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Topic: Art and Experience
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 18, 2017 06:00AM)
A commentator of a Sunday morning TV show offered: "Art is formed by the experience of the individual."

To the extent that most people today rely on vicarious rather that actual/personal experience, how does this impact magic as art?

Is a magic performance even considered to be art today? Is music, for that matter?

Just musing.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 18, 2017 09:56PM)
All art is a lie. Our audience appreciates that what we offer is make-believe, a lie and thus they consider our magic art.

If our magic is represented by men who respect their art, no charlatan offering real magic can ever degrade it.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jun 18, 2017 11:12PM)
[quote]On Jun 18, 2017, funsway wrote:
A commentator of a Sunday morning TV show offered: "Art is formed by the experience of the individual."

To the extent that most people today rely on vicarious rather that actual/personal experience, how does this impact magic as art?

Is a magic performance even considered to be art today? Is music, for that matter?

Just musing. [/quote]

I guess the first question is considered to be art by whom? (Or is it who?)
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 19, 2017 01:51AM)
The patter, of course, is all a matter of taste, which is active, deciding, choosing, changing, arranging, etc., choices which are somewhat driven or related to individual experiences including our performances.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 19, 2017 03:25AM)
The question is, tommy, whether the content of 'individual experience' today is significantly different from decades ago, and does the influence the choices a performer makes.

If art is a lie, then in order to engage an audience the performer must understand his own lie and that of the observer.
Then again, magic may no longer be perceived as art because the lies are so different.

"patter" of course, is but one part of selling the lie. What lie -- that is the question?
Message: Posted by: Doc Willie (Jun 19, 2017 05:58AM)
The American philosopher John Dewey's book on the Esthetics is entitled "Art as Experience" if you want to delve into this more.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 19, 2017 06:53AM)
Read it, thank you. Just another reason to consider h.ow the "experience of art" is change by mostly vicarious rather than actual experience.

One can but wonder on how Dewey's views might have changed about a society biased by TV, if not computers.
When I was getting a Masters in Educational Technology a few years ago, folks like Dewey were not considered valid sources since they were educated before personal computers.

I understand that many college professors discourage the use of pre-computer sources in considering social change, communication, marketing, etc.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Jun 19, 2017 10:00AM)
[quote]On Jun 18, 2017, Dannydoyle wrote:
I guess the first question is considered to be art by whom? (Or is it who?) [/quote]

I believe whom is appropriate there.

I don't personally think magic is an art by default. I think it is a tool that can be used to create art.

My personal approach to creating a performance is to metaphorically break people out of that observer pattern, and bring them into an up close and personal experience. I like to try to get people to think about things that they wouldn't normally think about, to encourage connection and empathy. Lofty goals, I know, and I don't always succeed, but that's what I aim for.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jun 19, 2017 11:03AM)
Is anything considered an art by default? I'm not being obnoxious but serious. Isn't art a distinction that must be earned?
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Jun 19, 2017 11:09AM)
[quote]On Jun 19, 2017, Dannydoyle wrote:
Is anything considered an art by default? I'm not being obnoxious but serious. Isn't art a distinction that must be earned? [/quote]

I'm no art scholar so I can't speak definitively. My impression of it is that art is a subjective thing, and therefore no - nothing is art by default. What some consider art, others will consider garbage.

I think we can strive to present something we (as the performer) consider to be art, and that a percentage of the audience may consider it to be art, and that's the best we can do.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jun 19, 2017 11:16AM)
I personally prefer to offer what I think will sell. Art can sort itself out.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Jun 19, 2017 12:45PM)
Certainly a valid approach.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 19, 2017 11:00PM)
The patter may contain ideas in keeping with the times and the times they are changing.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 20, 2017 08:26AM)
[quote]On Jun 19, 2017, tommy wrote:
The patter may contain ideas in keeping with the times and the times they are changing. [/quote]


certainly one's patter can change to appeal or impact different audiences as to astonishment or mystery or attention.

but the question is about perceiving it as art.

Can you provide an example of a magic effect you have performed in which a change of patter has increased the perception of "magic as art?"
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Jun 20, 2017 10:44AM)
My version of PK Touches has evolved dramatically over the years. It started out as a "This is a weird thing" kind of routine and is now a center piece of my show. Mostly that was due to changes in scripting and blocking (And some methodological changes as well).
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 20, 2017 10:54AM)
The audience is there for their amusement and amazment only. If anybody is there to consider whether it is art or not then they are probably an art critic.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 20, 2017 01:05PM)
[quote]On Jun 20, 2017, tommy wrote:
The audience is there for their amusement and amazment only.
[/quote]

I guess you have missed out on someone coming up twenty years after you performed and relate what an impact the performance had.

They don't talk about "being amused" or "amazed" -- they talk about emotions and creative ideas and hope and courage.

does that make it art? Not sure - but your opinion here is very limiting and even sad.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jun 20, 2017 01:17PM)
Nobody ever talked about hope or courage 20 years after my performance because of my performance.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 20, 2017 04:47PM)
What then, Ken, is your aim and procedure?

What then, Ken, do you think the audience are there for?
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 20, 2017 05:11PM)
[quote]On Jun 20, 2017, Dannydoyle wrote:
Nobody ever talked about hope or courage 20 years after my performance because of my performance. [/quote]

You apparently have a formula that works for you -- and this is great!

Possibly the way I performed back then, and thought about magic, had an influence. Maybe I was just fortunate or cursed.

The question on this thread is whether or not "magic as art' for either of us enters the picture?

We can attempt to be artistic from our perspective with no assurance the audience will feel the same way,
or they may see art beyond (in spite of) what we do. An audience has expectations about what will occur. Is art part of that?
When they purchase a ticket for your show, Danny, they have expectations different from when they choose to see me or tommy (I assume)

What if no one has ever talked to you about hope and courage because they do not think you wish to hear it?

I chose not to make a career out of performing magic for entertainment. The reasons may subconsciously influence my performance. Don't know.
I do know what happened when I performed magic tricks and they did not know I was magician or have any expectations of magic about to occur. Not art certainly, but very effective.

