for sidewalks. Primarily as magicians we use a set of 3 tricks. We make up some little stories or simply say "look,watch". The more professionals of us have full fledged, structured routines and generally all have a similar format.
I feel that, just like in videogames, there is much to do in performance of magic. In its execution.
In street magic, we drone through tricks keeping our eyes on the deck. Use the same average joe principle of approaching people because its "down to earth" or "more realistic". We are basically sonic the hedgehog. Amazing start. now we're stuck in limbo.(im talking about his videogame career not any particular level)
Just like in videogames the layout of our game is perfect. present ourselves. perform. leave them entertained.
I feel like a reinvention or new ideas on how we perform should start circling around.
 
Feb 4, 2008
959
2
Just like in videogames the layout of our game is perfect. present ourselves. perform. leave them entertained.
I feel like a reinvention or new ideas on how we perform should start circling around.
Everyone should strive to inject new ideas into their performance, style, and presentation. When someone hits on something that resonates with the lay audience, I think the idea starts circling around automatically. David Blaine started doing magic to strangers on the street and brought along a buddy with a video camera. Now everyone does it. Derren Brown took the same basic formula but instead of performing magic he focused on mind-reading and hypnotic stunts. Now mentalism and mental magic have just blown up. One major magic producer that I can think of, Alakazam, probably releases over 50% of their material in the mentalism/mental magic category. Same thing with Cardistry. An idea took hold about a decade ago and now it is huge.

So I think you are right to say that we should challenge ourselves to create the "new idea" but once that idea proves successful I think you will find that it will spread automatically.
 
Feb 27, 2008
2,354
1
30
Grand prairie TX
David Blaine started doing magic to strangers on the street and brought along a buddy with a video camera. Now everyone does it. Same thing with Cardistry. An idea took hold about a decade ago and now it is huge.
Problem with street magic is the majority of people who began street magic became copycats and drones. And in a way, the street magic craze has died down. at least in posting up videos of performing. For every street magic video we have ten webcam desktop tricks. Cardistry is huge yes, and just like sonic the hedgehog its stuck in limbo.
So I think the whole process of new ideas and performing methods HAS to happen. And if it spreads then its great news.
 
Nov 8, 2007
1,248
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I'm not really sure what you're getting at with this thread. Every art form has a style that defines its time. Painting, music, etc.. That's the way it always is. And it stays that way until someone reinvents it. Then that becomes the dominate style for a time. Magic is no different. It's in a phase right now, just as it was in Houdini's day. And whoever comes along and sets the new standard and freshens things up again will be the next big thing and be heralded as a creative genius. It's the same wheel that has always been spinning, and always will.

People claim an art form is dead or stale while Kurt Cobain, David Blaine, Picasso, Quentin Tarantino, etc. do their own thing until others catch up to them. As long as an art form exists it will always have its revolutionaries.
 
Feb 4, 2008
959
2
Problem with street magic is the majority of people who began street magic became copycats and drones.
Nothing I have said disagrees with that at all.
So I think the whole process of new ideas and performing methods HAS to happen. And if it spreads then its great news.
I think I will refer to Matt's post on this one. Everything just sort of naturally gets a bit stale, then some "revolutionary" shows up and injects life back into the art form. What I don't think you can do is force it. Forcing inspiration is an excellent way to kill inspiration. I have a friend who is currently studying this in magic. He got his idea from a psychologist(name escapes me) who did a study about inspiration. This psychologist took a pool of say 100 artists(Also don't remember the sample size off the top of my head) and asked them each to do a painting(sculpture, sketch, whatever their specialty). Now he paid some of them in advance but others did the work pro-bono. He then took all of the pieces of art and submitted them to well known art critics. The critics, obviously didn't know which art was paid for and which wasn't, and yet they consistently evaluated the non paid works of art better than the paid pieces.

Now I realize that you are not saying, "Hey guys I'll pay you if you innovate!" but you certainly are laying down the sort of challenge. The mere mention of, "We HAVE to innovate!" adds this social pressure that ironically inhibits the human minds ability to be innovative and create.
 
Jul 14, 2010
206
0
Croatia
I'm not really sure what you're getting at with this thread. Every art form has a style that defines its time. Painting, music, etc.. That's the way it always is. And it stays that way until someone reinvents it. Then that becomes the dominate style for a time. Magic is no different. It's in a phase right now, just as it was in Houdini's day. And whoever comes along and sets the new standard and freshens things up again will be the next big thing and be heralded as a creative genius. It's the same wheel that has always been spinning, and always will.

People claim an art form is dead or stale while Kurt Cobain, David Blaine, Picasso, Quentin Tarantino, etc. do their own thing until others catch up to them. As long as an art form exists it will always have its revolutionaries.

That's pretty much what I was going to say; although the comparison of video games and magic as art forms is an interesting point of view, I don't really see what more we can say about the subject, except perhaps make a list of similarities and differences?
The magic is changing just like every other art form and the fact that you think that "a reinvention or new ideas on how we perform should start circling around" is a relative one. I believe we should all be excited that we're here to witness and be a part of that change, whenever it comes.
 
