What is magic?

Ed Williams and I worked on a course to teach aspiring magicians how to be entertaining.  The course was built around our understanding of the nature of magic.  We define magic as

Magic is the performing art of conjuring in which the performer expresses himself creatively through his performance  by creating meaning and context consistently and clearly  in his performance through continuous two way communication, which is both verbal and nonverbal, between the performer and the audience that leads to entertainment through suspension of disbelief and deception.  

Our definition comprises several parts:

  •  Magic is the performing art of conjuring
    1. performance art
    2. conjuring
  •  in which the performer expresses himself creatively through his performance
    1. creative self expression
    2. performance is the vehicle for the expression
  • by creating meaning and context consistently and clearly  in his performance (Atmosphere, Consistency, and Clarity)

    1. Atmosphere -controls the state of mind in which the spectators view your performance.      Atmosphere consists of two elements:
      1. Treatment
        1. Theme
          • Personalities
          • Phenomenon
          • Purpose
          • Proof
        2. Presentation
      2. Performer’s Character
        Atmosphere, like interest, must be built up.  Without atmosphere there can be no suspension of  disbelief and hence no illusion. Atmosphere creates the context and meaning of the magical performance for the audience.  This creates the drama which leads to the suspension of disbelief.   Magic differs from theatrical plays in that magic has conviction (suspension of disbelief) and deception while theatrical plays have merely conviction.  Conviction aids the performer by making deception easier.  When belief is suspended, the audience  is so absorbed in what you are doing as your character that they have little or no time or inclination to spare for how you did it.
    2. Consistency
    3. Clarity
  • through continuous two way communication, which is both verbal and nonverbal, between the performer and the audience
    1. two way conversation
    2. verbal and nonverbal communication
  • that leads to entertainment
  • through suspension of disbelief and deception.
    1. suspension of disbelief (conviction)
    2. deception

 

Magically yours,

magic tricks sig file

 

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