I explore these ideas because I do not know what to expect of today's audiences.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 20, 2017 05:15PM)
Your answer first, tommy - just give us an example of what you mean from personal experience.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jun 20, 2017 05:51PM)
The obvious difference is I don't think you or tommy sell tickets do you?
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 20, 2017 08:41PM)
[quote]On Jun 20, 2017, Dannydoyle wrote:
The obvious difference is I don't think you or tommy sell tickets do you? [/quote]


I have not charged for a performance in the last 55 years and never perform "on demand."

Before college and Viet Nam I did charge for shows but never sold tickets.

Thus, the expectations of the audience seeing my magic effects is certainly different from people paying to see a "famous" magician.

Where does art come in? I am not sure. Is it even important? I feel that it is, but not as a need to pursue it.

I just don't want to stand in the way of someone who finds art in what I do - as some have in the past.

So, I ask questions.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jun 20, 2017 08:53PM)
When people pay the expectation is far different. As is your responsibly to the audience.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 20, 2017 09:32PM)
Well, I was born in a gaming house and cut my teeth on a pack of cards. Johnny Gough my uncle who I was raised with was Britain’s top professional gambler; he did conjuring for fun and for our amusement. I naturally wanted to be like him. One thing led to another and here I am an amateur card guy, who runs gaming house. If it was not for that individual experience I might not be interested in our magic at all. I do what I do because I don’t know anything else.
Message: Posted by: Doug Trouten (Jun 20, 2017 10:49PM)
The question of whether magic performance is (or should be) considered art is an interesting one, but I don't think it's possible to give a meaningful answer without first arriving at a shared understanding of "art." What does it mean to be considered art? Ken -- when you posed the question originally, what meaning did you have in mind for "art"?
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 21, 2017 05:23AM)
[quote]On Jun 20, 2017, Doug Trouten wrote:
The question of whether magic performance is (or should be) considered art is an interesting one, but I don't think it's possible to give a meaningful answer without first arriving at a shared understanding of "art." What does it mean to be considered art? Ken -- when you posed the question originally, what meaning did you have in mind for "art"? [/quote]


I guess I feel that any experience that evokes an emotional response/reflection beyond the object or demonstration itself is art.

For example, if I look at a painting of the ocean and I just compare it with other paintings it is not art. Ditto if I only appraise technique.
But if it prompts me to remember walking hand in hand with my first girl friend it is art.

Similarly, if a magic demonstration only causes the observer to be amazed or mystified it is not art.
If it causes them to think, "So that is what real magic would look like if it existed" it might be art.
If it prompts one to ponder, "maybe my problem at work is solvable after all" it probably is art.

If it causes the observer to see other things of awe and wonder throughout the day it is certainly art. -- even after danny's show ;)

Where I get hung up today is whether any of that can happen watching a video,
or whether "see awe and wonder in real life" is possible for those with mostly vicarious experience?

there is an old query, "If you meet a stranger and have one chance to communicate something of who you are,
would you tell a story, sing a song, do a magic trick or show them photos of your family?"

I am no longer sure that "show a trick" is a good option. Any of these could be considered art by the stranger even though that is not your intent.

The professor who posed this problem suggested that if consideration led to any change in your personal value system/orientation then the question itself is art.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 21, 2017 08:35AM)
All art is a lie. Only known lies can be appreciated as art. Therefore, then, in our magic the patter is art. The steps of the experiment up to the climax are not appreciated lies; through their eyes, they are simply facts, so not art to them. The patter etcetera, are emotional appeals, whereas the steps of the experiment are rational appeals. At the climax the art apparently becomes fact! The dilemma is art and science at the same time. They know the nonsense can’t make sense but does! It is amazing because it is impossible but it is also importantly amusing because it is absurd.

The charlatan lies in his patter but there is a big difference. The charlatan is offering a true story; i.e. He really is talking to your dead mother! The emotional impact of such can be massive. Why because the victim loves his mother and such gives him hope, etcetera. The charlatan will often say to that, well so what? Moreover, the charlatan may well consider himself a great artist because he has had a great impact on his victim and also the victim may well love the charlatan for 20 years or more. The charlatan might tell us we are missing out doing it our way, for amusement.
Message: Posted by: Doc Willie (Jun 21, 2017 08:53AM)
[quote]On Jun 19, 2017, funsway wrote:
Read it, thank you. Just another reason to consider h.ow the "experience of art" is change by mostly vicarious rather than actual experience.

One can but wonder on how Dewey's views might have changed about a society biased by TV, if not computers.
When I was getting a Masters in Educational Technology a few years ago, folks like Dewey were not considered valid sources since they were educated before personal computers.

I understand that many college professors discourage the use of pre-computer sources in considering social change, communication, marketing, etc. [/quote]

So Joh Dewey has been replaced by Marshall McLuhan? <Showing my age!>
Message: Posted by: Doug Trouten (Jun 21, 2017 09:09AM)
Ken, your definition of art still isn't clear to me.

In some ways, you seem to be saying that art is in the eye of the beholder. You say art evokes an emotional response behind the object itself -- that's an audience-based view. And if your response to a painting is to compare it with others, or to evaluate technique, then it's not art. The focus is on how the audience responds.

But you also raise the issue of the creator's intent -- noting that doing a trick, singing a song, etc. could be considered art by a stranger, even though that is not your intent.

Let's say I create a Father's Day routine that is intended to provoke a powerful emotional response and to encourage audience members to engage in fresh thinking about parent-child relationships. And let's say the routine is successful in that regard -- audience members have a strong emotional response, and are motivated to seek more rewarding relationships with their fathers. I'm guessing this would meet your definition of art.

But what if we take away either intent or response? What if I craft the routine to evoke a particular response, but it fails to connect. Is it no longer art, or is it just ineffective art?