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Josh Burch

Elite Member
Aug 11, 2011
2,961
1,096
Utah
I feel like magic is a little stuck, or perhaps magicians are. A definition of art could be: a mode of self expression. There are very few people in magic who use it as a means of self expression. Like music, dance, sculpture, painting, and video games, magic has the potential to move people in a way that other arts cannot. It takes a lot to transform it from a gag to an artistic expression.

In a way I disagree when Vernon says that an effect is only good if you can explain it in one sentence. An effect is good when no other medium portrays your message better. The message does not need to be boiled down to one sentance. If it could you should write and give magic up. Just as a picture may be 1000 words, an magic trick can be 1,000,000, a video game is probably more.

To me there are very few out there who are true artists when it comes to our craft.
 
Feb 27, 2008
2,354
1
30
Grand prairie TX
I feel like magic is a little stuck, or perhaps magicians are. A definition of art could be: a mode of self expression. There are very few people in magic who use it as a means of self expression. Like music, dance, sculpture, painting, and video games, magic has the potential to move people in a way that other arts cannot. It takes a lot to transform it from a gag to an artistic expression.

In a way I disagree when Vernon says that an effect is only good if you can explain it in one sentence. An effect is good when no other medium portrays your message better. The message does not need to be boiled down to one sentance. If it could you should write and give magic up. Just as a picture may be 1000 words, an magic trick can be 1,000,000, a video game is probably more.

To me there are very few out there who are true artists when it comes to our craft.

This is exactly what I was getting at.
If people simply wait for someone to change magic or better it, then it will never happen. Because everyone is waiting for someone else to do it.
To begin movements we HAVE to push ourselves. We can't just wait for it to happen. When has waiting got anything done?
Sometimes, circumstances and life pushes you to it. forces itself on you. Just like America's conditions forced the 99% protestors to finally get out and stir the pot. The circumstances of being bullied and picked on pushed Thomas Hearns to learn boxing. And with that came his potential for greatness and put on the best boxing matches in history.
Magic(or magicians?) has become so stale that it has pushed me to begin something. To get people to crawl out of their webcam videos and into something more. To break out of the routine and devise something else. The time for change and to become better than yourself of yesterday is always now. Not tomorrow or eventually.
With cardistry and magic alike. Why should we not at least try?
 
Nov 8, 2007
1,248
3
This is exactly what I was getting at.
If people simply wait for someone to change magic or better it, then it will never happen.
But it will. History dictates the exact opposite of what you suggest is inevitable. It can't "never happen" because historically speaking it "always happens." Every art changes with its times and its revolutionaries.

Magic(or magicians?) has become so stale that it has pushed me to begin something. To get people to crawl out of their webcam videos and into something more. To break out of the routine and devise something else...
Pushed you to begin what though? Post a thread calling for others to do what you can't? Seems like you're doing exactly what you're claiming others shouldn't be doing--which is waiting for someone else to revitalize magic because you called for it.

I appreciate your enthusiasm for magic, and I acknowledge your insight into how magic has become a bit stagnant, but this thread is really just a bunch of shouting into the dark. As previously put forth, magic will change when its ready to catch up with the next great revolutionary of the art form. It always does and always will. Things have to get stale before they can be freshened up and revitalized. Posting a thread in a magic forum calling on others to make it happen while offering forth no solutions or ideas yourself isn't the way to bring it about though. If you really want to see things change like you say, follow your own advice and do it yourself. Come up with the next great idea and become the next big thing rather than waiting on others to make it happen. Perhaps take your own advice?
 
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Aug 17, 2010
411
4
In a way I disagree when Vernon says that an effect is only good if you can explain it in one sentence.

I think this misses the point - what I believe that Vernon was saying here is that the effect (not the routine) must be so direct as to be summed up in one sentence. For instance, "the aces turn face up, one at a time." Or "the coins travel from one hand to the other, unseen."

Captain Ahab could be described as "an insane amputee with a grudge against a whale," and that doesn't cheapen Moby Dick.

To begin movements we HAVE to push ourselves. We can't just wait for it to happen....Magic(or magicians?) has become so stale that it has pushed me to begin something. To get people to crawl out of their webcam videos and into something more.

I think that Mat LaVore is right on the money. What we can do, however, is master our craft. That will make us better prepared to innovate in a constructive manner, rather than take ill-advised shots in the dark. We should know more about our craft before we try to create blindly.

I don't think that magic is stagnant; I think that a lot of beginner to intermediates may stagnate as the focus to be original stunts their development (at the expense of learning great routines and assimilating the lessons from them).
 

Josh Burch

Elite Member
Aug 11, 2011
2,961
1,096
Utah
I think this misses the point - what I believe that Vernon was saying here is that the effect (not the routine) must be so direct as to be summed up in one sentence. For instance, "the aces turn face up, one at a time." Or "the coins travel from one hand to the other, unseen."

I agree, with you. I believe that's what Vernon meant to say as well. I could have used a better analogy here.
 
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