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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Seeing is believing » » Optical illusions are not magic. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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0pus
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Quote:
Magic is a feeling


I thought magic was theatre.
Jonathan Townsend
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Okay opus, some theater experiences include the feeling of magic, and the effective performance of a magic routine involves techniques on can learn in the theater.

However, ALL things described as magical involve a particular sentimental perception INSIDE the viewer. And this is where the discussion of optical issues was going.

IMHO the term 'theater' incorporates WAY TOO MUCH from staging, props, music, acting, scripts, character etc to be of great use in this discussion how the perception of an optical illusion relates to the experience of the feeling of 'magic'.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Tom Jorgenson
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There are only two times when Magic happens: 1) when there is Cause without Effect and
2) When there is Effect without Cause.

If an Optical Illusion is incorporated to achieve any of the above, then it is magic.

However, Winslow, you are also correct: something simple in the line of OI is not magic; for instance, a card with a wonky visual on it is a puzzle or an occurance, but does not achieve 'magic' status.
We dance an invisible dance to music they cannot hear.
Shadowzen
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I have to agree that in a sense, all magic is an optical illusion, unless it can be performed effectively when the audiences eyes are closed.

In order to be of specific relevance to this forum, I think you have to narrow the definition to include only magical effects that rely on manipulation of the optical properties of something.

No one I've shown the rubber pencil to yet has thought it was a magic trick. They all instantly recognize it as an optical illusion.

On the other hand, no one knows that the disappearing human head in box is an optical illusion.
Frank Tougas
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I would be willing to bend it to mean, optical illusions are not magic tricks, they are ,however magical and used extensively in the grand scale illusions - which are definitely magic tricks.
Frank Tougas The Twin Cities Most "Kid Experienced" Children's Performer :"Creating Positive Memories...One Smile at a Time"
Jonathan Townsend
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Would the 'bending pencil' bit be a magic trick if the illusion was used to create the 'beat' needed to switch the pencil for a rubber pencil?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
kerpa
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Harry Anderson a few years ago narrated a great documentary on PBS, called the Science of Magic. You can very easily get it on eBay for less than $10, and I highly recommend it. The documentary deals with magic as being based on a combination of psychology, geometry, and (I'm forgetting the third one - help me, please? Smile

Anyway, the geometry section was about O.I.! Anyone who doesn't think O.I. is an integral part of magic, should see Frank Hazary's explanations of how he planned his effects - including making a volcano disappear, with the help of computer modeling in preparation. By the way, he didn't say exactly how he did it, but it was fun trying to figure it out. And it involved O.I.
kerpa
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Michael Miller
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Shadowzen
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The rubber pencil illusion is an optical illusion and not a magic trick when it’s done with the "shake" move but it is a magic trick and not an optical illusion if you do a switch for a rubber pencil.

Optical illusions can only occur if the brain interprets a visual stimulus incorrectly. If black art is used, the brain is interpreting the visual stimuli correctly, so it is not an optical illusion. It’s just a visual illusion.

So essentially, optical illusions are created by tricking the sensory vestibular system instead of tricking the higher centers of the brain like most magic tricks do.

And I don't care what Webster says. Morality is what I say is right and immorality is what I say is wrong!
Flec
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Magic is whatever you want it to be. Optical illusions are just the same as most of the tricks we do. Seeing something that's not really there, or believing something is happening when we know it isn't.
protik
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I also believe that optical illusions are not magic. But they are entertaining.
Matthew the Magnificent
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Quote:
On 2003-07-17 18:11, Bill Hallahan wrote:
.... Magic is either supernatural means or power, OR the art of producing illusions by sleight of hand. I looked it up in the Merriam-Webster dictionary...Bill: No, a trick is just sleight of hand...Bill: According to the dictionary, all magic tricks are sleight of hand!... None of these are actually magic. That’s why we call them magic tricks.