Or what if I wasn't seeking any deeper meaning but was just doing a card trick using supplied patter, but for some reason it just hits an audience member the right way and they have a powerful and life-changing response -- based more on what they brought to the table than on what I brought to the table. Is that art? Perhaps unintentional art?

Or does art require both intent and response?
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jun 21, 2017 10:15AM)
I am just saying what I do is art and I seriously doubt beyond enjoying it for what it is anybody has life changing experiences based upon seeing my show.

For me that is a pretty big leap. I just don't see it happening.

Note I said for me and did not make universal claims for truth.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Jun 21, 2017 11:00AM)
[quote]Where I get hung up today is whether any of that can happen watching a video,
or whether "see awe and wonder in real life" is possible for those with mostly vicarious experience? [/quote]

I say yes, but that it's pretty rare and tricky to do. I have seen a few videos of magic performances that I perceived as art.

[quote]Only known lies can be appreciated as art. [/quote]

I'm not sure that's true. Is a sculpture of something that was believed to be a real thing, but turns out not to be a real thing, not still art? Is a moving story about someone's family, which inspires audiences to do or feel something, not art if that story turns out not to be true?

I don't think someone has to know it's a lie for it to be art.

I am much more inclined to believe that art is something that inspires or evokes thoughts or emotions. Whether it's true or not. Look at the comedy of Louis CK - he tells one story I really like, where he talks about how he was on a plane and they had WiFi (this was when it was just introduced), and he's using it and it's amazing. Then it breaks down and the guy next to him says, "This is bulls***!". Then Louis talks about how this guy went from seeing this awesome new thing, to being entitled to it in seconds. It was a commentary on our nature of taking things for granted, and it really resonated with me at the time. It was the piece that got me liking Louis CK's comedy.

Some time later, maybe a year or more, I found out that the true story was a bit different. Turns out, it was Louis who said it was BS, there was no other guy. But it was funnier to say it that way, and it made more of an impact. I still took the lesson and feelings away from the original story, though, even though I didn't find out it was a lie until significantly later. It was not a known lie, but I do consider it to have been art.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 21, 2017 11:13AM)
[quote]On Jun 21, 2017, Doug Trouten wrote:

Or does art require both intent and response? [/quote]

I do not think I implied that the performer must have intent to influence a person "beyond the object" --
just that one be aware it can happen and not put barriers in the way.

Just attempting to manipulate another person's emotional response is not art either. I can produce astonishment.
I cannot command that the observer think "must be magic" or think "Art" because I find it to be artful.
But, if I sell tickets to those with a history of thinking "magic" and claiming it is art, my expectation of either increases

I am not trying to define art as much as understand why/how magic can be art. But you asked.
More specifically. If I as an "old fart" find an effect to be both art and magic, can I expect a vicariously conditioned teen-ager to respond the same?

Say I have a personal experience of a butterfly landing on my finger, then seemingly vanish without a trace. I have a "feel good" response.
I now want to recreate that special moment for another. I might use music or a story or a magic effect or a painting.
If I the observer also has a "feel good" moment it is possibly art. My intent was to create the opportunity, not to force a specific response.

Now consider a spectator coming up after your one-coin routine and saying, "As I watched that coin appear, vanish and mysteriously jump about,
I was taken back to a childhood experience with a butterfly." Then it is art even though I had no intent beyond entertaining with a coin.

Using by "vicarious experience" view, can a person who has never seen a real butterfly offer such a statement? Can they appreciate the art of the coin?

If they say, "That coin reminds me of a butterfly on TV last week," is it art? I don't know. Is any "feel good" reaction because they relate to a butterfly,
or because of an ego stroke from having a good TV?
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 21, 2017 11:21AM)
[quote]On Jun 21, 2017, Dannydoyle wrote:

I just don't see it happening.

. [/quote]

I have a friend in Vegas who saw your show. HIs girl friend drug him there because he had never seen any 'live' magic but complained about what he saw on TV.
After the show they had long discussions about the difference between live experiences and 'second hand' ones on TV or the Internet. This led to more dates.
They decided to explore going to live events and sharing movies together -- always followed by a discussion.
Then came love and more. They named their first kid Danny. He wants to say thanks. He didn't like your show, but ...
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jun 21, 2017 11:45AM)
Wonderful story. If only it were anywhere near true it would bring a tear to my eye.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 21, 2017 12:15PM)
It may not be exactly obvious to some that a sculpture of a woman is not a real woman. One cannot appreciate the art of duck making if on seeing a decoy duck one takes it to be real.



The patter servers the magic and good magic is not drowned in too much nonsense. If the theme of the patter be about father’s day then a magician may take father day gift and wrap it up in emotional nonsense. At the climax, however, their mind will not be on the emotions of father’s day but hooked on the horns of the dilemma.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 21, 2017 03:32PM)
[quote]On Jun 21, 2017, Dannydoyle wrote:
Wonderful story. If only it were anywhere near true it would bring a tear to my eye. [/quote]


tommy said that if it to be art it must be a lie.

I am trying to learn
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jun 21, 2017 05:21PM)
I'm not certain how feeding the troll furthers the discussion point you are trying to make but ok.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 21, 2017 08:19PM)
Actually Danny, a couple of your comments here and on another thread have me adjusting my views here.
while tommy's often serve to reenforce (defend my castle against the jabberwock)

Is not the reaction of shock, overwhelming surprise or even fear an "emotional" one beyond the objects and action?
Just because they are more Limbic than "controlled/subdued" does not eliminate them from the art consideration.

Perhaps ALL magic is art because the experience takes the observer "out of normal."
Even to have a busy/distractible person become completely absorbed in a magic routine can be considered "out of normal."

It would certainly be simpler to consider ALL magic demonstrations to be art by their implicit nature than be concerned over quality or intensity of emotion.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 21, 2017 09:48PM)
The Jabberwocky is the very definition of the patter; a fabulous beast, known not to exist, in reality. The willingness and ability of one to suspend disbelieve, to go along temporarily allowing one to believe something that is not true, is only possible when one is aware it is a lie. Therefore, then, it is necessary that the magician desiring that makes his audience aware his patter is a Jabberwocky. As the magician capture their hearts with the Jabberwocky, he step by step, with rational facts, conjures up the Jabberwocky into reality! When the Jabberwocky in reality suddenly appears at your gate, then you will be in a dilemma old boy.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 22, 2017 05:41AM)
"in a dilemma old boy"

that is an assumption not base don any facts - certainly not on how I would handle such a situation.

