Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Torn up about a failure of imagination

Lots of people are coming out with torn and restored card plots and methods. Reviews on methods are mixed - Daniel Garcia's "Torn" seems to get fairly uniformly high marks - but many (most?) of the reviewers take issue with the torn and restored card effect. They wonder why there is so much attention paid to what they consider at best a throwaway piece, and at worst a worthless, non-magical non-effect. I consider this a failure of imagination on the reviewers' part.

Magic almost never has intrinsic meaning. We (the magicians) usually have to provide a framework that imbues the piece with something that grabs the spectator with more than, "Look at what I can do!" I think anything we can mutilate then restore provides the possibility for such a framework. If what I just wrote doesn't bring to mind "loss and redemption" you either aren't awake or are way too literal to be a magician anyway.

On a more mundane level, spectators are often freaked when we destroy a card. (I've never understood why...I can replace the deck for under $3.00.) When I perform, say, Card Warp, one of the things that gets to people is that I would purposely tear up cards. It would be a nifty follow-up to show them that hey, it's no big deal, because you can always put them back together again.

So the torn and restored card is not about tearing a card and putting it back together again. It's about doing something you regret, then redeeming yourself and regaining that which was lost.

If you're not seeing that, good luck with your dove pan.

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