Something troubling in Steinmeyer's new book

Talk about what is being written in other magic publications.
Umpa Duze
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Re: Something troubling in Steinmeyer's new book

Postby Umpa Duze » February 6th, 2012, 3:13 am

Jay, thank you for sharing Maskelyne's writing. I really like the word "recondite" to mean something hidden or obfuscated. When I looked it up, I found another "incondite:" to put together badly. Both seem worthy of a discussion of many modern magic performances.
Umpa Duze

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Corneilius Jay
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Re: Something troubling in Steinmeyer's new book

Postby Corneilius Jay » February 6th, 2012, 6:33 am

Umpa Duze.
You should definatly get his book "Our Magic" it answers the questions about effects and their importance in a very simple way. I posted only a fraction here but he goes on to say that magic is an Art before all else, and to copy someone else's artistic piece is akin to not being an artist ones self but being a bad imitation of a true artist which he defines as "false Art".
Someone who takes someone else's. Effect and changed it enough to become his own thing is a perfectly natural and progressive process in any art form is defined as "normal Art"
Someone who takes the basic tools of the Artist and creates something entirely original is defined as "fine Art"

What is being discussed in this thread is not the Art of magic but commerce which have nothing to do with each other in fact I would go as far as to say that commerce is hurting tha Art of magic by stunting the imagination of budding Artists ( magicians ) by supplying them with a shortcut without supplying them with the fundamentals to create their own effects thus perpetuating Artistic stagnation.


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Re: Something troubling in Steinmeyer's new book

Postby n|trous » May 12th, 2012, 7:28 pm

When we publish in academic journals, we are ideally publishing in a Peer Reviewed environment. When we publish a book, there generally is no such peer review (perhaps there is a read for style/content but books are NOT peer reviewed).

Interestingly, this is a problem that sources like Wikipedia, WebMD etc suffer from. How do you ensure that the information is correct? It is often iterative in nature.

I suppose that when a great effects' method is "lost" due to time, it is up to the new guard to actually reproduce the effect by means that actually work. Of course, there really is no obligation to take all effects and keep them alive. In some cases, even publishing the wrong method might be better than letting the effect be truly lost for ever. That way, if the effect interests someone, they might actually be inspired to reproduce the effect (typically with better technology than existed at the time of the original.

Anverdi Effects are inspiring but no one would actually perform them with the original electronics, unless they were demonstrating the historical context of magic OR they really didn't know what technology is currently available.

Anyway, this is an interesting discussion.

NB: the problem with the gene pool is... there are no life guards! :)

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Michael Kamen
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Re: Something troubling in Steinmeyer's new book

Postby Michael Kamen » May 12th, 2012, 8:38 pm


I appreciate your scholarly approach though I will stay out of the way of the argument over what is or is not in the public domain. Unlike say general education, whose aims are usually agreed upon as for the common good, no one cares if the next generation of audiences is amazed by magicians more then the last (the ostensible outcome of "advancement" of the craft) -- only that they keep coming to our shows and spending their money (a marketing matter rather than a technical one). Something similar seems to be at work in the marketplace of magic tricks and books. My theory (the proof of which I will shamelessly leave to others) is there are not enough serious performers to support this market as it currently exists. Rather, it thrives on an abundance of foolish, fanciful, sometimes undereducated, and otherwise sanguine customers feeding an addiction. My jaded view is, no one in such a market profits by wisening them up.

Best wishes,
Michael Kamen

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