I liked your post until you tried to change your "opinion" into a statement of how I (or anyone) should think.

One might also consider that the Jabberwock is "inner fear" and very real for each person. There is no "suspension of disbelief" involved, just consideration of how to
deal with such fears that are already "within the alls" and never "at the gate."

This has little to do with "patter" - the verbal story a performer offers. The psychology behind the selection of a trick for a specific audience may be based on a guess at hidden fears,
but that is never spoke aloud. A good guess can increase the chance that any spectator might find "art" in the experience. In contrast, the story told might be of monsters and a magic trick
used to defeat it. As allegory to other hidden fears this might be art for some observers.

Just my opinion, but the "art experience" comes from the entire package: expectations, familiarity with props, music, body language, timing of anticipation and surprise -- and "patter" along with audience enthusiasm, setting and amount of distractions. Within the focused attention of a presentation the observer is NOT suspending disbelief. It is real at that moment. The observer is not an "Actor pretending to be a spectator." Yes, patter can be part of setting that gains the attention and focus -- and creates false anticipation. This can led to astonishment with various immediate and delayed reactions. Within this hidden fears are also real.

I used the term "jabberwock," tommy, because I feel your postings demonstrate some very real inner fears (different form mine). That has nothing to do with patter.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 22, 2017 07:57AM)
On the whole, the audience is aware it is an illusion. An illusion is not a complete lie but is a distortion of the truth.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 22, 2017 08:01AM)
[quote]On Jun 22, 2017, tommy wrote:
On the whole, the audience is aware it is an illusion. An illusion is not a complete lie but is a distortion of the truth. [/quote]


That is why it works. Most people's lives are distortions of the truth - perhaps more dilution than illusion.

A magic show tells them it is OK to be who they are.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 22, 2017 09:30AM)
People are both emotional and rational creatures, both left and right thinking. Well-balanced people are not too emotional or too rational. Being too focused on the entertainment is being too emotional. Being too focused on the magic is being too rational. That is why we have the concept in magic called Speed in Presentation. In short, those fellows who are too left-brained rational do too many effects, while those too right brained emotional fellows do too few effects; one under dresses while the other over dresses the magic. To satisfy an audience it is best to give them an equal proportion of the emotional and rational elements. That is a well-balanced act of magic and patter, etcetera.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jun 22, 2017 01:18PM)
[quote]On Jun 22, 2017, funsway wrote:
[quote]On Jun 22, 2017, tommy wrote:
On the whole, the audience is aware it is an illusion. An illusion is not a complete lie but is a distortion of the truth. [/quote]


That is why it works. Most people's lives are distortions of the truth - perhaps more dilution than illusion.

A magic show tells them it is OK to be who they are. [/quote]

Coming to my show with this expectation will lead to horrific disappointment.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 22, 2017 02:56PM)
[quote]On Jun 22, 2017, Dannydoyle wrote:

Coming to my show with this expectation will lead to horrific disappointment. [/quote]

Strange, I have never experienced "horrific disappointment" in any event in life. Probably can't afford your show any way ;)

Maybe that is why I chose not to become a performing magician as a career. I find people too interesting and derive something positive from every interaction, even the apparently terrible ones.

Arnold Furst (one of my mentors) said that I had the technical ability and the flair, but he doubted I could deal with the fear factor.
I have spent a lifetime trying to understand what he meant.

but neither disappointment or horror is part of it.

See Danny, I value your input because your experience with magic is much different from mine. How boring if different experiences resulted in the same views.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jun 22, 2017 02:58PM)
Absolutely that is why I qualified my statements as not universal truths. Not by a long shot.
Message: Posted by: Doug Trouten (Jun 23, 2017 11:41AM)
Just ran across this quote from John Carney, which seems relevant to the original question:

"It has been argued that people of this day and age do not believe in magic. Nothing could be further from the truth. They only offer resistance to outdated myths, but new ones are constantly assimilated."
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 24, 2017 02:43PM)
Like that
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 25, 2017 11:17AM)
What charlatan wouldn’t like people to believe in magic?
Message: Posted by: Doug Trouten (Jun 25, 2017 02:42PM)
Tommy, I suppose it's a partly a question of what it means to "believe in magic." Do I want people to believe that I have supernatural powers that enable me to unerringly find aces in a shuffled deck of cards? Of course not. What a waste of supernatural power that would be. If I truly had the ability to work miracles, I'd devote my energies to healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and otherwise comforting the afflicted (as indeed I try to do with my mere mortal abilities).

But perhaps believing in magic could mean an openness to deeper truths concealed in surface deceptions. While it's trickery that lets me pluck aces out of deck, it's also true that what is lost can be found, that order can come out of chaos, and that seemingly impossible tasks may indeed be possible.

Ken's original question dealt with a change in our culture that has led to people having more and more vicarious experience -- which to some extent displaces actual experience. But it's still experience -- and it still shapes and informs our thoughts. We live in a very rich media environment, and the cost of that may be an impoverished experience with our unmediated environment -- but we're still people. We still experience love and hate, loneliness and friendship, frustration and joy, emptiness and fulfillment. To the extent that our magic touches people at that very human level, I believe it can be considered art.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 25, 2017 06:51PM)
Superstitious beliefs persist in this old world of ours and nobody outside of a madhouse has ever argued that they do not. There are those who use magic to promote their superstitious faith and when they do so it can be a very toady thing. All normal art evokes the imagination, wonder if you will, of one sort or another. Art is not for informing like a technical drawing is but our art is not for preaching superstitious beliefs, is it?
Message: Posted by: Doug Trouten (Jun 25, 2017 08:17PM)
Tommy, you seem to have charlatans and superstitious beliefs on the brain. But I'm not sure what that has to do with the OP's question.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 25, 2017 09:42PM)
The OP asks “Is a magic performance even considered to be art today?”

