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

Norway Joins the Race to Develop Killer Robots
2014 10 24
Norway is a large exporter of weapons, which makes the resolution of the debate about creating killer robots an important issue for everyone.  One could debate the overall merits or failings of robotic systems, but an area that clearly has become a point for concern on all sides is the emergence of "killer robots." According to robotics pioneer, David Hanson, ...
Gene That Once Aided Survival in the Arctic Found to Have Negative Impact on Health Today
2014 10 23
In individuals living in the Arctic, researchers have discovered a gene variant that arose thousands of years ago and most likely provided an evolutionary advantage for processing high-fat diets or for surviving in a cold environment; however, the variant also seems to increase the risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and infant mortality in today’s northern populations. {snip} “Our work ...
The Ebola hoax: questions, answers, and the false belief in the “One It”
2014 10 23
“The Reality Manufacturing Company doesn’t just sell ‘fake paintings’ that are easy to spot. No. They also sell images that are geared to mesh with people’s deeply held instincts and thereby produce rigid false beliefs. People are sure that if they gave up such beliefs, their world would fall apart and blow away in the wind.” ...
New Controversial Theory Suggests "Hobbits" Were Not Human - Who Were These Mysterious Beings?
2014 10 23
The origin of the Hobbit species remains a challenging subject to scientists. The Hobbit’s discovery confirmed the view that the Earth was once populated by many species of human, but new research the Hobbit’s were not human at all! So, who were these mysterious beings? Where did they come from? The idea that our species, Homo sapiens, was the only species of human on ...
Right into enemy hands? ISIS shows off new weapons allegedly airdropped by US (VIDEO)
2014 10 23
Islamic State has published a new video in which a jihadist shows off brand-new American hardware, which was purportedly intended for the Kurds they are fighting in the Syrian border town of Kobani. The undated video, posted by the unofficial IS mouthpiece “a3maq news”, sees a jihadist showing several boxes of munitions with English-language markings, with a parachute spread out on ...
More News »