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Topic: Is exposure wrong?
Message: Posted by: TheCigarPhysic (May 15, 2010 04:40PM)
Let me start by giving a little background. Many years ago I began learning magic by hanging out at the local magic shops, as well as reading everything I could on the subject. In my youth, did many small shows and venues (That I was paid for). Back in the late 70's to early 80's I got into the psychic fairs and events that were common around me and changed from doing magic shows to doing psychic readings, palm readings, tarot readings, etc. There have been a few magicians who felt it there duty to expose the "Trickery of the psychic's" and I myself have had a few sit across the table from me. Harry Houdini him self exposed many of the methods that psychic's and mediums use and seemed to have no problem with exposing the tricks.

To me, I have no issues with people exposing the methods of the tricks. Just because you know how it is done does not mean that you will see it done or that you will even catch the trickery in action. If anything, knowing how it is accomplished means that you can ignore the mechanics of the trick and concentrate on the magicians performance.

Back to the real question, do you feel that exposure is wrong because someone may catch how you do a trick? Do you think that someone knowing means that the trick is somehow no longer a good trick? I don't just ask if exposure is wrong but why you think it is wrong, what does it take away from you and have you ever experienced a time when an audience member called you out on a trick?
Message: Posted by: Jeff Corn (May 15, 2010 05:15PM)
Are you wanting to do "tricks" or perform magic? There's a big difference.
Message: Posted by: truthteller (May 15, 2010 05:46PM)
Are those the only two options?

What if someone wants to do something real?
Message: Posted by: TheCigarPhysic (May 15, 2010 08:28PM)
Jeff, what does that have to do with exposing how a magic trick works? The semantics of calling it "preforming magic" or "A trick" are irrelevant.

truthteller, Those are not the only two options. I am asking for others to justify in a statement as to what they believe and why. If you believe that exposure is wrong then state why.

public Exposure seems to be Ok in some instances, not ok in others. Some times it is ok because one person does it but not when some one else, etc. If you think it is wrong to expose how a trick works then lets here why.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 15, 2010 08:46PM)
For who, when, and how can one verify this? without a clear definition, a procedure for transferring data under acceptable terms and a verification procedure or even a test - it's just words typed and without merit of serious consideration.

for our newbies - look up Popper and the notions of verification and falsification. An (all x are y) statement can be shown to be false by finding one x that is not also y. The verification notion is also relatively new - that a thing which one cannot verify - ie has no distinct consequences - does not add to ones working model or universe of discourse in matters requiring evidence.

okay now for the barb. why is citing publicly available material considered exposure here in this tiny community yet considered trivia suitable for show and tell almost everywhere else in society? Just what is the source of emotional loading on this notion of 'exposure' which exists only within our community yet had no meaning to those whose ability to properly perceive our works is compromised by such? Now that you're in a corner of the box - all I ask is whether you feel the box builder has your best interests at heart.

I guess we could replace the word "secret" in our little community with "product" or "gossip" and move on.
Message: Posted by: Jeff Corn (May 15, 2010 11:02PM)
The words aren't irrelevant. A trick is only as complex as the method. It's point is to fool someone. Magic isn't the art of showing that you're "cooler" than someone else. It's about actually causing a moment for someone to remember and is far more than just "some stupid trick".

Truthteller, those probably aren't the only options, but the two that are most easily understandable.


Here's the problem with exposure, it dumbs magic down to being nothing more than a trick. The method is all that's explained when something's exposed. The other issue is that the people so interested in exposing magic are generally those that have given up on trying to perform magic. "Those that can't DO, teach." Not to mention that when people know the secrets, they seem to assume that there is no other reasons to watch. They don't get any entertainment out of it and instead blow it off as something silly that only kids do.
Message: Posted by: TheCigarPhysic (May 15, 2010 11:44PM)
Sorry Jeff, I was using trick as a description of the underlying method not a description of the action. Heck, even your web site lists props as "Tricks". At the heart of every magic performance is trickery. If it were not there, it would be called a one man play.

I can understand your point of view, however, from my experience the people that know how something is done enjoy the performance. They do not discount everything as something silly. People love to be surprised, scared, and even tricked.

When I think of exposing magic I tend to think of people like Houdini and Randy. BTW, I bet 99% of the public that watched the masked magician could not tell you a single thing he exposed. Heck they can not even remember what there senators did but they vote for them.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (May 17, 2010 07:27PM)
Perhaps, but you can rest assured that, if they are in your audience when you do an effect they saw exposed, not only will it all come back to them, but they will have a grand time telling their friends over a beer...
Message: Posted by: TheCigarPhysic (May 17, 2010 08:51PM)
The simple fact that there are billions of methods that have been written about, more effects than any one person can remember, and multiple ways of doing a single effect. It Just means that what he may think is the method used is more than likely not. Add to this that people tend to see what they want and others there will argue that it could not have been that way because they saw xxxxx. Think about the way an actual effect looks and the way a lay person describes it.

You should also to take into account that some one who is not interested in magic will watch a show like the masked magician or read a book about magic and he or she may remember one method out of the whole book. If I hand you a book on auto repair and you read though it, do you think you would be able to tell what is wrong with your car when it will not start? How about a year later? Better yet, how many magic secrets have you read the method of, and how many do you remember how to do? Like learning a foreign language, if you do not use it in every day life you will more than likely forget it.

Heck, if we follow the logic of "Once it is revealed they will remember it when they see it" then three card monty is the most useless trick, just because EVERYONE knows how it works. So doing three card monty on the street means that no one will bet on it?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 17, 2010 09:51PM)
I once got the most amazing response from a layman after doing a card trick. She said I was very good - and I said thanks - then she said I know you are palming the cards - but you are doing it so well that they don't get bent.

