Sign up Latest Topics Chat
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment  
Bill Guinee

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 55
Reply with quote  #1 
One of my favorite books is "Frame Analysis" by the eminent sociologist Erving Goffman. Goffman notes how important frames are, despite the fact that we are usually consciously paying attention to what is inside the frame. He begins by questioning how two dogs who are playing at fighting know that they are only playing - why don't they actually start fighting. How do they frame the event? Is it the timber of their voices, the wagging of tales or what that gives context to their actions. Similarly, one can consider how frames work on actual pieces of visual art. Is the piece of art under glass in a traditional frame, or taped to a refrigerator (refrigerator as a frame) or even put in the enormous frame of a museum. And how do the separate frames influence our appreciation of the art? Do we automatically react differently to a piece of art when we view it attached to the refrigerator door with magnets?

I did a lot of research in the past on the placebo effect, which is fundamentally an issue of framing. It turns out that doctors who use the symbolic language of healing (things like white lab coats and diplomas on the wall) get better medical results.  So, it's only a placebo but look at the results.

Recently I read Henning Nelms book. There is a lot of great stuff in the book, but the first hundred pages or so kind of annoyed me because Nelms kept arguing that the best way to do magic was to frame it as some kind of real event: a demonstration of strength, or memory, or psychic abilities, or astrology, etc. I had trouble with this ethically, but also because I want to think that magic is cool in and of itself.

Even more recently, I have been watching the Carbonaro effect show. What fascinates me is the reaction that he gets from people just by changing the frame. He doesn't frame his tricks as a magic act, but as something else, often a new product that some company has developed. And, the reactions he gets are so, so different from what he would get if he simply asked: "want to see a cool magic trick?"

So, I would be interested in your thoughts on frames. How can we best frame our magic? What are the ways we can best contextualize our routines to achieve the kinds of astonishment that we seek?
0
Anthony Vinson

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member - Moderator
Registered:
Posts: 2,024
Reply with quote  #2 
Eugene Burger suggested that we frame our magic in terms of what interests us. That always made sense to me. Personally I am interested in science, psychology, storytelling, and the human experience. When I look for new magic, or create my own presentational hooks, they are framed within those parameters. This rather extensive framework provides endless opportunities to explore plots, use story, and work to create presentations that are interesting and compelling.

I believe that much of the advice you gleaned from the Nelms book is antiquated, but may well appeal to many of today's magicians. If so, that's fine, so long as it's personal and entertaining!

Av 
0
RayJ

Avatar / Picture

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 435
Reply with quote  #3 
I'll begin by saying that everyone needs to find a frame that fits their personality.  If you look and or sound like a country bumpkin, probably not a good idea to try to frame a trick as a scientific experiment.  Once you decide upon a frame, then I think you have to do everything you can to sell it.  That would include dress, mannerisms and choice of material.  It could also include lighting choices to enhance a mood.  It all adds up and enhances the effect you are wanting to achieve.
0
Socrates

Avatar / Picture

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 665
Reply with quote  #4 
How we frame our magic is dependent on what we hope to achieve.  What kind of astonishment do you seek?  We are of course all unique, the feeling of magic I hope to create may well be different than yours, in fact we may even choose to elicit different outcomes for different audiences and venues.

Apollo Robbins intrigued me with his informative approach, utilizing magic tricks and pickpocketing to highlight how our brains/perception works. 

Docc Hilford had the following to say which is of interest:

"We are crafters in performance. We can make whatever we want in collaboration of our audiences, and we have tools. Physical tools as props and also mechanical and psychological tools as methods. Props and methods don't define what you do.  If people experience a mindreading moment, you are a mind-reader. If people experience an expert with playing cards, you are an expert at playing cards"
0
Bill Guinee

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 55
Reply with quote  #5 
Thank you guys for the great comments so far. Last night I went to a show by a mentalist. Strangely, I don't know that I had ever previously gone to a dedicated mentalist show. For me, the most interesting thing was watching the audience. Their responses to the effects were so much different than they would have been if they had thought they were attending a "magic show." Just the idea that what was happening might be real, might be something their minds might be capable of produced a level of joy and astonishment I have rarely witnessed in a magic show.
   Of course, then there are the inevitable ethical issues concerning when we cease to be entertainers and become con artists.
0
Paul Hallas

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 1,125
Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Guinee
Thank you guys for the great comments so far. Last night I went to a show by a mentalist. Strangely, I don't know that I had ever previously gone to a dedicated mentalist show. For me, the most interesting thing was watching the audience. Their responses to the effects were so much different than they would have been if they had thought they were attending a "magic show." Just the idea that what was happening might be real, might be something their minds might be capable of produced a level of joy and astonishment I have rarely witnessed in a magic show.
   Of course, then there are the inevitable ethical issues concerning when we cease to be entertainers and become con artists.


But you didn't perceive the mentalist as a con artist did you??

BTW who was the mentalist you went to see?
0
Bill Guinee

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 55
Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Hallas


But you didn't perceive the mentalist as a con artist did you??

BTW who was the mentalist you went to see?


The Mentalist was Craig Karges. He was quite good, very entertaining and a lot of excellent performance touches. It was a good time. And, no, I did not perceive him as a con artist. However, even though he mentioned at the end of the show that he was just an entertainer and this was a show, the comments I heard from the audience around me seemed to indicate that many of them thought he had really been reading their minds. They, apparently, also did not see him as a con artist. But they also didn't perceive him as a magician. They saw him as a mind reader. And, unfortunately, the successful con-artist is never perceived as a con artist.

All of that being said, I don't know that he did any harm, and both myself and the audience did have a great time.
0
Socrates

Avatar / Picture

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 665
Reply with quote  #8 
He wrote a book on intuition, I read it a number of years ago and you can find a link for it below - perhaps he walks a fine line:

https://www.amazon.com/Ignite-Your-Intuition-Decisions-Potential/dp/1558746765/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
0
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:

Easily create a Forum Website with Website Toolbox.