The world’s first Visiting Professor of Performance Magic
2012 10 26

From: PastHorizons

The University of Huddersfield in northern England is a key centre for research into the art of magic and illusion and has now appointed the world’s first Visiting Professor of Performance Magic. But his students will not be taught to pull rabbits from top hats or to saw their glamorous assistants in half.

US-born Dr Todd Landman, who combines a career as a magician and mentalist with a post as a professor of government, delves deeply into the history and heritage of magic and believes that it enables the world to be viewed with a fresh sense of wonder.


Dr Todd Landman, who combines a career as a magician and mentalist with a post as a professor of government, delves deeply into the history and heritage of magic and believes that it enables the world to be viewed with a fresh sense of wonder.


A deeper side

“We are trying to rescue magic from its worst faults – which is cheesy guys in cheesy ties with rabbits in hats!” he says. “We are interested in the deeper side of things.”

He has a special fascination for renaissance men such as Dr John Dee and Sir Isaac Newton – scientists, astronomers and mathematicians who also practised astrology and alchemy. And today, the study of magic allows for “different ways of knowing the world”, according to Dr Landman.

“Even some neuro-scientists are saying we can’t explain everything with neuro-science. There are some things, like consciousness, that can’t be explained and that is the contribution we can make.”

Seasoned performer

But Dr Landman is a seasoned performer as well as a philosopher-researcher and his new appointment at the University of Huddersfield is the result of his established links with its drama department, where senior lecturer Nik Taylor’s research and teaching portfolio includes performance magic. The University’s Drama Division is also home to a newly-formed Magic Research Group, which aims to be the leading forum for state-of-the-art of scholarship in the field.

Says Nik Taylor: “Despite the perennial reports of its demise at the hands of both old and new media, magic is a performance art with a vibrant culture of live work, popular TV shows, and emerging forms. The time is ripe for a serious modern study of modern magic.”

Todd Landman marked his appointment as Visiting Professor by holding a workshop for drama students in which he explored three dimensions of the magician’s art – half an hour of close up magic, followed by a mentalism session in which he gave an illusion of mind-reading powers, closing with a “mystical set” in which he delved into the realm of the “collective unconscious”.


[...]

The interest in magic came first

There is an enigma, too, over Todd Landman. In addition to his activities in the realm of magic and performance, he is also Professor of Government and Director of the Institute for Democracy and Conflict Resolution at the University of Essex.

The interest in magic came first – as a child in Pennsylvania – with the study of politics beginning at university. For most of his academic career he has kept the two dimensions of his life separate but more recently he has explored intersections between illusion and politics, such as the use of rhetoric and the exploration of free will.


Read the full article at: pasthorizonspr.com









Related Articles
The Magic and Sorcery of Iceland
The Secret to Becoming a Magician (in 1882)
Black magic revealed in two ancient curses: "Crush, Kill, Destroy!"
Why Everyone Believes in Magic (Even You)


Latest News from our Front Page

If Someone Secretly Controlled What You Say, Would Anyone Notice?
2014 10 01
The subject enters a room in which a 12-year-old boy is seated. A 20-minute conversation ensues. The subject quizzes the boy about current events and other topics to get a sense of his intelligence and personality. But the boy is not what he appears to be. Unbeknownst to the subject, the boy is wearing a radio receiver in his ear, and ...
Obama has had accurate intelligence about ISIS since BEFORE the 2012 election, says administration insider
2014 10 01
‘President Barack Obama’s intelligence briefings have provided him with specific information since before he won re-election in 2012 about the growing threat of the terror group now known alternatively as ISIS and ISIL, an administration insider told MailOnline on Monday. ‘Unless someone very senior has been shredding the president’s daily briefings and telling him that the dog ate them, highly accurate ...
Can holding a magnet against your head help defeat depression?
2014 10 01
Former GP Sue Mildred suffered from crippling depression and anxiety for 20 years. On two occasions it was so severe that she ended up in hospital, and for 15 years she was unable to work. Sue, 51, has tried antidepressants, talking therapies and, out of desperation, even ECT (electro-convulsive therapy), where an electric current is passed through the brain. This did ...
Extremists to have Facebook and Twitter vetted by anti-terror police
2014 09 30
Theresa May to announce new Extremist Disruption Orders to strengthen counter-terrorism if the Tories win the next general election Extremists will have to get posts on Facebook and Twitter approved in advance by the police under sweeping rules planned by the Conservatives. They will also be barred from speaking at public events if they represent a threat to “the functioning of democracy”, ...
Scottish Independence: Protesters demand revote
2014 09 30
Pro-independence campaigners gathered outside the Scottish Parliament for the second day in a row, this time to demand a revote of the September 18 referendum. While yesterday’s “Rally For A Revote” saw the return of Saltires and Yes banners to Holyrood, it did not match the turnout for the “Voice Of The People” rally held on Saturday, when up 3000 people ...
More News »