Sometimes magic performances are not considered by me to be “Our Art”.

There are only two sorts of magic performances I can think of: charlatan magic and our magic.

Both are art. All art means is “By the arm of man” as to opposed to by nature which never lies.

We in our art do not pass magic off as natural but offer it as a lie, art, all art is a lie, therefore then Our Magic is appreciated as art.

When the charlatan passes his magic off as natural it is not appreciated as art.
Message: Posted by: Doug Trouten (Jun 25, 2017 10:58PM)
Thanks for clarifying. I see the connection you are making now.
Message: Posted by: Doug Trouten (Jun 28, 2017 03:12PM)
Just came across this from Punx -- it seemed relevant to the OP's question about magic and art.

"An artistically presented trick loses its characteristic of being a trick. It ceases to exist as an independent entity. The spectator will no longer think of the trick but of the event into which it is embedded. As long as the audience still concerns itself with figuring out "how," it is either an artistically unappreciative or illogical audience, or our drama was not breathtaking. The heart remained cold."

-- Punx (from "The amulet" in "Once Upon a Time")
Message: Posted by: Doug Trouten (Jun 28, 2017 03:17PM)
Bill Palmer, the translator of "Once Upon a Time" by Punx, added a note about story magic for modern audiences that is also relevant to the OP's original musing about today's technology-addicted audiences. He wrote:

"Now four seconds is a long time. In commercials nowadays, it is not unusual to have new scenes change on a second-by-second basis. What does this mean to the magician? We have to keep our audience entranced. We cannot let spectators become bored. We must do things that will keep their attention. What will do this? There are several things: color, sound, movement, crisis, tension, humor and surprise. The more of these that you can work into your story, the better chance you will have of keeping the audience's attention. And the better job you do of keeping their attention, the better chance you have of entrancing them."
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Jun 28, 2017 05:40PM)
[quote]nature which never lies. [/quote]

Nature lies all the time. Tigers pretend to be harmless grass, snakes pretend to be leafs and foliage, butterflies pretend to be big scary monsters, bugs pretend to be sticks, plants pretend to be mates for bees - nature lies -constantly-. For all of the beauty of sunsets and thunderstorms, never forget that most of nature is trying to kill and eat you. So before you try to glorify nature as some epitome of honesty - remember that everything outside of humans would just as soon eat you as help you.

Magic is natural. It has to be. Magic has to subscribe to some kind of natural laws, even if we don't understand them at this time. At one point we had no idea what gravity was. But if magic exists, and I believe it does (although wildly misunderstood), then it must be governed by the laws of the universe in some way. Therefore, magic is natural, and we just don't understand it yet.

Most magicians spend way too much time trying to convince their audience that it doesn't exist for some reason or other. But there is magic in the universe. It only takes the ability to be comfortable with the idea of the possibility to rope people into that.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 28, 2017 06:11PM)
What is a black cat black?
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 28, 2017 06:56PM)
Why is a black cat black?
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Jun 28, 2017 08:17PM)
Because genetics have shown that being able to hide in the shadows is advantageous. But surprise! You're not alone in that shadowy jungle, that shadow over there is actually a jaguar that's going to eat you. Another lie by nature.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 28, 2017 08:42PM)
That is the trouble with kids today; they are so superficial it’s embarrassing. A black cat is black because it hunts at night. If you want to know the nature of the cat, look not at the cat, look instead at what the cat does.

Please try to have a little more insight if you are going to play a witch doctor. :)


A scorpion asks a frog to carry it across a river. The frog hesitates, afraid of being stung, but the scorpion argues that if it did so, they would both drown. Considering this, the frog agrees, but midway across the river the scorpion does indeed sting the frog, dooming them both. When the frog asks the scorpion why - the scorpion replies that it was in its nature to do so.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Jun 29, 2017 10:02AM)
I am amused, though not remotely surprised, that you basically reworded my answer to be more pretentious and then tried to paint me as stupid.

But I expect no less from you. I suppose that's your nature.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 29, 2017 11:55AM)
No! I did not say you were "stupid"; that is "you" rewarding of my words, as usual.

You are looking at the notion of "Nature never lies" in a superficial way, which does not make you "stupid" but simply unwise and misunderstanding what "Nature never lies" means. Note, there is no IMHO in that.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 29, 2017 12:52PM)
You really ought to very grateful for the insightful lesson that taught you but if want to carry on looking at nature never lies in the superficial manner which you have been so far then that is your loss. As they say, we can only lead a horse to water but we cannot make it drink.

Now turning to your claim that magic is natural. I put it to you, that a magician performing our magic who leaves his audience thinking there might be something in it is a Charlatan.

Moreover, I ask, as I do not know, in the spirit of enquiry, is that what you in fact do?
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 30, 2017 06:09AM)
[quote]On Jun 29, 2017, tommy wrote:
that a magician performing our magic who leaves his audience thinking there might be something in it is a Charlatan.

[/quote]

not true at all. Charlatan = "a person who claims to have skills or knowledge that the person does not actually have" and most definitions
include, "to harm" or "with fraudulent intent." You will have to find a different term to use. Please do not mangle this one.

you also say, "a magician" rather than "a person." If a person is know to be a magician of the performing type, than it is accepted that they will use artifice and deception to entertain.

Now, if we allow that that the term "magician" and "magic" can mean anything the observer desires, then many politicians are magicians and charlatans --
certainly claiming skills knowledge they do not have for the purpose of harming folks.

One reason Mentalists wish to distance themselves from "magician" is that many DO wish to leave the idea that they have special skill or knowledge. They could be viewed as charlatans,
but (for me) folks paying to see a Mentalist are only seeking to confirm "believed things" they already support. If the "for entertainment" cover shifts to after hours readings for pay, etc, it could be another matter.

