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Take a software geek from the 80s, add a new generation graphic designer and dilute with a longtime marketing strategist. Shake vigorously and you'll get the Idea R's blog.

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Case study: the Magic Books Collection

Photographer: Igor De Ruitz
Published on 6/6/2012
Categories: Visual Communication
Case study: the Magic Books Collection

De Stultitia Pinocchii

The effect I'm going to present you is the junction point of two artistic passions that I have cultivated for years, maintaining them intentionally separated, until I have thought that they were both arrived to the maturity necessary in order to benefit equally one of the other: I’m referring to the magic passion and to the theatre one.
I think important to have waited for the right moment before trying to find the point of contact between the two worlds, although for both fundamentally is a matter of exhibitions with the artist on a stage and the spectators seated in the stalls, unfortunately it is unknown why the education of the two guys follows two completely different paths. The actor exercises himself for years on texts interpretation, studying the voice and mime to not leaving unused any communication way; the reason is that he soon understands that if he only leaves to the voice the job of interpreting a text, he would declaim and not recite. The audience is captured using a much more complex machine: the actor explores the whole emotional sphere and uses all his body to visualize the text, also using unusual ways... if you have attended the Orazio Costa actor school you know what I mean, probably you have recited very strange things, as a peach that goes bad or a thunderstorm (there’re are people that go to the mental hospital for much less). And it’s not all, the actor understands that he’s only one of the elements of a show, that to function it needs many indispensable figures, for example a playwright, a director, a set designer,  a costume designer, etc.

De Stultitia Pinocchii

While the actor develops himself on a 360 degrees basis, the magician instead does exactly the contrary, that is he concentrates himself on a unique aspect, the magic technique. Probably fascinated by the astonishment that he proves when he assists to magic tricks performed by others, he ardently desires to know the secrets and the technique to be able to replicate them. After years of study and application he surely accomplishes to excel in technique, but also he understands, usually too late, that the only emotion he’s able to donate to his public is precisely the only one he has devoted himself on, that is the astonishment. He accomplishes to have what I call “the jokes teller syndrome”, he becomes as those people very capable to tell funny stories, but that are not able to understand when it is the moment to stop, they’re very funny for the first minutes, but after a while they become almost unbearable. The reason is that the people, if emotionally stimulated in a monothematic way, soon they get accustomed and find boring the same thing that a couple of minutes before they have found wonderful.
Surely there’s who studies mostly the tricks psychology, but it is not what I’m talking about, in fact these are subtleties that have always the only purpose to amplify the same thing, the astonishment.
Can the magician change himself, evolving to a real entertainment form, abandoning what it has been before only a narcissistic form of dexterity? Fortunately the answer is yes, but it is necessary a re-education from the ground, a sacrifice that usually, after a magic pluriennial apprenticeship, very few magician are disposed to do.
Paradoxically, I had the lucky to be educated to the show business by people that have never met each other, by magic masters (that have reproved me if I was not a perfect manipulator) and by theatre professionals (that have expanded my narrow recitation vision), both indispensable. The routine included in this book is the eagerly awaited point of arrival, the bride after a long engagement and celebrates the birth of a style that I have carried forward during the following years.
I hope to be an inspiration for the magic friends, in the same way others have inspired me; if the effect will be only to rouse someone's interest, this would be very gratifying to me, because it’s from our doubts that great discoveries can rise.

To who is asking himself what have in common close-up magic and theatre, I answer that also your mat is a stage, with same rules as the bigger brother: the objects have to be correctly arranged so that they don’t get in each other's way, the movements have to be clear and logical, all has to have a dramatistic coherence in your presentation and at last there has to be a direction that binds all these features together.
I dare to say that from an architectural point of view your mat is like a big stage, it has a backdrop and a proscenium and on it the spectator comes up (puts the hands) only if invited.

The most important thing of all these words, the only thing that matters to me that you keep in memory, is that your hands are not the ones that recite but you are, by all your body: do not limit yourself moving your appendixes with grace and dexterity, use your voice to interpret, use all the body in a creative way, the face, the arms, the shoulders and even your legs, also if they’re hidden behind the table.
Frequently it is heard during magic lectures “Be yourself!”; this sentence is quite imprecise, in fact many big actors in the real life are boring or even nasty, while on the stage they have a great success interpreting completely different characters from what they really are. The secret is to look inside us for our original emotions, the ones the we have felt, even the suppressed ones by inhibitions from the early childhood and bring them to light again; let me therefore correct the previous warning with the more correct one: “Be a character, everyone you want, but through yourself!”, because, if you have not been in coma from your birth date, believe me, inside everybody of us there’re the “books” on how to be a great actor.

De Stultitia Pinocchii

Think but do not touch!

After years of study of this effect and after innumerable requests from many magic friends, I’m going to explain this effect that for me is a warhorse and I use it as a final for every close-up routine. The trick comes from the Dai Vernon’s idea, that consists in making a spectator to mentally choose one card and then deduct it. From the original trick I only kept the stacking idea that however is performed now using totally different techniques.

Think but do not touch!

To those that will say that this is a mental magic effect, I answer that presenting it as an intriguing experience with the cards, it is an optimal conclusion for a close-up routine. To those that will say that is risky, I answer do not be fooled by appearances, nothing is left to the case or luck; however if this keeps you still, it can be presented like an experiment, so if anything goes wrong, you have always the chance to say that there’s always a failure likelihood: really the only risk factor comes from the involved spectator, in fact, since the card is only thought, she’s the only one that could ruin the final effect. Definitely, if you’re the kind of magician that wants all the chosen cards signed, so that the spectators cannot disown them, than this trick is not for you. In this effect the channel that is established with the spectator is an intimate trust and around her all the incredible plot is developed.
Finally, to those that will say that this effect is difficult to perform, I answer You’re right! But the difficulty is not in technique (very little), it is all in the presentation and this time is not one of the stock phrases that you usually listen at magic lectures, this time is really true, if you’re a clever communicator you’re going to perform a miracle, if you’re an excellent and mute executor probably you’ll get most from an aces production.

Think but do not touch!

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See also

Case study: branding Idea R

How a web agency/branding agency corporate identity was designed from scratch.

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