Excerpt from 'Take Two' by Jamy Ian Swiss
By Art of Magic - Thursday, March 16, 2017
We're happy to share an excerpt from a recent Take Two, Magicana's weekly blog written by acclaimed author and renowned magician, Jamy Ian Swiss, which discusses the Cardistry community and a bit about the divide between magic and cardistry. Read the whole article on Magicana.com.
'...the phenomenon of cardistry has become its own *community*, a word constantly emphasized by its practitioners. That community is international, and facilitated by social media in general, and YouTube in particular. While veteran magicians are driven to distraction by watching young people upload videos of their practicing of magic that they have yet to perfect, or worse still, randomly posting mere explanations and exposures of conjuring methods for purposes that lie far from the advancement and appreciation of the art of magic, nevertheless, YouTube and cardistry are a perfect match: a way to trade skills and ideas and passions, in a field that, like all juggling, thrives on sharing rather than secrecy. Cardistry, much like juggling, is an open-source culture.
While one often comes across references to skateboarding as a way of understanding cardistry, the element of athleticism in skateboarding is off the mark, while the element of community is on target. More useful I think are comparisons to Yo-Yoing, and Cubing (as in Rubik’s Cube). These pursuits unarbuably combine elements of the artistic, physical, and intellectual, and they are equally welcoming and useful to a kid with a passing interest, or one who rises to the award-winning heights of competition. Along and throughout that spectrum, these passions long ago sprouted communities of young people who communicate, learn, and share, and gain countless benefits from the experience. Cardistry is a welcome addition, and shares these same traits. And while I believe that collector and novelty cards detract and distract from the aesthetics of card magic, the cards can often be beautiful, and the natural affinity that adolescents bring to collecting lends an appealing "cool" factor to the marriage of cardistry and collecting.
Years ago, I performed and lectured at a convention of the Canadian Association of Magicians. Because I am invariably frustrated by the limitations of the typical one-hour convention lecture format, I asked that I be given a spot late Friday night, after the main show, to present my lecture, thereby allowing for the lecture to run later and longer if interest justified it. It ended up running quite late, thanks in part to a group of attentive young magicians who filled the front row and stayed right to the end. I was grateful for their focused and enthusiastic support.
Late the next night, I was in a suite with many of the convention performers. Another performer came in and told me a bunch of young card guys were hanging out in the hallway (as invariably happens at such gatherings). I immediately went out to join them, and we hung in the halls till the wee hours, trading card talk and moves and magic. Several of the teens were also into cardistry (this is still before that term had been coined). I watched and enjoyed the work they were showing and sharing.
At one point I asked, “How come you guys didn’t come get me? I didn’t know where you were hanging out.” And one kid who had shown me some of the best cardistry moves, shyly said, “Well, with some of what you said in the lecture about it, we didn’t know if you’d want to see this kinda stuff.”
I looked at him and said, “Look, just because it’s not magic, doesn’t mean it’s not cool. Cool … is … COOL.”
We high-fived on that.'
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