Bill, ONE thing that THIS PROVES is that the good editors at Merriam-Webster are NOT 'Magicians'...and I place the term 'Magician' WITHIN 'quotes' BECAUSE, I am willing to bet, NONE of us, here IS an ACTUAL Magician, EITHER !!! Oh, sure, we typically CALL ourselves one, but an actual Magician casts spells and all sorts of neat 'Medieval' stuff... at least since Houdin's time, we SHOULD BE acknowledging that we are merely ACTORS who are presenting ourselves as BEING Magical performers...

And it is another topic to get into, about which of us are CONVINCING in such a portrayal... but nonetheless, we are NOT 'Magicians' per se...

Merriam-Webbie GOT IT WRONG... plain and simple... OPTICAL ILLUSIONS are just as magical as an unexpected appearance of an 'extra' sponge rubber object within someone's hand, that only with an abundant application of imagination can be accepted as APPEARING to be a 'bunny'...

I could go on, the point is, really, the term "Magic" is actually VERY FLUID... the debate over whether 'Menatlism' is 'Magic' is a long-standing one, for instance... what SHOULD BE THE CRITERIA, regardless, is the EFFECT as percieved by the 'audience'... WE can use our 'own' coded terms, our own argot and lingo... but it is how and what the lay person observes and THINKS about what THEY see that actually should be the 'defining element'...

Lastly, I am gonna' close by saying that, to ME, the 'definition' is all about what appears to 'be' "Miraculous"... and THAT includes, both for ME and lay persons, things that we KNOW are NOT actually a Miracle... for instance, I doubt seriously that most observers, even for a second, accept ANY Magician's handicraft as BEING a miracle... not REALLY... Dai Vernon used to say that: "We only fool OURSELVES, we don't FOOL the audience!"

I will give you a personal example... I have a good background in Science, I actually UNDERSTAND all the physical and chemical reactions involved, BUT when I watch a 'latent image' appear on an otherwise 'blank sheet' of photographic paper, in a darkroom... well, STILL, to me, THAT is truly 'MAGICAL'... my eyes and mind 'getting warped' over some illustration DOES qualify as 'being magical' TO ME... it is okay if it doesn't fit YOUR definition, but don't worry about citing Merriam-Webbie's, THEY were not fellow finger flingers !!! Smile
Many years & Many experiences in Magic and Related Arts
Matthew the Magnificent
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Quote:
On 2003-07-25 18:08, Mr Amazing wrote:
Quote:
The very best Optical Illusion I've ever seen was the Needle Through "Inflated" Balloon.

You sure it was an Illusion? (Yes, I'm serious!)

/Matias


Dear Matias (my namesake), YES, it IS an illusion BECAUSE the audience BELIEVES that the balloon is UNDAMAGED... the FACT is that it has been pierced, twice, and IS leaking air ! By definition, an illusion is anything that appears to be OTHER than what it is...Smile
Many years & Many experiences in Magic and Related Arts
Matthew the Magnificent
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Many years & Many experiences in Magic and Related Arts
Matthew the Magnificent
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Quote:
On 2003-12-27 16:48, Tom Jorgenson wrote:
There are only two times when Magic happens: 1) when there is Cause without Effect and
2) When there is Effect without Cause.


While I LOVE the Zen Koan beauty of this elegant explanation, I fear it is an 'over-simplification', and thus an illusion, itself !

When older generations viewed lightning, and heard thunder, THEY DID NOT KNOW that the former CREATED (caused) the latter (actually, more of an 'after effect' than the 'effect', because BOTH are actually due to static charges, which themselves ARE effects caused by wind and...)

Likewise, it used to be SCIENTIFICALLY THOUGHT that Flies were 'created' by INSTANTANEOUS REGENERATION... the 'effect' of eggs hatching was unknown, or unobserved 'cause' at the time...

MY POINT: cause and effect are NEAT TERMS, but in general, it is a LACK OF UNDERSTANDING OR IDENTIFYING the 'underlying cause' that creates the IMPRESSION of a 'Magical Effect'...