But, drifting through posts above is the thought that some magic exists in some form and the performer/claimer just reveals it or accentuates it. (my interpretation) If true, then the performer is not making a 'false" claim
and in not a charlatan even if the intent or result is harmful. And the fact that an observer might place the label "magic" on what they see does not extend to inferring "fraudulent intent" on the part of the performer.

So, tommy, some of the opinions you offer have some validity -- at least for the purpose of inquiry;
but little is gained by redefining words or trying to leave an impression you have knowledge that you do not have.

Your last post asked another to describe what they actually do with regards to "natural magic." Are you going to do the same? What experience do you claim to support your opinions?
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 30, 2017 06:35AM)
[quote]On Jun 28, 2017, WitchDocChris wrote:

Therefore, magic is natural, and we just don't understand it yet.
[/quote]

Wading in on the other side. There was a time at which the term "magic" as "inexplicable phenomenon" had substance. Today the term has been so mangled by Hollywood, marketers and religion that using it in any argument is non-communicative.

Yes, there are things happening in the universe that we do not fully understand (or wrongly interpret). Some folks might use knowledge of this to fool, entertain, control or defraud people. That is "natural" too (people animals also).
But, the moment the cause is known or can be repeated with confidence it is not "magic." It is science for that person. In this sense, for something to be "natural" means it cannot be magic.

I am interested in learning more of your views, but doubt that this is a good "forum." It seems "natural" for tommy to post opinions as facts, though his motives are not always clear.
Thus, little can be gained by discussions of whose tiger can better hide in the grass.

To clarify my view here, anyone claiming to have a special ability is not being a magician - they are claiming to be a scientist with special knowledge.
What they do is not magic - it is a demonstration of science. Others may observe and apply the term "magic" but that does not make it so.

In the OP I questioned whether any of this is "art?" Yet, since it provokes emotional response, perhaps even bad pretended magic is art.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 30, 2017 11:20AM)
“The modern magician does not deceive his spectators-that is to say, the legitimate magician. The modern charlatan, of course, has no more conscience than his predecessors. He will deceive anybody who will give him the chance, and he will try to deceive even those who don't; just to make sure of missing no possible opening for chicanery. He and the legitimate magician, however, are as far apart as the poles, in aim and procedure. A legitimate magician never deludes his audiences as to the character of his performance. He makes no claim to the possession of powers beyond the scope of physical science. Neither does he, while rejecting the suggestio falsi, substitute in its place the suppressio veri. That method is one frequently adopted by charlatans in magic. The latter gentry often refrain from committing themselves to any definite statement on the subject of their powers. In effect, they say to their spectators, "We leave you to decide upon the nature of our feats. If you can explain the methods we employ, you will know that what we do is not miraculous. If, on the other hand, you cannot explain our methods you will, of course, know that we have the power to work miracles."

Since the majority of people attending public performances cannot explain the simplest devices used in magic, it is scarcely likely that persons of such limited capability will arrive at any satisfactory explanation of processes involving even a moderate degree of complexity. Consequently, the mere reticence of the charlatan suffices to convince many people that "there is something in it." So there is, no doubt; but, usually, not much-certainly, nothing such as the innocent dupe conceives.

The distinguishing characteristic of a legitimate magician is his straightforwardness. He makes no false pretences, either by suggestion, implication, or reticence. This present treatise of course, relates only to legitimate magic; and, therefore, our definition of the term is limited to misdirection of the senses, exclusively. We have nothing to do with fraudulent or semi-fraudulent deceptions of intelligence, as practised by unscrupulous adventurers.”

Our Magic The Art in Magic - The Theory of Magic

by Nevil Maskelyne circa 1911
Message: Posted by: Pop Haydn (Jun 30, 2017 12:59PM)
[quote]On Jun 30, 2017, tommy wrote:
“The modern magician does not deceive his spectators-that is to say, the legitimate magician. The modern charlatan, of course, has no more conscience than his predecessors. He will deceive anybody who will give him the chance, and he will try to deceive even those who don't; just to make sure of missing no possible opening for chicanery. He and the legitimate magician, however, are as far apart as the poles, in aim and procedure. A legitimate magician never deludes his audiences as to the character of his performance. He makes no claim to the possession of powers beyond the scope of physical science. Neither does he, while rejecting the suggestio falsi, substitute in its place the suppressio veri. That method is one frequently adopted by charlatans in magic. The latter gentry often refrain from committing themselves to any definite statement on the subject of their powers. In effect, they say to their spectators, "We leave you to decide upon the nature of our feats. If you can explain the methods we employ, you will know that what we do is not miraculous. If, on the other hand, you cannot explain our methods you will, of course, know that we have the power to work miracles."

Since the majority of people attending public performances cannot explain the simplest devices used in magic, it is scarcely likely that persons of such limited capability will arrive at any satisfactory explanation of processes involving even a moderate degree of complexity. Consequently, the mere reticence of the charlatan suffices to convince many people that "there is something in it." So there is, no doubt; but, usually, not much-certainly, nothing such as the innocent dupe conceives.

The distinguishing characteristic of a legitimate magician is his straightforwardness. He makes no false pretences, either by suggestion, implication, or reticence. This present treatise of course, relates only to legitimate magic; and, therefore, our definition of the term is limited to misdirection of the senses, exclusively. We have nothing to do with fraudulent or semi-fraudulent deceptions of intelligence, as practised by unscrupulous adventurers.”

Our Magic The Art in Magic - The Theory of Magic

by Nevil Maskelyne circa 1911 [/quote]

I can't imagine a better statement on the nature of "Our Magic." What is important about making such a distinction is not primarily for me about the moral imperative, it is that the rules for successful Charlatanry are different than for Our Magic. If you don't make such distinctions in form and aims, you cannot with clarity analyze your methods.