So I tested their belief by doing a trick or two using the Tabled Palm to directly effect visual changes.

She then responded - that's impossible - and said nothing more about cards in my hands.

At issue here is not whether they know how it's actually done but instead that they believe they understand something about the hidden machinery behind the tricks. So why, I ask you, do you think it's okay to give them accurate reports and access to how we do tricks?
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (May 18, 2010 06:31AM)
You asked a specific question, and I attempted to answer. You didn't say you wanted it for the basis to argue. Poor form!

I find your logic a bit shallow. Reading a book on auto repair to seeing and hearing how a magic trick is done are on totally different levels. Further, one does not have to remember exactly how the trick is done to ruin it for the magician and spectators. Third, 3 card monte is a GAMBLING trick. They WANT you to think you know, but knowing is not the same as seeing where the queen went. It is a con.

You have a right to your opinion as do I. But, if your mind is already made up on the topic, why ask?

Jim
Message: Posted by: TheCigarPhysic (May 18, 2010 05:34PM)
Mandarin, Sorry If I was not clear. My intent was to discuss why people think exposure is bad. I did overstep last night in my response. Sorry about that.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 18, 2010 08:23PM)
[quote]
On 2010-05-15 17:40, TheCigarPhysic wrote:... do you feel that exposure is wrong because someone may catch how you do a trick?
Do you think that someone knowing means that the trick is somehow no longer a good trick? I don't just ask if exposure is wrong but why you think it is wrong, what does it take away from you and have you ever experienced a time when an audience member called you out on a trick?
[/quote]

IMHO
1) no. most folks are too polite to play "catch me" and I don't invite that dynamic.

2) yes - exactly - the lingering sense of wanting to know vs just accepting as show is an important component of our craft. It's all about moving from secrets to mysteries - where our gift to them is a mystery they can enjoy describing to others.

By way of argument I point the serious student to Greg Egan's story TAP. Just what is the difference between knowing and ... ?
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (May 19, 2010 07:33AM)
No worries, mate! Soon as I get some time, I will try to give a more detailed response to your question.

Jim
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 19, 2010 08:56AM)
The question is "should magic fool people?" I think the answer must be yes to this, or you are doing something other than magic. I hope we agree magic should fool people.

So the greater question is "does exposure stop you from fooling people?" I argue that no it does not. I have seen people who know full well the monte is a scam and fall for it. Fake psychics, tarrot cards, and all sorts of scams people have watched documentaries on FALL FOR THEM! Who has more involved in wanting to remember a scam than a guy with 300 buckarinos on it?

The point is that there has been and is a dedicated effort to expose these and yet somehow they still rake in the money. Heck they are against the law and manage to live thrive and survive. My lord we are allowed to ADVERTISE!

Faith healers have had many a movie made on the process, yet they live on!

So magic can survive and will survive and I contend has not been hurt. It takes work but anything worthwhile does.

So "is exposure wrong?" I think yes it is wrong. I think in an ideal world secrets would remain secret. But remember that if they were, you would have to do 100% of things alone and every generation would start at ground ZERO. We become better than generations which preceded us because we stand on their shoulders, not simply because we ARE better.
Message: Posted by: funsway (May 19, 2010 08:13PM)
[quote]
On 2010-05-19 09:56, Dannydoyle wrote:
The question is "should magic fool people?" I think the answer must be yes to this, or you are doing something other than magic. I hope we agree magic should fool people.
[/quote]
I do not agree at all -- neither that the purpose of performance magic is to fool people, nor that you are "doing magic" as a performing magician. Magic happens in the mind of the spectator for any number of reasons -- some never intended by the performer. Many of the best effects presented in a hope of kindling a "magic" response do not fool at all -- rather they state exactly what will happen and then deliver. When you place a ball on the table and cover it with a cup you are promising that something is going to happen to the ball. You built anticipation followed by surprise as to the form of the result, but nobody is fooled. If you claimed to be a magician and then played a trombone you would be fooling people.

the problem with exposure and with the question here is that it focuses on "the trick" or the mechanics when they are a minor part of the magic experience. When a spectator asks, "How did you do that," showing him the trick or mechanics does 'fool' him into thinking you have answered his question. He will either lose respect for you or for magic as an art. Even worse, after revealing an effect you will feel compelled to run out and purchase some other 'trick' rather than working on presentation or understanding your audience. Thus, by exposing tricks either by 'telling' or 'bad performance' you corrupt your ability to establish the rapport that good magic requires.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hallahan (May 19, 2010 10:03PM)
Funsway wwrote:
[quote]
I do not agree at all -- neither that the purpose of performance magic is to fool people, nor that you are "doing magic" as a performing magician. Magic happens in the mind of the spectator for any number of reasons -- some never intended by the performer.
[/quote]
Dannydoyle didn't write that "the purpose of performance magic is to fool people," he wrote "magic [i]should[/i] fool people." I agree with him. When he used the term "magic," in his sentence, he was obviously referring to what the performer does to create the magical experience in the spectator's mind. That is one of many legitimate definitions of [i]magic[/i].

A magician's purpose is to astonish one or more spectators by, in a convincing fashion, to seemingly do the impossible. This is done to entertain the spectator. The spectator is aware they are being deceived, but have no idea how they are being deceived.

Without deceiving the audience, there will be no audible gasps, no dropped jaws, or no stunned silence. Theatrical magic is fine, e.g. the Harry Potter series, and it can move people's emotions, but mere theatrical magic is not what magicians aspire to create.

