Strategies of Magic
(excerpts from the performances)

The Illusionists Rules of Misdirection

The Illusionists’ Rules of Misdirections are as follows:
-the spectator’s eye will look where the Illusionist is looking
-use a broad motion to cover another motion that you wish to conceal
-keep the audience occupied with patter to direct their attention 

The apparent contender of supernatural powers, the Illusionist makes the world bow to his will. Through the use of to symbolic attributes, objects and language, he transgresses the boundaries of the common citizen. A man of many talents, manipulating the elements of nature, the rules of society and the laws of taxation. 

The illusionist is not sole responsible for the deception and could not get away with his trick without the contribution of the audience. Unable to resist the notion of effortless transformation and driven by a want for something that goes beyond the secular, the spectators will construct a reality which contradicts perception. The stronger the contradiction, the more powerful the effect. 

The one real threat to the Illusionist is his own vanity. Without revealing the trick the evidence of his genius will remain concealed, the execution attributed not to him but to some alien source of power. Here, a majority of candidates fail, unable to contain their pride, but to those who manage to suppress the urge, the world lies open. 

The Illusionist’s most splendid accomplishment is the Self-Seduction Trick. Spellbound by the limelights, his supremacy affirmed by the homage of the audience, he too believes in the illusion. And so he consolidates his position, because herein lies the secret: the absence of anything suggesting a different order will make the prevailing one the norm. 

A confident man is the Illusionist, unable to imagine that his performance will ever be challenged. So great is his self-reliance and so convincing the effects that he produce, that we would sooner doubt our own judgement than his evident authority. And with good reason, as it is by far the more convenient choice. 

The association of Illusionists remains an exclusive one. This is partly due to the carefully observed practice of never revealing trade secrets and partly to the rigorous admission requirements. Demanding not only talent from the candidate but also the absence of scruples and the capital to sustain a convincing trick, the admission ticket to this society is expensive. '

The seduction of the Illusionist’s act depends largely on the setup surrounding it. This includes the appearance of the illusionist himself, which must be carefully designed to betray no signs of weakness. So is the cut of his trousers and the length of his coat perfectly adjusted to disguise any limp, deformity or ambivalence of the mind. 

The expertise of the illusionist is measured by the degree to which he controls the seven principles of sleigh of hand; the palm, the ditch, the steal, the load, the simulation, the misdirection and the switch. Performed seamlessly, those tools will blind the spectators to the gap between transformation and trickery - or render them indifferent to the divergence. 

The greatest fear of the Illusionist is exposure. A professional, he is well prepared for the occasion and does not flinch at the accusation of deceit. Plain-faced he directs our attention to another trick, more dazzling than the last, safe in the knowledge that it's not so much about the control of what we think, but the control of what we think about. 

on Magic

part 1: Magic vs Illusionism 

Magic is Transformation.

An actual alteration from one thing or one stage into another. 

Then there is Illusionism.

This is the art of making things look as though they change. 

Distinguishing between the two takes practice.

The skilled Illusionist will blind you for the miniscule seams that hold the image of metamorphosis together, producing a dazzling effect. 

The Illusionist also has the further advantage of performing in front of an audience willing to believe in the trick - the disappearance of the rabbit is, after all, too attractive a concept to be easily dismissed.

Just think what else could be made to go away - without effort or any price to pay. 

Meanwhile, actual magic frequently passes you by, it’s undramatic expression in sharp contrast to it’s substantial consequences.

It can be found in a gesture or in the use of a word - a small but revolutionary change.

(Try replacing “liberated” with “occupied”, and see what happens - just as an unrelated example..)

The main difference between Magic and Illusionism, however, has nothing to do with appearance.

It consists in the means behind the manifestation. 

Transformation is a gradual thing, which requires a combination of faith and determined work, and it is in fact the process rather than the outcome that constitutes the magic moment. 

That and the new perspective on existence that follows. 

part 2: The Goals and Strategies of Magic 

The goal of magic is making the impossible possible. 

This is not necessarily a matter of dissolving the physical laws of nature, but rather of revoking established notions of the constitution of existence and society.

In this way, new energy is released and new possibilities for change emerge. 

The method through which this is accomplished is re-location of power.
This process begins on an individual level - with the subjective decision of what to attribute value and significance to.

When the establishment of this new perspective has been achieved, the main strategy consists in simply acting in the world accordingly. 

Those simple rules of the thumb are applicable on all areas of life; social, societal and existential. Etcetera. 

A key to the re-location of power is refusal to accept the rules of the established game.

Faced with an ultimatum, there is always a third way.

The method here is to ignore the stakes formulated by the prevailing system and to approach the situation from a different angle, corresponding with the new standards that have now been upgraded to norm. 

part 3: (Ir)rationality and Magic 

As a strategy, Magic holds enormous potential in that it is often mistaken for irrationality. 

The consequent application of new rules on an old system without any regard for established symbolic values will, as a rule, be perceived as absurd - a condition which, with the possible exception of those exceptionally vain, is in the obvious favour of the magician. 

Impossible to take seriously, the seemingly irrational is (in a society obsessed by rationality) generally dismissed as harmless, quaint and even cute, rendering it the perfect cover for all sorts of activity, played out more or less publicly.

Furthermore, it makes every move unpredictable and surprising as it’s logic is not apparent. 

The greatest mistake to be made here is to conclude that there is none.

While magic may seem like random acts with no apparent meaning or coherence, it does in fact constitute a complex and advanced methodology which is both economic and rational in terms of achieving results. 

What those results are on a specific level will differ depending on by whom and in what context this methodology is being employed, but some basic features are common for all kinds of real magic.

Of those, the most important one is that things will never be the same again. 

part 4: A Magic Nation 

The ever-present potential to turn our lives around at any moment can only be activated through a faith and courage that goes beyond what we thought ourselves capable of - and this is where it all happens. 

Magic is, in conclusion, a fairly pragmatic phenomenon. 

Contrary to the popular image of a supernatural power deriving from some alien source, we already carry it in ourselves. 

Consisting of the human capacity to think and act in new ways, this latent potential can be liberated, developed and put to use at will.

The consequent employment of magic starts as a conscious act, but as this modus operandi is gradually internalised, it becomes second nature.

The main transformation, thus, takes place within, and from this point on, Magic Life begins. 

Suddenly, other magicians will appear in the immediate vicinity. 

(They were in fact there all along, but could only be spotted from this specific position.) 

And everything falls into place; things that used to be inexplicable suddenly make perfect sense. 

That strange woman, always smiling on the subway, she has a reason, and so does the guy insisting on wearing his coat backwards while tirelessly picking up rubber-bands in the street. 

Eventually, a pattern reveals itself, where the outlines of an altogether different existence emerge. 

It is a truly beautiful sight, illuminated by the hope that one day there will be enough. 

Enough to form a nation of magicians - a nation with the potential of real transformation. 

And so we continue our work: magically and stubbornly

As the sun sets behind the pinnacles of the parliament building. 

The Final Trick 

I stand before you, quite still now, and it’s quiet 

You wait, wondering what the trick will be 

You are sceptic, perhaps a little bit bored, but still curious enough 

And besides, there’s not much else to do in this room, at this moment 

And I wait, too, until the moment is just right 

Then I lift my hand, slowly 

And my body floats


Towards the ceiling 

Did you see it?

Did you see it happen just now?