Welcome to the Discourse in Magic Blog!
This is a place for us and you to share thoughts in the best way, the written word! What makes this section special is that it’s going to provide two main types of writing for you. The first is sort of a free-flowing journal style entry where we share our thoughts and react to your comments and ideas sent in by email. The second kind of entry you can expect is more of an instructional research-based guide on how to improve specific areas of your magic and other areas of performance theory. We want to keep this section of the site as up to date as possible with new content.
We hope that there will always be something for you here while you wait for the next episodes. We wish we could sit down and discourse some magic with all of you but that simply isn’t practical. So this is how we plan on keeping the conversation going!
We already have some guest essays and blogs coming in the near future but we want more! As you can tell we love reading about magic. If you have researched a topic in our art or if you simply are feeling passionate enough about a topic in magic to write about it, send it to us! One of the best ways to properly develop an idea is to test it among the community. This is one of the main reasons which inspired us to take on this project. We always feel that our magic improves drastically when we are studying together as opposed to when we are alone. So why not use the power of the internet to bring more magicians together.
We truly feel this is something the magic community needs because there are a lot of magicians, especially magicians new to magic who don’t have access to a solid community of performers. It is quite challenging to build your performance skills by yourself because you can only really learn through trial and error. There are a lot of barriers to overcome but the good news is a lot of people have already overcome those barriers and a lot of them are willing to help. We are more than willing to help and we are already getting tons of support from the community but we still need yours!
The more involvement from you means the more insight from a unique perspective. One of the things I love most about magic is that it can take place anywhere and be applied to almost anything. It affects our lives and the lives of our audiences in ways which are often totally unseen. Using the insight of our fellow magicians can help shed a light on the impact our magic is having. I am constantly blown away by the theories, techniques, and premises I hear from my fellow magicians. Often magicians who are new to magic are seeing the art from a perspective which more experienced magicians have lost touch with. It’s remarkable how many times a young magician has presented me with an idea that is so far outside the box that it completely changes how I see a magical problem and sometimes subsequently a life problem. I would like to share some basic ideas I have had about magic and briefly cover some topics which will be discussed in much greater detail later on.
A good question to always be asking yourself no matter where you are is: Why am I here?
Hopefully you are here at Discourse in Magic because you want to improve your magic since anyone who performs should want to perform it well. But what is the general goal of the contemporary magician? Why do we do it? What are we trying to achieve?
The message behind magic has changed since the days of dark arts, wizardry and sorcery. Today we are no longer trying to convince our audiences that we have supernatural powers (hopefully). Maybe we are trying to convince our audience that we have near super human skills, be it physical or mental (personally I feel this is the wrong approach but I’ll get back to that). What I mean is we no longer can reasonably claim we are actually breaking the natural laws that govern us. So what is it that we are asking of our audience? When we put on a show do we want them to simply be fooled? Astonished? Curious? Shocked? There is simply no way to answer this question. Why? Because every magician has different goals for their magic and every audience member feels differently about experiencing magic.
Coming from a mathematical background I like to keep things simple. This might sound totally backwards to those who do not enjoy the world of math but nonetheless I want to get to the basis of the question. If we can’t know the specific reaction that EVERY magician wants then what do we know? We know that every magician wants a reaction. We are trying to create a moment of genuine uncontrolled response to totally something outside of normal life. Personally I want to make people happy. I want them to take joy in being reminded of the faults in their perception. To know that they saw something impossible. But what does that really mean? If someone sees something they know can’t be true they have two basic possible pathways of belief. The first option is to change what they believe to be possible. The second is to understand that it is impossible to perceive an absolute reality. It is paradoxical to see something impossible if seeing something makes it true so either the impossible thing that they saw is possible or it is sometimes possible to see and experience impossible things. In my opinion the second pathway is much more magical. Many of you reading this may have very different goals for your performances.
Magic sometimes isn’t about what we can and can’t do (what is possible and impossible) but about what we should and shouldn’t do. There are more rules that control us than just what the rules reality will allow. For example we are told to be safe from a very early age, to be as safe as possible and having a fear of danger is evolutionarily ingrained in us. So when an audience sees a magician put nails in their face, eat fire and glass, or fiery glass it causes an emotional response similar to that of seeing something impossible. You can play with fire. Do drink the motor oil. Feats of Geek magic though totally possible, if done well should bring the audience into a world so turned upside-down that they feel the experience of magic. And that is why we are all here. We are here to create the experience of magic in people’s lives and most importantly do it well. I truly believe it is important to understand what you want to achieve before even considering methods of achieving it because that is how real magic starts. This applies not only to your magic but anything in your life. So for now the three simple (but not so simple) questions I want to ask are:
What do we aim to achieve as magicians?
What do you want to achieve with your magic?
What unseen impact might your magic be having on your audience and yourself?