Deception is necessary for a [i]magic show[/i], and the audience must be fooled by the deception. If a spectator knows the secret, then he or she will not be astonished by the effect that was supposed to have been a magical effect.
Message: Posted by: TheCigarPhysic (May 19, 2010 10:33PM)
I have been thinking about this quite a bit. funsway, you bring up a good point. I was thinking that it boils down to how you present the effect.

A great example is Bob Cassidy memorizing a deck of cards. I watched him do this and run through the cards stating who was holding which card. It is a great effect and he does it to perfection. Now, after watching him do this, I never once thought "How did he do that" I took his stage explanation. He gave a perfectly plausible explanation as to what was happening and even with the explanation the effect left you in ah. Take that same trick and change the patter to a simple statement of "I can memorize this deck of cards in 15 seconds" then do the effect with out the patter as to how you are doing it. The immediate thoughts of the spectator will be one of "How did he do that trick" The simple fact that a person is left wondering how an effect is accomplished is enough for them to start looking and with the internet it is easier than ever to find out.

I do agree that good magic requires rapport, it also requires that the magician suspend the disbelief of the spectator to the point that the effect is accepted. Even when they know the mechanics of the trick. I have used some very old and commonly known card tricks to show both my psychic abilities as well as the abilities of the tarot deck to absorb and radiate energies. It sounds funny to say it here but in the context of a tarot reading it is accepted as a display of the powers of the reader or the cards. This in a setting where the spectator stands to loose nothing by stating and exposing you as a fraud and everything to gain (There money back)

This is one reason that I don't have an issue with exposure. If you can get some one to believe that something magical happened when you do the "What do you want to bet the next card I turn over is yours" routine (Sorry, did not know what else to call it) then even the exposed tricks can be used and exposure is less of a problem.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hallahan (May 19, 2010 10:47PM)
TheCigarPhysic,

Your example of memorizing cards isn't magic at all, it's a demonstration of skill. So, it doesn't apply. (And, there are even contests where people really do memorize decks of cards).

People can be astonished by great skill, but it's not the same type of astonishment as when a magician seemingly does something that the spectator previously thought to be impossible.

Once the spectator knows how it's done, they will no longer be able to experience it as being impossible, and that qualitatively changes the experience of a magic routine. That is the harm exposure can cause.
Message: Posted by: funsway (May 20, 2010 07:04AM)
Bill says, "that qualitatively changes the experience of a magic routine." This is an interesting hook on which to hang our evaluation, for there is nothing that can say that the new experience is "bad" or "worse" than the original experience -- only different. Cigar seems to be offering that the new expereince may be "better" than the original, while we can all find examples in which a given spectator's response seems deminished. But that view is subjective to our needs, isn't it? If spectators cease to be amazed or astounded by our effects then we have to find new effects or a new audience. Just doing an effect a second time may be equivalent to exposure -- and doing an effect poorly certainly is. But the exposure is not of the mechanics of the 'trick' but of our "being less than expected." In our performances we provide hope that the seeming impossible in our lives cvan be ourwitted or overcome. By demonstration sin an entertaining (no fear) manner we might encourage a spectaor to view his own personal problems in a different light. By exposing ourselves as simple mechanics of trickery we decrease our ability to astonish and "make light of problems." It's no different than discovering your accountant is a gambler or your marriage counselor has a mistress -- we loose trust. To casually reveal the mechanical part of what we do demeans the more artistic parts.

If a person "wants" to know how an effect is done they have mnmay avenues to accomplish this -- "want" being an active verb. Do not deprive a person of the adventure or thrill of discovery or "sense of awe" by making the task too easy. In a simplistic sense the only difference between a magcian and a lay person is that the magician is willing to work at doing things the lay person is not. The difference is "effort" and not "knowing."

Check out Tim Feher's recent post of doing "Oil and Water" for his son. Knowing how to do the effect does not deminish the appreciation of the magic at all -- just makes you envious of the work he put in to be able to do this impromptu.
Message: Posted by: edh (May 20, 2010 08:14PM)
How many here think that if laymen are exposed to a method in one context. Then the magician wraps the same trick in a different context. Would the laymen still recognize the method? I would say no.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 20, 2010 08:46PM)
[quote]
On 2010-05-19 21:13, funsway wrote:
[quote]
On 2010-05-19 09:56, Dannydoyle wrote:
The question is "should magic fool people?" I think the answer must be yes to this, or you are doing something other than magic. I hope we agree magic should fool people.
[/quote]
I do not agree at all -- neither that the purpose of performance magic is to fool people, [/quote]

I have to admit I stopped right here. If you don't want to fool people DON'T USE MAGIC AS A MEDIUM! My lord all the pontification in the world does not change the fact that the word magic has a meaning and an implied meaning to an audience and as such carries the EXPECTATION of being FOOLED!

It is possible you just think way too much. Shakespear was right about brevity.

Use all the words you want to try to couch things in terms that make you comfortable, but if you are not on some level fooling people they do not think of you as a magician. This should be a pretty basic concept.

Much the same as unless you actually paint something, people will not consider you a painter. Every great chef must cook at least one edible meal. At some point a magician who does not "fool" people will not be thought of as one of the greatest magicians.

How can anyone not agree with this? (oh that was a rhetorical question, please don't burry me in words I don't have the strength)
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (May 20, 2010 08:56PM)
I think it would depend upon the complexity of the effect. Say you expose loops, for example. I think it would be pretty hard to do any in-the-hand levitations, regardless of what you were "levitating". Further, any levitation would have those specs thinking of invisible thread, wire, etc. So, instead of enjoying the magic, they are trying to figure our how it relates to invisible gimmicks.

