Where Magic Becomes Pure Beautiful Art

Nov 2, 2007
249
0
Norway
Why are people so obsessed with the art thing? Does it become more legitimate to play with cups and balls if it's considered art?
I mean you are already producing doves and candles out of thin air with pure skill. It's as legit as it can be.
 

WitchDocIsIn

Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
5,737
2,852
Why are people so obsessed with the art thing? Does it become more legitimate to play with cups and balls if it's considered art?
I mean you are already producing doves and candles out of thin air with pure skill. It's as legit as it can be.

Because a meaningless performance is completely unsatisfying for me.

I want to create art. Fooling people is simple. Almost anyone can fool people. I want to create meaningful experiences for my audiences.
 

Josh Burch

Elite Member
Aug 11, 2011
2,961
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Utah
Meaningless if it can't be labeled as art?

The original post talks about the performance being art. Some argue that it's not.

If it is art than it has the potential to communicate more than just entertainment.

Entertainment is not worse than art just less substantial.
 
Jul 13, 2009
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Entertainment is not worse than art just less substantial.

Isn't that just a more polite way of saying that entertainment is worse than art? Seeing as it has less substantial impact? Some could argue that Art is Entertainment. Some would agree that not all art is entertaining. But all would agree that entertainment is fun and memorable. Who hasn't been to Disneyland and brought back great, fun, memories? Is Disneyland art? No, it is an amusement park geared toward family entertainment with some artistic traits integrated within. Now look at an art museum. It is full of historical facts and exhibits of pure arts yet very little entertainment value to those not in an artful niche. SO, do you want to be Disneyland, a charismatic, personable, quirky, and fun performer who has some powerful artistic moments. Or would you rather be a museum, full of artistic demonstrations, purist, Fism magic act and generally forgettable?


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Aug 27, 2012
12
0
Florida
Art ? Art? - I believe if you look "art" up in a dictionary thinking " What does art have to do with magic you will be surprised. Now , look up "magic" and see how many times the word "art" is used to define magic. I hope by understanding the definitions of both you'll see the two word complement each other. If after reading the full definitions of both words you can't understand how Magic is Art you might want to join a different forum; but be carefull, by the very definition of " art " you'll wind up being an artist of some kind.
JUST MY OPINION- Take Care - magic.42
 
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RealityOne

Moderator
Nov 1, 2009
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New Jersey
Are we just talking BS here on the forums, or do we actually have a point when we say that patter/presentation/emotional hook are the most important part of an effect?

It is the difference between tricks and magic.

I think this routine is put together so well that it doesn't really need most of the things you mentioned.

***

I think your right, Toby, about whats 'important' in magic, but i think there's one more thing thats even more important, that you didnt mention. Simplicity. Although this routine is a quite complex idea, its performed simply. Like you said - 'we have a green light, the cards become green'. I think this routine is so visual, that, that is all it needs.

I have to disagree. It needs something more. As the routine was presented, my summary of it is "watch how I can change the color of cards repeatedly while I play with different colored light bulbs to justify my showing off." Creative? Yes. Technically difficult? Yes. Entertaining to anyone who hasn't spent years coddling a deck of cards in their hands... possibly. Art? No.

Simplicity isn't necessarily the goal. Clarity is the goal. Something that is complex can be wonderful if it is presented in a clear manner. Now let's examine if the routine achieved clarity... can anyone without watching the video again explain what happened in each phase? I didn't think so. Best you can do is that he changed the backs of the cards to match the lights which he kept moving around and then brought out more lights and cards and then made a the backs of six or seven cards change into the color of the rainbow and then spread the deck and it was a rainbow of colors. I wouldn't call that clarity, except for the last minute with the reveal of the rainbow.

Your spectator should be able to accurately explain your routine in a single sentence.

For instance Lennart Green has a wonderful FISM act that is compelling for magicians and layman alike.

Lennart is amazing, but I think that after a while his performance starts lose clarity too. It becomes he was this really eccentric guy who, despite having cards fly all over the place, did amazing things with the cards. His performance essentially becomes about what he can do with the cards.

Did he make sense of it, though? Why does the color change when near the light sometimes, but not others? Why does it change at all? I would contest that, while this routine is very well executed, it is a shining example of the pointlessness of modern magic. What is the point or meaning of any of this routine? It was done because he can do it. That's it. Same thing with the Rick Merrill routine. Sportscasting patter, no ultimate meaning or reason, just "look what I can do."

Why is one of the most important questions we can ask. Why does the magic happen? If the answer is, "Because I can" then go back to the drawing board.

Are you getting at what makes it artistic versus entertaining? I can see your point, and I would tend to agree. What kind of acts do you know that do a good job of pointing to a greater truth?

McBride, Burger, Tamariz, Neale, Haas, Anthony...

Most magic that I see is done because the person can do it. That is the depth and extent of the meaning behind it. I do think that there is a bit of a shift happening where people want to do more meaningful magic, I just don't know if I'm being hopeful, or if it will even actually happen.

