Creating a moment

Creating a moment
"Juggling tricks and skillful amusements with cards and coins are easy to learn—anyone can do them—but creating magic is completely different. To create magic is to conjure with wonder and toy with the imagination of men, to give them the opportunity to dream a journey beyond the boundaries of flesh and bone, to glimpse into the adjacent possible. Wonder is a primal privilege and is at the heart of what makes us human. As magicians we should treat it with deep respect and appreciate the artistic possibilities. In doing so, we can transcend the act of magic itself and allow for something more interesting to emerge." – Ben Earl

The above excerpt comes from one of the most overlooked chapters of Ben Earl’s book, Inside Out. Conjuring With Wonder (p. 91) directly touches on creating magic that moves beyond strictly structured performance.

When going to a concert, comedy show, or any live performance—even musicals, we won’t judge you—it's easy to feel when someone is only ‘going through the motions’. Mechanical, rigid, and procedural steps moving from one beat to the next. Conversely, it's electrifying when faced with an experience grounded in the present. Our hearts beat faster, the world is brighter and sounds crisper; we feel the moment heighten and unfold as a part of us.

Practice, scripting, and routine design are all important. We often find Ben wandering barefoot around the studio, muttering that cards are ‘meditation in a box’, while executing countless passes and munching biscuits. And yet, creating a moment of magic with someone requires us to merge our dexterous skill, linguistic abilities, and conceptual musings into a single happening. We practice so these become integrated into our very being, no longer requiring any more thought than walking.

Custom-tailored wonder emerges when we unshackle ourselves from the limitation to specific ‘tricks’ or ‘sets’.

Think of your sleights and premises as paints in a box. There are only so many base colours, but through their mixing, endless hues emerge. We can restrict ourselves to a few colours or embrace the whole rainbow. We can have preferred pairings, yet also the ability to mix new patterns on the spot. We start with a general vision but must allow ourselves the freedom to pivot and respond to the moment. Art emerges when practiced structure is allowed to fall away.

This is why we espouse the importance of fundamentals; within the basics we find boundless possibilities. The transformation of a card or teleportation of a coin holds no singular method or premise, adapting to endless manifestations of wonder.

Think about your magic as being discovered in the moment, something which lives and breathes. Real Magic is conjured from within the bespoke. Anything that emerges from this space… lives.

1 comment

After watching numerous videos by Ben, I have come to appreciate that magic is MUCH more than just performing a card or coin trick. Alot pf people can teach you sleight of hand to do a trick, but Ben has shown me that timing, attitude, psychology, paying attention to the spectator’s actions can alter how you do the trick. Of course, you still need to practice the sleight of hand, but for me it brings a new attitude to my practice drills. If you do all of this, you will truly bring WONDER and MAGIC to the spectator(s).


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