The Conjuring Arts

Jan 28, 2014

Credit Karen Roe / Creative Commons

Led by Harry Potter, the last 20 years have unleashed a new wave of enthusiasm for the fantasy side  of magic. But, we've also seen an undeniable re-engagement with stage magic. In 2006 alone, there were two movies about magicians, "The  Prestige" and "The Illusionist." 

There was also a Turkish movie about a magician that year, but I'm guessing that most of you never saw it. Last year, there was "Now You See Me," a film about young magicians turning to crime and the more forgettable comedy, "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone." 

So, these are two modes of magic. From the stage magicians point of view, what he does is real and what J.K. Rowling dreams up is fake. From the fantasy viewpoint, her characters really do magic while the performer is faking it. 

And, as the world becomes increasingly rational, a place where technology can predict our  needs, watch our  moves, and expose our secrets, is a little mystery what we need?

Where do these worlds overlap?

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  • Lev Grossman is the book critic for Time Magazine and the author of several award-winning books including The Magicians, The Magician King, and  The Magician’s Land, the third book in the trilogy, set for release in August
  • CJ May is a sustainability professional who uses magic to educate, entertain and empower audiences with messages on sustainability. For children he performs as Cyril the Sorcerer. When presenting and training adults he is CJ May - The Resourcerer.
  • Professor Lawrence Hass is a professor of Humanities at Austin College, Associate Dean of Jeff McBride's Magic & Mystery School in Las Vegas, and Publisher of Theory and Art of Magic Press
  •  Drs. Stephen Macknik and Susanna Martinez-Conde are neuroscientists and the co-authors of Sleights of Mind