If the magic from the last century to today is considered "cheese", and Criss Angel's Mindfreak is conjuring's rebirth aimed at a younger demographic where does this syllogism leave the traditional appreciation of this art form? After reading Genii's cover article on the background and artistic intent of Mindfreak, I'm left entwined in a conundrum. Is Angel's direction the foundation of magic to be or are his impressive energy and talents leading magic into a Neverland of over-the-top, quick edit, sly camera angle, post-production cheap thrills?
Chris Angel emphasized in the Genii interview that the majority of magic and illusion can and will be duplicated live on stage. It is my opinion that no matter how well the staging, lighting and music, without the camera's special effects and formulized sense of what is real by television standards the magic will be lost on the "reality TV" indoctrinated audience. The concept of misdirection is cheapened by a camera's forced view of where to look, as opposed, to a skilled performer's subtle, psychologically aware techniques of well-timed hand and body movements.
Watching a swallowtail coat festooned performer produce a seemingly endless array of doves IS getting old. Sitting through the 100th viewing of the substitution trunk has lost its allure. What about Cardini wannabes and their endless same old, same old? On the other hand, rapid fire, synapse blasting video editing, camera skewed dissolves and shots of momma crying for her poor endangered magician son leaves some viewers intellectually cold. Where is that common ground where we can gleefully suspend our disbelief? Is it a take it or leave it proposition? Will anyone assure us that the Mindfreak genre is just a pendulum swing and the old and new of magic can and will coexist and blossom?
A Crossroad is a stimulating place to be. The people of Genii, A&E and Criss Angel's company have brought us here to magic's point of embarkation. What will be found? Maybe it will be another crossroad.