Plus, Magicians are USUALLY 'guilty' of presenting BOTH... most all 'Magic Effects' DO present an alleged 'Cause'... varying from the 'wave of a wand' to the 'magical gesture of the hand'... or the 'flash of light', 'puff of smoke', 'hypnotic gaze', 'magic cabinet', 'swell in music', etc. etc. etc. Smile
Many years & Many experiences in Magic and Related Arts
Matthew the Magnificent
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Shadowzen brings up several and slightly disparate issues, so I am going to reply to them separately...
Quote:
On 2004-02-24 17:17, Shadowzen wrote:
The rubber pencil illusion is an optical illusion...Optical illusions can only occur if the brain interprets a visual stimulus incorrectly...


DEPENDS... this is UP TO THE AUDIENCE's PERCEPTION... I HAVE had plenty of observers who THOUGHT the pencil WAS rubber... and thus handing it TO THEM 'proved' that magic 'had occured'...
either before, during or after... doesn't matter... some may have thought it WAS rubber and 'got changed out', some may have thought it WAS solid, FIRST (if I tapped it on the table, i.e. at the outset), and then it 'changed'... not important WHEN nor HOW it 'Magically' changed... THEY BELIEVED THEY OBSERVED THAT IT CHANGED... and, of course, they typically BELIEVED that it 'must be a trick' too, so therefore it was viewed by THEM as 'Magic'... it is ONLY WE who remove ourselves from that arena by 'knowing better', and seeking to make a distinction about it, whether it is an 'illusion' or not... this distinction DOES NOT exist for the audience UNLESS the performer allows it to occur...

Essentially all magic is illusion, and perhaps only a mentalism effect is not an 'optical' one...

Which is pure IRONY considering how many magi argue that Mentalism is NOT 'magic'... they may have a point there, in that it CAN occur as its own illusion WITHOUT involving the eyes... but, then, MOST Mentalist effects DO have an audience using their eyes, not as a necessary part of the 'illusion', but to sort of convince them that NO illusion is being performed !!!

Anyway, leaving THAT tangent aside...

The second 'issue' that I have quoted above, that an 'optical illusion can only occur with a misinterpretation'... no, I can demonstrate that SOME optical illusions can be a funcion of a CORRECT interpretation, but that there IS say, a 'duality' present... for instance, it CAN BE CORRECT to see a 'negative space' image of two faces, versus an alternate view of a 'positive space' white vase... neither is WRONG, per se, each IS valid, it is merely that the ACTUAL 'image' is contradictory or AMBIGUOUS... this ultimately is what most observers will come to realize, and it IS a 'correct' interpretation of the 'reality'... yet, still, it remains as 'optically illusive' in nature, for our minds always SEEK to end ambiguousity, we try to make LOGIC where it might not exist... THAT is the 'trick'here, and it IS a mental state, as Shadowzen went on to discuss... hence, I will address THAT issue, next... Smile
Many years & Many experiences in Magic and Related Arts
Dr_Stephen_Midnight
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I not only NEED glasses, I WEAR glasses...quite proudly.

Yes optical illusions are a magical tool. Standard, printed "perception games" also have their place. They are great on ad literature and as giveaways people will hold on to.
Since I perform as "The Clouder of Minds" (a mentalist who specializes in projecting thoughts and invoking hallucinations) optical illusions in my ads add punch to my spiel about perception and the power of suggestion.

Steve
Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
Loual4
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Quote:
On 2003-12-11 14:46, kilgourpower wrote:
My head hurts!
Surely all Magic are optical illusions?

"I cant believe my eyes!"

Smile


Actually, Mentalism has nothing to do with optical illusions.

Cheers!
JohnDoh
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Quote:
On 2003-05-30 03:35, Winslow Homer wrote:
Optical illusions are not magic.... by themselves. If you think they are you need glasses. Smile


Maybe some of the readers of this post need glasses, as they seem to have disregarded the last two words of the first sentence...
Ray Graham
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Actually I'm looking for good optical illusions for use in a scientific presentation. Also physical phenomena which can be presented in a magical way. any ideas out there?
Dr_Stephen_Midnight
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"Actually, Mentalism has nothing to do with optical illusions."

Don't you just love an absolutist?

Salud.

Steve
Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
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