Ken likes to conflate meanings of terms in order to justify his shamanistic charlatanry. He confuses faking the impossible with the ability to actually accomplish the impossible. I think everyone would get a clearer view of things if Ken would simply describe how he uses magic in his consultations. I have no problem with what he does, just that I believe it is unhelpful to try to criticize the rules of Our Magic by saying that they don't account for something that is as outside of Our Magic as Cold Reading, Card Cheating, and Pick Pocketing.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 30, 2017 02:02PM)
[quote]On Jun 30, 2017, Pop Haydn wrote:

Ken likes to conflate meanings of terms in order to justify his shamanistic charlatanry. He confuses faking the impossible with the ability to actually accomplish the impossible. I think everyone would get a clearer view of things if Ken would simply describe how he uses magic in his consultations. I have no problem with what he does, just that I believe it is unhelpful to try to criticize the rules of Our Magic by saying that they don't account for something that is as outside of Our Magic as Cold Reading, Card Cheating, and Pick Pocketing. [/quote]

Whit, I defy you to show where I have every alluded to "shamanistic" activities in what I have done -- or that I have ever engaged in charlatanry. Such comments are probably slanderous.

Please provide evidence that I have misrepresented what I do, done anything fraudulent or ever claim any skills I do not have? Prove it or quit your false claims.

Then you attempt to say what I think and are wrong again. I am beginning to wonder if you have ever actually read anything I have ever written.

Card cheating? Pick Pocketing" Where do you get this stuff? And where does posting a dictionary definition "conflate" anything?
I objected to tommy misusing the term - that is all.

and just where do I "Criticize the rules of Our Magic?" "Rules" Why are these century old writings "Rules?"

You apparently have a great problem with what I have done -- but don't even know what it is. What a joke!
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 30, 2017 04:03PM)
We can only assume that you practice what you preach.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 30, 2017 05:09PM)
[quote]On Jun 30, 2017, tommy wrote:
We can only assume that you practice what you preach. [/quote]

True statements, words as defined in a dictionary, appreciating of performance magic good and bad, and reasoned discourse over emotional attack?

Yes, I advocate such things and live by them. No need to ever assume anything, tommy. Just read.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jun 30, 2017 05:15PM)
No, you have chosen to be a Shaman. Now prove it!
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jul 1, 2017 05:34PM)
[quote]On Jun 30, 2017, tommy wrote:
No, you have chosen to be a Shaman. Now prove it! [/quote]


Nope - never claimed to be a shaman. Nice try - make up something else. Not sure anyone choses to be a shaman anyway.

by the way, do you have anything to contribute to the theme of this tread?
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jul 1, 2017 05:45PM)
[quote]On Mar 13, 2017, funsway wrote:
Something I wrote a couple of years ago.


A Circle of Adroit Enchantment

A philosophy.
Every person is pulled by two opposing forces: recognition of their spiritual nature and the demands of their human frailties. It has always been so. Shaman filled a need to assist people in finding a balance between these two. They would take a person or group through a process of focus and introspection to lead the Seeker to a new balance of perceptions and a self-chosen course of action “from their own mouth.” They would use stories and small magic effects to develop trust and diminish fears. In such a divination process they might employ symbols and objects as allegory to the internal decision making process.

In modern times this role has been split into areas of alleged expertise such as psychologist, priest, financial analyst, teacher and tax accountant. Each of these use a form of Q&A to perform a divination process to help the Seeker find a greater balance. Unfortunately, the motivation of the “seer” is often clouded by personal agendas that focus more on “I’ll tell you what to do” rather than “let’s strip these problems down to truths, change some perspectives and jointly forge a new plan and basis for confident and incisive choices.” This has led to the individual forgetting or denying essential responsibility for their actions and master of their future potential. The modern tendency is to attempt to take credit for what works and find someone else to blame if it does not. This will lead to spiraling de-evolution of our culture. In short, we have forgotten what got us to this point of being in charge of our own future.

On the human side we are not meant to act alone. Everything we desire or need requires the involvement of other people. The greatest obstacle to “having things our way” is that every other person is also trying to have things their way. We are all in competition for scarce resources of materials, time and energy. One approach is to steal from others. Another is to cooperate with others for mutual benefit. We can attempt to use power to force others to meet our needs or use persuasion to influence their decisions. We can also align ourselves with others of apparent common needs and desires and pretend we are cooperating while still playing some manipulative game. All of this requires communication of some sort.
Before language and its *** children written word, dogma and prejudice, people communicated in ways we do not fully understand. We can affirm that early man had ways of communicating that we do not have, or have forgotten. One might view these abilities as innate skills, tribal memory, instinct or even DNA based empathy. Regardless, each person with whom we communicate might have a more heightened degree of adroitness than we do. They might “remember better.” This can be a barrier to establishing trust and essential presence. It can also be a lynch-pin in a communication process of mutual benefit.

Comes a magician.

All of the modern derivatives of the Shaman role are based on “believing” rather then “knowing.” Our internal process of decision making are based on degrees of certainty and convictions usually plunked there by someone else. The concept of certitude and transition learning is being destroyed by vicarious experience and non-interpersonal communication. The accelerating shift from a work-based modality to an entertainment modality is a denial of personal responsibility. People are now in greater need for Shaman than ever before but have been trained to trust the charlatan over the seer. What little they do allow as an influence of changing perceptions is in a theater setting. They observe other people acting out skits in which problems and fears similar to their own are challenged and conquered. Every person desires a greater say over their future options. By observing how “no risk” actors handle situations they can extract either inspiration or courage to face their own problems. Unfortunately, they also learn how to play the “blame game.” This is easier than actually changing one’s values or perceptions. The result is that most people have numerous persona and avatars and convoluted webs of lies and deceptions that destroy both communication and self-actualization.