This makes it harder for the spec to "suspend disbelief", and the harder that is, the less magical the performance. Say, for example, a Harry Potter movie was produced that showed a panned-out video, so that you could see the cameraman, microphones, lights, etc. Would that lessen the magic of the movie?
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 20, 2010 09:13PM)
So you think giving credit for those things at the end of the movie is wrong?

Or do you perhaps think that while the movie is going on people do not really think that stuff is happening?

Perhaps instead of asking them to believe or disbelieve it is just better to let them watch.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 20, 2010 09:22PM)
[quote]
On 2010-05-20 08:04, funsway wrote:...
... Knowing how to do the effect does not deminish the appreciation of the magic at all -- just makes you envious of the work he put in to be able to do this impromptu.
[/quote]

Lost is that sense of wonder about what impossible thing is happening somewhere that permits the effect to happen.

Folks, kindly stop posing about things like appreciating skill, technique, dedication, sleight of hand etc. in this context. If that's all you want become a craftsman and show your furniture or painting or a juggler and let them appreciate your skill. Magic requires something else. If that "something else" is a mystery to you then perhaps you'd be better off at some other performing art. No mystery - no magic. It's not about secrets but instead about leaving them with a mystery to savor and describe to others.
Message: Posted by: funsway (May 21, 2010 06:30AM)
Why so judgmental, Jonathan? For me "appreciation" of magic (and anything) is the ability to retain that "sense of wonder" separate for a personal view of what is "possible." If you have lost that I am sorry. Every spectator brings to the table a sense of awe and wonder from life experience that a magician can kindle with an effect, a storyteller can caress with words ans other artists with their media. Knowing how something is technically accomplished does not destroy that sense of wonder -- it is still ready to be prodded by a different effect -- or the same one in a different setting. The key is the ability to be present in the here and now for a particular performer and a specific effect -- the ability to suspend prior bias as well as disbelief. That is appreciation.

For the effect described I "know how it is done" from reading, but had never seen Oil and Water performed -- and was able to allow myself to be present for the experience. The only mystery is where your sense of awe and wonder went. Perhaps if I perform for another 50 years I will loose it too.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 21, 2010 07:30AM)
I have to ask, is magic and performance the primary way in which you earn income?
Message: Posted by: funsway (May 21, 2010 09:20AM)
[quote]
On 2010-05-21 08:30, Dannydoyle wrote:
I have to ask, is magic and performance the primary way in which you earn income?
[/quote]

guess that is meant for me, not not sure why that is relevant. Currently, it is the way that I earn discretionary income. For more than forty years as a business consultant, magic was a part of what I used to change the perceptions of thousands of business owners -- so, in that sense, yes, but probably not what you would consider "performance magic" as it was all 'one-on-one' presentations or appreciation. Often the owner would use the word "magic" to describe something related to their business, then I would expore what that meant to them. Whether I thought it was a 'sense of wonder' was irrelevant, while their perceptions was vital. Most often I would use a magic effect to guide them to a solution they had never considered before. Since this new approach came from their own lips they could not argue with it.

Do I do magic effects for entertainment? Rarely. Instead I am focusing on innovating new effects that others can use effectively. So, in a sense magicians are my audience, and the fact that they "know how" is not a limitation to appreciating something new.

Is "magic" the primary way I produce income -- absolutely.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 21, 2010 04:48PM)
Kindly do not presume upon what folks believe etc and from that go on to offer pity and worse. It's just short of flaming.

Let's proceed form a shared concern that our tricks work as designed for audiences.

Here's a link: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=365094&forum=217&3 to some explorations designed to help us learn when our trickery works. It's not quite proper experimental design for real publishable science but you can extend the procedure to get there. :)

Can you honestly say here that your coin pass works well enough for others to reliably choose the wrong hand when you offer them the contents of either hand? Can you honestly say here that you have successfully (not) placed a few silver coins in a bag and then shown a few pennies in your hand and offered them a choice between the coins in your hand or the coins in the bag and have audiences reliably choose what's in the bag? Without that kind of functioning basic machinery of deception - there can be no magic.

I'll review the Feher video. I was given the impression the kid was just enjoying the "doing" rather than being surprised by the magical outcomes. I would be happy to be wrong about that one. And I like that Feher put's some of his work up for display.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 22, 2010 07:36AM)
Jonathan, lets define "our audiences". Once we do that we can move along.

There is a HUGE difference in audiences that have paid money to see a magic show, and those who you are doing tricks for with other intents.

Notice how I do not claim one is better than the other, or one is right or another wrong, simply different with different goals.
Message: Posted by: funsway (May 22, 2010 10:08AM)
[quote]
On 2010-05-22 08:36, Dannydoyle wrote:
There is a HUGE difference in audiences that have paid money to see a magic show, and those who you are doing tricks for with other intents.
[/quote]

I readily agree, but would suggest there is third classification of those who apply the word "magic" to observed phenomena when there is no intent to do a trick. I would venture that an average American uses the word "magic" several times a day -- innundated my advertising, early learning and lazy thinking (opinion). Some of those mental images may include a sense of awe and wonder, while other simply have an expectation of "other than ordinary." As performers we might like to pretend that all magical responses include awe, mystery, paradox, dilemma, etc.,and this might be true of paying audiences. For more casual engagments, however, you have to work with what the spectator brings to the table with as few assumptions as possible. I would humbly suggest that some audience training is required in an early effect to get the spectator's attention and align their thoughts with our 'higher order' of magic experience -- then perform an effect that might create a lasting memory of astonishment. If you do not have the spectaor's attention there can be no magic.