I can only hope you aren't just being hopeful. For those that are seeking, there will always be those willing to help.

i think he did make sense of it. if he had just did all the same color changes without the lights, it would have been equally as impressive, but not nearly as good of a routine. by the way, im not sure what you mean by "pointlessness modern magic". does any magic have a point. think of the oldest, most classic magic trick: sawing a woman in half... why? what is the point of that? i think that the fact that magic doesnt have a point is what makes it great: we create the illusion that we can do anyting and then we live up to that expectation.

You have to put Sawing Through a Woman (as it was called by its creator, P.T. Selbit) into context. This was one of the the first time that a woman was used on stage as part of a magic act. During the 1920's woman were viewed differently - people to be protected. So to perpetrate a crime of this nature on a woman was shocking to say the least. The plot has all the elements - a danger, the rising tension as the sawing is conducted, the shocking revelation of the two halves and the ultimate conclusion of being magically restored. Or you could be Goldin who (after seeing Selbit's performance), in 1921 sawed a bellboy in half at the SAM convention and nobody cared because it was just a trick.

The problem is that most marketed magic DOESN'T have a point. It is just the trick. Nothing more. It is designed for a presentation of "look at what I can do." Most shows are a series of tricks thrown together one after another in a manner that would make Bullwinkle proud ("and now for something completely different"). If you are performing effects out of the box one after the other merely narrating what you are doing, that isn't art. It is a trick.

Art ? Art? - I believe if you look "art" up in a dictionary thinking " What does art have to do with magic you will be surprised. Now , look up "magic" and is how many times the word "art" is used to define magic.

Wait, nobody told me there was going to be homework.
 

Josh Burch

Elite Member
Aug 11, 2011
2,961
1,096
Utah
Who hasn't been to Disneyland and brought back great, fun, memories? Is Disneyland art? No, it is an amusement park geared toward family entertainment with some artistic traits integrated within. Now look at an art museum. It is full of historical facts and exhibits of pure arts yet very little entertainment value to those not in an artful niche. SO, do you want to be Disneyland, a charismatic, personable, quirky, and fun performer who has some powerful artistic moments. Or would you rather be a museum, full of artistic demonstrations, purist, Fism magic act and generally forgettable?

Is Disneyland art? Yes, absolutley. Is everything in a museum art? No. Historical significance is not connected to emotional impact.
 
Jul 13, 2009
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Is Disneyland art? Yes, absolutley. Is everything in a museum art? No. Historical significance is not connected to emotional impact.

May you explain to me how Disneyland is Art? Disneyland sure has original characters and is like stepping into a fantastical world. However, it isn't art oriented like a museum; instead it is focused toward entertainment and bringing their guests into a fantasy world of Disney's creation. Isn't that what you want your participants at your magic show to feel like? Also just a correction, an art museum is what I'm talking about, not just a museum. Art museum being a place where they focus on preserving and showcasing art and art styles through the ages. These museums are BORING, sure they have the niche crowd and art snobs, but generally aren't memorable by the general populace.
 

Josh Burch

Elite Member
Aug 11, 2011
2,961
1,096
Utah
May you explain to me how Disneyland is Art? Disneyland sure has original characters and is like stepping into a fantastical world. However, it isn't art oriented like a museum; instead it is focused toward entertainment and bringing their guests into a fantasy world of Disney's creation. Isn't that what you want your participants at your magic show to feel like? Also just a correction, an art museum is what I'm talking about, not just a museum. Art museum being a place where they focus on preserving and showcasing art and art styles through the ages. These museums are BORING, sure they have the niche crowd and art snobs, but generally aren't memorable by the general populace.

Disneyland's attractions connect with you on an emotional level. Emotion is the key.

I quote from earlier in the thread "My personal definition of art is this; the communication of how we feel". Disney inspires you to dream, it takes you to childhood, it makes a statement that we can do anything. On Splash Mt. we step into Brer Rabbits shoes when he is kidnapped and we feel his fear as we slowly are pulled up the lift hill. As the ride finishes we feel his relief as the characters sing Zippity Do Da and we are done plummeting.

Museums are full of interesting artifacts and paintings with historical significance. No where near all that is on display in a museum is art.
 

WitchDocIsIn

Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
5,737
2,852
Meaningless if it can't be labeled as art?

As I said, meaningless to me. I'm not here to dictate what other people should do, I only care about my own performances. That may seem selfish, but it's not. I believe everyone is entitled to express themselves in the ways they see fit.

If I do a performance (in a professional capacity) which I don't feel was artistic, it is not satisfying for me. I walk away from those gigs feeling depressed and angry. But when I take the time and effort to create something meaningful, to really connect with an audience and give them something special that will really last beyond my specific performance, I feel charged up and happy. That is my guiding star. I do what makes me feel happy because those are the shows that my audiences like the most.

Basically I think of my own experiences and figure other people must think along the same lines. For me, I never liked magic for most of my life. Growing up, all magic acts were interchangable. Some guy in a tuxedo pushed boxes around a stage, and those boxes would hide, produce or transform some woman in a sparkly outfit. Watching manipulation acts always left me thinking, "When are they going to get to the magic?"

I don't want my audiences to feel that. If they do, I failed as a performer.
 
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