So, enters a person who will play act challenging the impossible or non-possible or not-possible. They perform skits with physical objects or limitations of mind to fictionally and allegorically challenge perceptions and fears of the observer to provide hope that one can be “more than they are.” When the demonstrations become too intense and fear might outweigh excitement and hope, the performer provides a wink or a reminder that it is all just a skit. But there is a profound difference between what the magician (conjuror or mentalist) pretends at and what an actor in a sitcom pretends at. The latter plays at “what to do” or even “how to do.” The magician plays at “why to do” or “why not to do.” The magician also “tells the truth” – may be the only person in a spectator’s life that does. He tells the seeker exactly what he is going to do and then always does what he says. This is the basis of integrity that the seeker lacks. It doesn’t matter that the demonstration is physically impossible, or that it demonstrates a mental ability considered to be “other than normal.” That is the “effect” of challenge the impossible and coming away unscathed. More important is the “affect” of demonstrating that a lonely person can overcome personal fears, practice, focus and offer hope that any person can challenge their own fears and gain a greater say over their future options.

The performing magician is closer to an ancient Shaman than any other mentor available to the seeker. This “mantel of expectations” of the observer places a responsibility on the magician that most mangle, abuse or deny. The tragedy is that the conjuror or mentalist DOES have the ability to overcome the impossible, but fritters it away on egoic !@#$%^&*()_+ or other form of hubris. They fight with their peers over terms like “magician” or “psychic.” They attack anyone who holds a view other than their own. They pretend that their audience is stupid, gullible, soulless and “less able” than they. What a waste!

So what?

You may accept some of this philosophy or none. This does not matter. If you have been taken to the core of your own beliefs and values and certainty and gained some clarity it is enough. In designing a mentalism effect or routine you must be absolutely clear on what you are attempting to accomplish, what are the expectations of the seekers before you, and acceptance of the knowledge that you are in a unique position to change a person’s life.

There is ancient intellectual challenge. You meet a stranger on a mountain path. He has knowledge of value to you since he comes from where you must go. You likewise have knowledge that could be of value to him. You have a brief opportunity to establish the trust and respect to support truthful communication. A single chance! What do you do? Tell a story? Sing an emotional song? Ask banal questions? Do a magic trick? Beat him up? Prove your superiority in some manner? Bribe him?

Yeah, I know the answer. You will say, “I have 3000 friends on YouTube.”

No, you have chosen to be a Shaman. Now prove it! [/quote]
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jul 1, 2017 05:58PM)
[quote]On Jun 28, 2017, WitchDocChris wrote:
remember that everything outside of humans would just as soon eat you as help you.
[/quote]

Cliche anthropocentric human arrogance. There goes a man assuming everyone sees him as a gourmet dish again when, truth be told, those "things" don't appear to find humans even half that appetizing and if they ate you, so what? We all gotta eat. Where's the dishonesty in that? Animals make no bones about it. They live in harmony, they find ways to make a living- and when take a meal they appreciate it rather than assuming a condescending attitude of scorn and contempt the way humans so often do.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jul 1, 2017 06:00PM)
Have you ever alluded to "shamanistic" activities and do you advocate such things and live by them and by the way, Ken, do you have anything more to contribute to your theme?
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jul 1, 2017 07:46PM)
[quote]On Jul 1, 2017, magicalaurie wrote:
[quote]On Jun 28, 2017, WitchDocChris wrote:
remember that everything outside of humans would just as soon eat you as help you.
[/quote]

Cliche anthropocentric human arrogance. There goes a man assuming everyone sees him as a gourmet dish again when, truth be told, those "things" don't appear to find humans even half that appetizing and if they ate you, so what? We all gotta eat. Where's the dishonesty in that? Animals make no bones about it. They live in harmony, they find ways to make a living- and when take a meal they appreciate it rather than assuming a condescending attitude of scorn and contempt the way humans so often do. [/quote]

This thread is getting hilarious.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jul 1, 2017 07:47PM)
[quote]On Jul 1, 2017, magicalaurie wrote:
[quote]On Jun 28, 2017, WitchDocChris wrote:
remember that everything outside of humans would just as soon eat you as help you.
[/quote]

Cliche anthropocentric human arrogance. There goes a man assuming everyone sees him as a gourmet dish again when, truth be told, those "things" don't appear to find humans even half that appetizing and if they ate you, so what? We all gotta eat. Where's the dishonesty in that? Animals make no bones about it. They live in harmony, they find ways to make a living- and when take a meal they appreciate it rather than assuming a condescending attitude of scorn and contempt the way humans so often do. [/quote]

This thread is getting hilarious. Every time I think it can't get more ridiculous and pretentious it manages to go even further.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jul 1, 2017 07:58PM)
I wonder, does the lie through its appearances present nothing but an evolution of a lie, from its origin to its end, the end being, a return to its cause and will this desire of mine to comprehend the transcendent levels of reality through concrete phenomena remain a hallmark of my earliest experiences?
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jul 1, 2017 08:02PM)
Http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/indias-wandering-lions-full-episode/14114/
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jul 2, 2017 05:20PM)
I wonder if Ken has a monkey’s foot and carries a toad known to be poisonous when he is out walking the mountain path looking for strangers.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jul 2, 2017 06:29PM)
Back on - I have been mowing grass, unfortunately without the aid of magic.

I ma glad tommy reposted my article that clearly refers to "modern derivatives of the Shaman role"

Nothing in there says I am a Shaman or that anyone else should be -- only that today's performer emulates some of the activities that shaman once did.
Other functions included mentoring youth, herbal remedies, legal arbitration and marriage ceremonies.

Now, tommy, your reference to monkey's foot and toads sows that you have little knowledge of what Shaman did.

All I walk with is open heart and hand, and a bit of experiential knowledge of possible use to another.

Read the article again. You might learn something -- but not about what I do when performing magic.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jul 2, 2017 09:55PM)
He who is a Charlatan by “Our Magic” does not have a Goat?
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jul 3, 2017 05:14AM)
The goats with spider genes and silk in their milk

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/science-environment-16554357/the-goats-with-spider-genes-and-silk-in-their-milk

Art or Nature?
Message: Posted by: Joshua Barrett (Jul 4, 2017 11:14AM)
This is thread.... It's amazing. I don't think never read so many platitudes with so much sophistry in such a short time. let it never die
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jul 5, 2017 02:12AM)
This act.... It's amazing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rjmzme3NKWg