When magic effects are used in a teaching venue, or to enhance a story, or to create a 'lemma' against which to compare a concept; then a sense of wonder or mystery might be deminished. My experience is that such efforts serve to sustain attention for the main theme more than mystify.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 22, 2010 10:19AM)
Funsway, the average product of our educational system uses the word "think" when they mean "feel" and "want" when they mean "desire". Let us not pander to such, please.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 22, 2010 12:08PM)
So then if the audience is different, and the magic is different, then perhaps if you make it clear which you are pontificating about. I am afraid the idea that magic does not have to fool people in the performance of a magic act is not going to fly.
Message: Posted by: funsway (May 22, 2010 02:19PM)
Perhaps if you had read my previous post it would be clear. I have made no statements that could remotely be consider pontificating. In response to your fairly universal statement that fooling people is essential to magic, I offer a different view based on my personal experience in thousands of situations in which "magic" occured in the mind of the spectator but no 'fooling' occured, nor was my intent to fool anyone. I am sharing those experiences in support of the theme "is exposure wrong." I believe that exposure makes too many assumptions about what the audience thinks, feels wants or expect

We all have to make assumptions about the audience before us. You appear to prefer the idea that they wish to be fooled. Jonathan seems to offer that they are confused about what they feel or think or want out of magic. I prefer to make as few assumptions as possible and offer effects that can get me and the audience on the same side -- magic on the other. It is just semantics, I guess -- but if I tell the audience exactly what will occur and it does, they might be amazed but hardly fooled. There is nothing to "fly." Other readers can read what has been presented and make up their own minds -- or emotions.

However, if you wish to restrict "performance magic" to planned performances before a paying audience I will agree that fooling them is a formula that ussually works, but would suggest a variety of effects to accomodate those who did not come to be fooled. Just an opinion -- since I never charge for my performances I am only guessing.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 22, 2010 07:15PM)
I could think of few things more disapointing than paying money to see a magic act that did not fool me.
Message: Posted by: funsway (May 23, 2010 06:44AM)
Well Danny, you have the right to feel you were fooled any time you wish, and (as notred earlier) buying a ticket to a magic show sets you up to be fooled -- or deceived I think is better, But consider your own quote, "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act...".George Orwell

A magician can tell the truth but the audience won't beleive him so they are deceived. A magician may demonstrate a litle known scientific principle and the some in the audience may apply the label "magic" to what they see -- deceiving themselves. But in neither case is it the intention of the magician to fool anyone -- even worse, to make a spectator feel foolish. And, of course, not all magic is done by an announced magician before a paying audience.

Why don't we look for those parts of "exposure" on which we can agree?

If you were to offer that magic is about "deception" I would agree, understanding the the performer creates the conditions under which such deceptions might occur -- but doesn't 'cause' them to happen. Any sense of deception and or magic occurs in the mind of the spectator and is reletive their prior experience and expectations.

Staying on theme, I agree with you that exposure may not effect the spectator's propensity to be deceived at all, but may have an influence on the performer's ability to do his part with a straight face. A fear of exposure may undermine a performer's confidence.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 23, 2010 02:24PM)
No. First we need to figure out a language, and from what "experience" we are speaking from. Then we can see what we agree upon or not. You want to skip this very important step and just pontificate using lots of words, which make for long posts to read, but have little relevance across the board. Matter of fact if we are just talking about magic like you seem to be, I don't think it has any relevance in any way shape matter or form to my life, so talking about it at all is a waste of time.
Message: Posted by: funsway (May 23, 2010 03:10PM)
You could always just quit reading my posts then. If it wastes your time you need not comment at all. I have shared what 'experience' I come from. Others may find that of value even if you do not.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 24, 2010 06:32AM)
I still have major trouble with a magician who does not think that fooling people is part of the equasion. It is one of those strange sentences that just can not make sense.

Write all the words you choose to, pontificate and disect things to the smallest degree and right where the rubber meets the road how can you say magic is being performed if you do not fool anyone?

I do think people can benifit from this idea, just not the way you seem to think.
Message: Posted by: funsway (May 24, 2010 07:48AM)
It is wearisome to be continuously misquoted. I have never said that deception is not part of the magic 'equation' -- only that it is not the entire equation. I have been in thousands of situations in which a spectator has used the word "magic" to describe a phenomena where there was no attempt to 'fool' on my part, nor any sense of 'being fooled' on their part. It is their words, not mine.

You suggested that the type of audience must be considered as part of the equation, and I have agreed that peforming magic effects before a paying audience alwasy includes some degree of deception. But when the spectator is caught unawares, does not know that you are a magician or you tell them exactly what is going to happen as a demonstration there is not necessarily any 'fooling' going on. Magic can cause many emotions in the mind of the viewer -- and deception is one of them -- but not the only one.

By the way, you might look up what "pontificate" means since you seem to be in love with the word. I am not telling anyone how they should think, just countering your statement that 'fooling' always has to occur in a magic effect. "Always" is an all inclusive word that requires only one exception to invalidate it. So, your claim is "mostly true" -- but not always. I can say "magic can be performed without 'fooling' occuring" because I have the experience to back it up. Perhaps you can provide the studies, research or personal experience which supports your opinion hat even 'most' magic requires 'fooling people'. Otherwise it is just your opinion.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 24, 2010 09:21AM)
So you want to parse words? Really? Is that the point? Wow. I have felt that this is the last resort of a weak position. Heck I have ALWAYS thought that to give you something to do.

