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Magic & Science

Perceptual engineering and the beguiling finesses within compositions of legerdemain.



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Improving awareness through perceptual engineering

I do magic and teach others how to do magic. A perceptual-engineer can bamboozle an observer by delivering information covertly for them to perceive what does not exist, like an infectious distortion of reality it then germinates without their awareness — influencing their every thought until the mind assumes the unreal while the real (whatever that is) remains hidden. Amazingly, most people are either doing it or having it done to them while oblivious to the artifice. The beauty of perception is that it always entails self-deception. However, education can help free the mind from locked perspectives.

John Dee


Beginnings

As a performance artist I have had the opportunity to travel the world and appear in various shows: The Illusionists 1903 show, IMAGINE; a Las Vegas show by Dick Foster productions, Cruise Ships, Le Plus Grand Cabaret Du Monde TV show in France, TV shows in Japan and China, several Universities, various theaters and much more. Every performance was an opportunity to experiment so after much education, and proof of concepts, I began teaching and soon noticed that beyond entertainment these tools were valuable for improving self-awareness.

For the past sixteen years, I have had the privilege and honor of sharing what I learned about the mind with people from all walks of life. Magicians of course, but also physicists, artists, doctors, mechanical engineers, psychologists, neuroscientists, teachers, bankers, and businessmen. We discuss theory and composition regarding perceptual engineering as it applies not only to magic but all facets of life. The concepts can seem esoteric, but magic offers a way to immediately experience them. Then you know.


Art & Science

In my search for truth by intuition and reason, I developed a box of metaphorical tools from which I use to compose. These ideas both inspire and guide me to push forward, not only to discover but create. These tools were earned through the midst of experimentations, experience, and an extensive database of choices. Like music, I have the freedom to go one way or another, but once I choose a path, there is a definite sense of scientific reason to make it the best journey.

I was six when my older brother introduced me to magic. He vanished a marble from one hand which then reappeared in his other hand. I was astonished and hungry to learn. More than the sleight of hand it was the sleight of mind which intrigued me the most. The concepts of magic can be shown in politics, advertising, public speaking, war, law, and various tactical designs, from architecture to the essential strategies of social media. In fact, social media is now using experts known as attention engineers; who have more in common with a magician than most people would suspect. They even use the same terms. Except with a magician, you know it's a trick; how ironic.

Magic, by way of perceptual engineering, is an excellent tool for doing live interactive experiments that can reveal much about us. Ponder this; some Generals have won wars with less depth of deception than a magician at a birthday party. Many discoveries about the human mind were known, published, and used by magicians long before scientist put labels on them; Change-Blindness, Information Interference, The Paradox of Choice, Heuristics, Primacy-Recency, Proactive and Retroactive Conditioning, etc. etc. Magic is a way of exploring that elusive conundrum of a black box we call the mind by eliciting triggers that yield predictable responses.


Sincerely, Armando Lucero


I recommend the following book: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. One of the best magic books written though not intentionally. For his work, he was awarded the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (shared with Vernon L. Smith).

The Workshops

Magic is entertaining to learn but while doing so you also acquire the psychology of delivery that can be applied to many other fields of social interaction. The information is invaluable to supplement any academic research about the mind. Magic, by way of perceptual engineering, is a mental martial art of critical thinking. Here below is an example of my work; entitled Wisp. It represents one of many possibilities that can be accomplished using the ideas in these workshops. As you watch, bear in mind that only four cards and four coins are used. The composition serves as validation for the psychological concepts applied, which can be used to increase awareness and improve communication. Welcome to the world of perceptual engineering.


Blog

The Hungry Imagination Logo

The Hungry Imagination newsletter is a way to share my passion with everyone and anyone. Each month I write an article about all things related to perceptual engineering and post it HERE — for free. Part art, part science, and for anyone fascinated by the peculiarities of the mind. The varied articles traverse many subjects such as poetry, math, business, psychology, military strategy, law, advertising, performance, and much more, including magic. With one common thread binding them together; perceptual engineering. I have spent over forty years studying this subject and it is my pleasure to share what I have learned with all of you.

