Linda Rodriguez McRobbie talks about a movement of magicians who have decided to drop the secrecy act and collaborate in developing their magic.

In her article for The Independent, McRobbie opens up by discussing the issue of protecting intellectual property that is common headache for most magicians. Magic performers are known to jealously guard their secrets and with the amount of people willing to steal and sell their secrets, this tight-lipped demeanor is not at all surprising. At the time the article was published (2013), Teller himself was locked in a legal battle over copyright infringement of one of his more iconic illusions.

Of course, this kind of an environment is not very conducive to cooperation. Which is where the ‘open-sorcerers’ come in. In their eyes, if magic is to move forward, it needs to be more accessible.

McRobbie talks to Marco Tempest and Kieron Kirkland, two magicians heavily involved in the movement. Tempest is described as the father of the movement, as the article details their views on the overlap between magic and technology, the secrecy inherent in magic and the uneasiness that many of the magicians involved first experienced when they learned of the open nature of development.

Tempest and Kirkland’s approach is highly technological, which does not sit well with everyone. Will Houstoun, for example, claims that magicians at any point in history have worked with latest technology. In his view, this is all old techniques framed differently – a sentiment that certainly applies to, say, Simon Pierrot. This is, however, by no means a bad thing. Houstoun argues that relying on technology too much can be harmful. He talks of the inherent magic in technology as it exists, brings up the issue I talked about in a previous post of a good illusion being easily dismissed as clever technology. It is also not the first time I’ve heard this sentiment, as many magicians tend to be sceptical of chnging their ways and prefer to rely on traditional methods.

I believe that this is an issue that can be tackled through a clever use of narrative and by personifying the magical artifacts used. Whether my theory holds up, however, is something I can only figure out with practice.

While Houstoun is sceptical of attempting to improve magic with technology, he sees the value in improving technology with magic. There has got to be something to that argument, otherwise Stuart Nolan’s job would not exist.