Oh and I have better than 20 years working for paying people, and the last 15 with 250 shows a year PLUS. So does this make my opinion more or less 'valid'?

Oh here is the word I am looking for thanks for pointing it out. Bloviating is what you are doing.

Yea we can have the 'magic is in the smile of a child' discussion and no "fooling" has taken place. Great. Whoo hooo. How does this get us any closer to anything about exposure?

The idea that in performance of magic there does not need to be a moment of "oh how did that happen?" seems to miss the point of magic.

Here is what the dictionary says about magic and magicians.
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/magician
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/magic

They seem to think the word "illusions" is part of the equasion. Look up that word and you get to the misled decieved aspect.
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/illusions

I am just working with what they seem to say.
Message: Posted by: funsway (May 24, 2010 10:02AM)
Great -- and the word "fool" is never cited once. You may choose to treat "illusion" and "fool" as meaning the same thing -- I do not.

there is nothing cited that "seems to say" that "all" magic effects must contain deception or illusion. My only objection has been attempting to expand the concept of "some" into "all"

perhasp the most widely performed magic effect is during a Catholic Mass. Here a performer says some magic words and change a piece of bread and some wine into something else. It is a matter of beleif or faith as to what the 'something' is, but there is no deception ot 'fooling' going on. Many magcians do repetitions of this effect as "any drink called for" or "baking a cake in a hat," that do involve deception and illusion. This quandary let to performance magic being prohibited in mnay places in Medieval Europe. It was only when magicians 'exposed' their trickery that stage performances were allowed. However, the amount of illusion or fooling is relative to the experience and beliefs of the viewer -- not that of the performer.

but the fact ramains that not all of what people consider that magic is based on 'fooling' either the mind or the eye.

If you were to say, "For the sake of discussion let us pretend that the type of magic we as performers wish to explore always involves some element of deception or illusion" I will agree and find out what you think that has to do with exposure -- the theme of this thread.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 24, 2010 10:46AM)
Now you wish to take an article of faith for some and equate it with some idiotic magic trick?

Now let me parse words as you have really stepped over a line for many. To many what happens at a Catholic Mass during the Eucherist is a MIRACLE. A Sacrament. The difference is that nobody is trying to decieve anyone in Mass. It is a shared article of faith PERIOD. To say anything more is offensive.

They do not consider it magic, they consider it a miracle. Maybe this is why the prohibition of talking religion huh? Again this is bloviating on your part.

You like to parse words and that is cool. You have the luxury of sitting around and not having to worry if magic fools people or entertains people. You have the luxury of not having to fool people, without making a fool of them. You can bloviate all you like and if you are wrong, well you will probably never find out anyhow. Performers who feed the family with the funds made by performance have no such luxury.

When you get to that point you have to worry more than just the theory of it. It must work. See I like to train dogs. I learned from some great trainers. It is not how I feed my family. Some things I do with my dogs may or may not work with other dogs. My experience is limited to just my dogs. I don't have to worry if the techniques work with any other dogs. I may help others, or whatever but right where the rubber meets the road it is not that big a deal if I am right or wrong. If my friend is wrong, he loses his whole life.

What I am trying to tell you is that you have to come up with a method of working and thinking that "most" of the people who come to the show enjoy. Never going to hit them all, but gotta hit most of them. Since people come to a magic show with the idea that they will be fooled, if you like food with your meals you had darn well better fool them.

The rest, is bloviating in my view.
Message: Posted by: funsway (May 24, 2010 11:20AM)
So, now you have come down to a reasonable suggestion --

That those magicians performing for paying audiences it is essential to make certain assumptions about the audience. One of these is that most of the spectators expect to be deceived or fooled in some manner -- and enjoy it.

Since it is impossible to determine exactly what the spectators think this is as good an assumption as any -- a workable one at any rate. Now -- what does that have to do with exposure? Does an increase in understanding of the technical aspects of a trick increase or decrease the desire of the audience to be fooled?

Then, of course, there are other types of performances in which you do not have a paying audience and the same assumptions may not hold true. Perhaps the most valid one is that most people like to be entertained as long as it doesn't take much thought on their part -- which is why you don't want to set up next to a balloonist.

Assuming that you have extensive experience with various audiences in a performing venue based on your assumption, I would be interested in your views on how exposure applies. I was also hoping for the views of others.

I thank you for some of your views so far as I will change some of my explanations in some of the books I am writing -- which is a source of my livelyhood.
Message: Posted by: TheCigarPhysic (May 24, 2010 02:58PM)
The question here is not "Does an effect fool the audience" The question is about exposure ruining the effect. To me exposure is not an issue, it is the presentation that makes the effect magic/believable not the mechanics of the effect.

3000 years ago if you cast a stick down and it turned into a snake it was believed because the gods that gave you the power.

2000 years ago if you converted water into wine or pulled bread from a basket it was believable because you claim to be the son of god. (BTW, I have a degree in Theology. It is known that during the time of Christ there were 6 others making the same claims and many preformed similar miracles. Do no take this as me knocking your beliefs.)

1000 years ago if you changed a silver ring into a gold ring it was believable because you were an alchemist.

100 years ago if you told the future and caused the dead to speak and ring bells it was believable because you were a medium.

All of these effects can be done today but with out a reason for the person to believe they are left with "Wow that was a great trick, I wonder how s/he did it" Here in lies the issue.

Bob Cassidy and his memorizing the cards is a card trick, wrapped in the belief that it is a demonstration of skill. If you think he really is memorizing the cards in 15 sec then you have been fooled by a master.

