Imagine seeing this on a dating website: “Seeking a man, preferably over 6 foot. Athletic build. I want him to be comfortable in telling me he is going to lie to me. I’m looking for that special someone who’s then going to blow me away with how good he is at lying to me. That beautiful someone who will then refuse to tell me when or how it is exactly he lied to me when I approach him about it later on.”
I know it seems a little ridiculous, and yet that is exactly my job description.
I am a performance artist. I specialize in an art form that has been around for thousands of years. I create impossible possibilities. I make the ordinary extraordinary.
I am a magician.
I don’t just lie for a living. I beg, borrow, cheat and steal.
I beg you to trust me, as I borrow your wallet, maybe your ring, or phone. I proceed to cheat you of your senses, all while I steal your attention for an indeterminate amount of time.
The funny thing is, you’ll usually love it and want me to do it more.
Life is, for the most part, safe. It makes sense. It has to. We boil water in kettles and store eggs in the fridge. We don’t store eggs in a kettle and try to boil water with a fridge. Knowledge is tightly weaved, and rightfully so. We depend on its, well, dependency.
One of my favourite fellow entertainers, a comedy musician named Tim Minchin has this lyric in his beat poem entitled Storm: ” […]I resist the urge to ask […] whether knowledge is so loose-weave of a morning when deciding whether to leave her apartment by the front door…Or the window on her second floor.”
It is a powerful use of imagery, that Tim employs to introduce a healthy dose of skepticism light-heartedly. I really like considering, that in my own way, every day, I get to think of new ways to ask people to leave home via the window on their second floor.
Once you let me come into your bubble of everyday, the bubble you know as your experience of reality, I not only allow you to suspend your disbelief, I insist on it. To let go of what you know as possible, all while maintaining a sense of safety.
Experiencing magic, in its purest form, lets us step to that wonderful verge, that romantic edge: where reality meets illusion, delusion, and fantasy. We can peak over that edge, and see for a moment, what it’d be like to let go completely. To go beyond even the most powerful imaginative device known to us, that which is a child’s mind, and venture into the realm of complete un-sanity. All while maintaining a solid tie with the firm, solid and safe ground that lies beneath our feet.
It may just be a card trick. It may just be that the coin was there and then it was gone. It may be that I purportedly read her mind or took his watch without him noticing. All of these have one thing in common. You. What I mean is, for the experience of magic to be felt by either of us, you, someone, anyone – has to be there.
It isn’t the same as music, or writing, or visual art. Where one might create a beautiful melody or painting or story, and genuinely enjoy its process. From conception to polished product, not necessitating another individual’s reaction. The same cannot be said about magic. The countless hours of practise, (the various moves, manipulations and skills necessary to the art) are devoid of meaning until they are put together and performed for another.
So allow me the time right now, to thank you, for letting me in, and giving me the permission to take your mind into a new place for a time. Whether “me” is in fact me, or “me” represents another magician you may encounter in the future, both accounts still hold true.
Letting me take grip of your reality for a moment completes the cycle that makes my art impactful. Sharing your memories of that experience makes my art relevant to future generations. Letting go of logic makes the potential pains and struggles of your life go away for a time.
Magic to me is about more than fame, fiscal success, shouts of “HOW DID YOU DO THAT!” or new social media likes\follows. It is about taking you on a journey, not telling you where we’re going, or how we got there when we arrive.
Don’t worry about how we got there, just buckle up and enjoy the ride.