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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Invisible Method (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Alan Wheeler
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I haven't posted here I some time, but the other day I had some food for thought about what I consider the hallmark of magic: the effect. Presentation is indispensable, character and story are important, but "effect is everything" in one sense.

The magic effect boils down to what Roberto Giobbi once called "the missing causal link" between the initial condition and the final condition.
This invisibility of method produces wonder, mystery, astonishment, or that emotional, visceral "no way!" also known as Haydn's dilemma.

This is why Arthur C. Clarke could say that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, the reason the starry night sky and childbirth elicit awe as well as the explanation for great artistry and skill being dubbed "magical." In other words, our different uses for the word "magic" may not merely be a conflation of meanings as much as a designation of a similar experience.

Even though we know there is a technical method or natural explanation or artistic training behind the effect, we still feel amazement and pleasure.

So three cheers for the invisible method!
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
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debjit
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This is a great Food for Thought. You're right, we magicians should focus on the effect more. Mind reading with the Center Tear is just as good an effect as the latest expensive peek device.
Brad Burt
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For me the "effect" has always been the most important aspect of the magic performed. I mean think about it: No "effect", no "magic". A very, very bare bones presentation with a killer effect is always powerful.

It's great to make folks laugh and laugh while doing your magic. It's a 'way' to do what we do. But, it's virtually always presentation first and effect second. Another way to 'do' magic is to hit your audience with killer effect after killer effect leaving them gasping. Neither is particularly better. One simply puts emphasis upon the "magic" as opposed to the "clothes".
Brad Burt
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