How many people remember the speed reading guys in the 80's. They had infomercials selling speed reading courses. They would run through a book in a matter of seconds and then toss the book out to the audience. Through some seemingly random selection of page and paragraph they would recite word for word what was in the paragraph. Everyone I know thought it was amazing and that anyone could learn how to do it. The truth was, it was a book test wrapped in a believable story.

It seems to me, from reading through the threads, that the ones who rely on the trick get upset over the exposure of the mechanics and the ones that know how to work an audience do not worry about it as much.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (May 24, 2010 03:32PM)
So, if you have a really good presentation, why work on sleight of hand at all? Just do it right out of the box and let your presentation save you. Matter of fact, why do magic at all? The late George Carlin could do two hours stand up without one trick, and kill...
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 24, 2010 07:19PM)
Even though you are being disengenuous you have a poi
nt.
Message: Posted by: Lawrence O (Jun 10, 2010 01:32PM)
To release a bit of the tension in tis interesting thread, I would answer the provocative question of the thread with another question: is it wrong to make love without protection when you have aids?
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 11, 2010 11:43AM)
Wow, Lawrence, if that is the way you release tension I would hate to see you be provocative... :)

Certainly to say it is not wrong would be an egoist perspective, or perhaps even solipsistic. If self is the most important thing, or even the only thing, how does one care what happens to others?

Of course I am assuming you mean with someone who is not likewise afflicted and/or without their full knowledge...
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Jun 11, 2010 01:32PM)
I tend to disagree with Maskelyne and Devant on this. They felt "secrets" were irrelevant, and wanted their magic appreciated for its theatrical artistry--the more the audience knew about how their magic worked, the more they would appreciate it artisitically.

I think this is a magician's sort of appreciation, which should be different from the spectator's.

We want the spectator to be left on the horns of a dilemma, we need them to be fooled by our deception, or else they can release themselves from the dilemma. If anyone tells them the secret, their dilemma is resolved, and they can forget the event.

If the audience is even sufficiently informed about the technology of deception we use, they will not be overwhelmed and astonished by the dilemma in a way that is possible with someone who has no idea what is possible with trickery.

I think exposure is bad, but fighting it is tilting at windmills. I wait for the current overexposure of magic in general to fade, and then the fad of exposure will fade as well.
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Jun 11, 2010 04:04PM)
Is exposure wrong?

Depends on the context.

Houdini exposing supposed Psychics is not wrong.

The Masked Magician spoiling the fun for people watching Magic is wrong.

Imho...
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 12, 2010 07:03AM)
[quote]
On 2010-06-11 14:32, Whit Haydn wrote:

I think exposure is bad, but fighting it is tilting at windmills. I wait for the current overexposure of magic in general to fade, and then the fad of exposure will fade as well.
[/quote]

I think tilting at windmills now and then can be a good thing. My experience has been that waiting for things to get better usually does not work. Check out Mariano's video in this section... inspirational, at least.

Motivational Video Against Exposure (MarianoG)

Jim
Message: Posted by: aechecop (Jul 2, 2010 06:14AM)
Great video... don't see it having a great impact on exposure though. Inspirational? For sure.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jul 4, 2010 10:16AM)
Could save a lot of time here if folks looked up the term [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apologetics]apologetics[/url] and then the word [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apology]apology[/url]. Some might come to consider that [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Devil%27s_Dictionary]Ambrose Beirce's work[/url] was redacted. ;)

Yes, you can think of words as trick cards.

Now that we've had our little bit of exposure to language as method of concealing meaning (gasp) - what would we proffer to those we seek to entertain?
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Aug 4, 2010 02:48PM)
[quote]
On 2010-06-11 17:04, Pakar Ilusi wrote:
Is exposure wrong...The Masked Magician spoiling the fun for people watching Magic is wrong...
[/quote]

I'd like to add to this (I don't disagree with anyone here).

Years ago, I bought Prohibition. I LOVED it. I picked up the skill quickly, and was very successful in frying people with it. It became my favorite effect, and it had cost me around $30.

Then, The Masked Moron....er, sorry..."Magician", exposed it on national TV. It ruined the trick for a lot of people. 3 out of 4 times, I would hear, "He has a ****** on his ******, I saw it on the Magician with a Mask Show!" or something similar.

I believe that trick was Charlie Justice's invention. Can you imagine what HE thought, after seeing this? What would he say? Was it right/wrong? If I originally came up with such an effect, and old MM exposed it on National TV...I'd be crushed. That's just me, though. I'm with Pakar on this one. OK, my rant is done...sorry guys, continue! :innocent:

Doug
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Aug 4, 2010 04:30PM)
Yeah, okay, but did you go and learn Ramsay's coin in jam jar routine?
Message: Posted by: Micheal Leath (Aug 5, 2010 01:34AM)
First, I only quickly read through this thread.

It seems that there are some who think you don't have to fool someone for it to be magic. Maybe that's the problem with a lot of magicians today. No wonder they are so bad.

Now, that's not directed at anyone in particular, so don't take offense.
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Aug 5, 2010 02:21PM)
[quote]
On 2010-08-04 17:30, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Yeah, okay, but did you go and learn Ramsay's "Coin In Jam Jar" routine?
[/quote]

I'm afraid not, Jon. I have a very limited knowledge of Ramsey. Never even heard of him until a number of years ago. I do still use the Ramsey Subtlety, though.

Can ya point me to that routine? I'm homeless and broke, so buying books is out of the question.

Thanks!
Doug
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Aug 5, 2010 04:20PM)
Doug, to start, he spelled his name Ramsay - two a's.
His only known student, Andrew Galloway has taken the trouble to write up what he learned from John Ramsay in three books, two of which can be purchased for very reasonable sums.
As to the subtlety so many abuse in his name - I am truly sorry - but such is the price of a free society where those who cannot read or reason may despoil tools crafted by those who spent a lifetime working on such things.

If you use email - I might be able to offer some help as regards that item.

Jon
Message: Posted by: Bill Hallahan (Aug 5, 2010 04:27PM)
[quote]
On 2010-05-17 21:51, TheCigarPhysic wrote:
The simple fact that there are billions of methods that have been written about, more effects than any one person can remember, and multiple ways of doing a single effect. It Just means that what he may think is the method used is more than likely not. Add to this that people tend to see what they want and others there will argue that it could not have been that way because they saw xxxxx. Think about the way an actual effect looks and the way a lay person describes it.
[/quote]
A magician who wants to astonish an audience requires that the audience doesn't know [b]any[/b] method to achieve a magical effect the magician wants to produce - and even that's not enough! This saying by a famous magician explains the issue well.

Simon Aronson wrote:
[quote]
There is a world of difference between a spectator's not knowing how something's done versus his knowing that it can't be done.
[/quote]
So, as a consequence, while there are [i]sometimes[/i] many methods to produce a similar effect, you only need to expose one of them to ruin many, or possibly even all, of the various effects produced by the different methods.

In addition, if the performer has spent the last year honing and polishing an act, adding bits of business; jokes, adjusted the pacing and timing, and suddenly he can't astonish the audience because they know how it's done, all his work is lost. He might as well be an ordinary non-magical entertainer at that point, since he won't be able to amaze the audience.

TheCigarPhysic wrote:
[quote]
You should also to take into account that some one who is not interested in magic will watch a show like the masked magician or read a book about magic and he or she may remember one method out of the whole book. If I hand you a book on auto repair and you read though it, do you think you would be able to tell what is wrong with your car when it will not start? How about a year later? Better yet, how many magic secrets have you read the method of, and how many do you remember how to do? Like learning a foreign language, if you do not use it in every day life you will more than likely forget it.
[/quote]
This is often false. Someone who learned the secret to the Linking Rings will likely know it forever. And, for other effects, many people will remember there was a method, even if they don't recall the details. This also will prevent them from being amazed. Finally, even if the method is so arcane that it is hard to remember and a lot of time passes, if only 10% of the audience remember the method, they won't be astonished.

TheCigarPhysic wrote:
[quote]
Heck, if we follow the logic of "Once it is revealed they will remember it when they see it" then three card monty is the most useless trick, just because EVERYONE knows how it works. So doing three card monty on the street means that no one will bet on it?
[/quote]
One famous magician here has pointed out that the Three Card Monte is not generally presented a as magic trick, but as a con. Also, you are mistaken that everyone knows how it is done. Most non-magicians don't have any idea how it's done.

The magic we do is not [i]about[/i] deception. The magic we do [i]requires[/i] deception. If the secret is known, there will be no astonishment caused by the effect that is supposed to be magical. There will be no lingering amazement. Such an act might still be entertaining, but it won't be a magic act at all, not in the sense of [i]magic[/i] that we magicians aspire to produce. At best it will be like watching a Harry Potter movie - engaging, but not astonishing. This is known at [i]theatrical magic[/i] - where the magic isn't astonishing at all.
Message: Posted by: Uli Weigel (Aug 5, 2010 04:46PM)
Thanks Bill, for pointing out, what should be self-evident for every magician. I'll never understand, why some magicians are eager to saw off the branch they're sitting on. Most laymen I talk with show a better understanding of the importance of the secret than many magicians. The one thing, every layman knows about magic is, that magicians don't tell their secrets, and most are happy to agree to this basic principle.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Aug 6, 2010 09:04AM)
Very cogent post, Bill. Should be required reading to get into the Café...
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Aug 6, 2010 02:04PM)
Jonathan,

Thank you for correcting me on the spelling of Ramsay. I can be an ignorant old coot at times, LOL!

I sent you a PM.

Doug
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 6, 2010 06:30PM)
[quote]
On 2010-08-05 02:34, Micheal Leath wrote:
First, I only quickly read through this thread.

It seems that there are some who think you don't have to fool someone for it to be magic. Maybe that's the problem with a lot of magicians today. No wonder they are so bad.

Now, that's not directed at anyone in particular, so don't take offense.
[/quote]

There is a difference between not having to fool someone, and not thinking exposure hurts magic. I hope we agree on this.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 6, 2010 06:32PM)
I am not sure it is true. People with a small amount of knowlege are usually the easiest to fool.
Message: Posted by: AlluTallu (Sep 7, 2010 11:32AM)
There is a big difference between:

not knowing how it's done
AND
knowing it can't be done.

There is an even bigger difference between:

knowing how it's done but not seeing it
AND
knowing it can't be done.


Which reaction would you prefer:

A) "That's quite cool, you didn't even flash when you palmed that card and put it in your pocket."

B) "That's just impossible! I was holding the selected card the whole time so it can't be in your pocket! It just can't be there! What?!?!?!!! It IS there!? This is the freakiest thing I have ever seen in my life!"

Another example:

Let's assume that a magician turns over the top card of the deck. He then turns it face down again and appears to put it on the table. He then turns around the card and it is now an ace. His double lift was flaweless but you know that that's the method.

Are you entertained? I wouldn't be. If the patter was entertaining you could be entertained. But why not leave the magic part out and just use the patter?
Message: Posted by: Absinthe (Sep 9, 2010 01:13PM)
Who can argue exposure is right when its in an entertainment context?