Because a lot of time, money, and effort, is spent writing these articles, your kind support would be hugely appreciated. if you find them enjoyable and stimulating, then please consider becoming a monthly supporter by subscribing. For merely the cost of a cup of coffee, the articles will be delivered to you monthly by email. If you already donate then thank you!


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Magic, by way of perceptual engineering, is a mental martial art of critical thinking.

From a study by Michigan State University; entitled Artistic Scientists and Scientific Artists, Nobel Prize winners were dramatically more likely to be involved in the arts than less accomplished scientists. In particular, those who practiced magic rated 22 times more likely. As the article states, "A scientist was counted as having an artistic or crafty hobby, 'if they described themselves or were described by biographers as being a painter, photographer, actor, performer, composer, poet, dancers, craftsman, glassblower, and so on after entering college; if they took lessons in an art or craft as an adult; or if there was direct evidence of artwork, photographs, sculptures, compositions, poems, performances, and so on." The article also noted how many artist and scientists share common ways of creative problem-raising and problem-solving. ♠

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Paper Cuts Primer

What is it?

The Paper Cuts Primer video series is not the Workshop, which is a comprehensive study of magic & science beyond the scope of this exordium. However, it is a peek at Armando's way of composing to serve as a primer before the Workshop; like a glance through a window into a cabin of a large ship upon the ocean. But a notable glance nonetheless.

It is an exhibition of ubiquitous classical material purposely tailored for a modern discerning audience. Being accessible as historical published works this is, therefore, an opportunity to learn within the safety of what is familiar. Register early for the workshop and get the primer with time to prepare beforehand. The primer is different material than the workshop but definitely helpful. See Trailer

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Never do a trick twice & Video

Video offers rewind and infinite viewing which can often destroy any false-memories, forced perspectives, psychological ploys, misdirection, change blindness, intersecting moments, and many other hidden subterfuges we as composers of legerdemain work so hard to protect. Video also does not filter the way our minds do so it does not represent what we experience live. Not to mention how often people pause and rewind before getting to the end, which defeats the entire purpose and potential. So instead of astonishment, we get hindsight bias.

It really does not take much for people to back-engineer an effect on YouTube. It might as well be a set of instructions. If a viewer only has one idea of possibility then all it would take to confirm their suspicions is to rewind and observe, after that the remaining secrets just fall apart as easily as a broken string of pearls. Search any trick on YouTube and read the comments below. The more popular it is then the more people will examine and put forth the effort to unravel the mystery. All secrets are vunerable but even more so when sense-making tools are used.

— Sincerely, Armando

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Metal Quirks Review

I have been a fan of Armando Lucero's magic since I saw him performing at FISM in 2003. Since then I have taken his card workshop and the Coin Menagerie workshop, as well as several refresher workshops. Just recently I took his Metal Quirks workshop and I would like to write a few words about it. In Metal Quirks, Armando has done for Coins Across what his Coin Menagerie has done for Matrix, elevated it from a good trick, into a beautiful and stunning piece of magic.

The routine is no longer just three coins travelling from one place to another, one by one. Metal Quirks has an opening that sets the scene, then a first phase consisting of three iterations, followed by a second phase with a further three iterations, followed by a stunning finale where a two for one transposition between an odd coin and two regular coins takes place in the spectator's hand. Apart from being a powerful routine which takes Coins Across into entirely new directions, Metal Quirks provides a wonderful introduction to the thinking and techniques which make Armando's magic so stunning and deceptive.

The routine is far more accessible to the student than Coin Menagerie, it contains fewer difficult techniques, with most of the sleights being fairly standard moves. In some places the magic is created purely by very clever choreography. Metal Quirks is both an incredibly strong routine, and the perfect introduction to Armando's techniques for the serious student. I recommend it unreservedly to anyone interested in taking their magic to a higher level.

— David Jones

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REVIEW

Here are my thoughts after completing the workshop:

Art that truly transports people is a gift. For me, it happens most often in music, poetry and occasionally film. Rarely do I feel transported in watching "magic" - entertained, yes; puzzled as to a new technique, yes; appreciative of a person's hard work, yes. Absolutely. But not transported. Armando's magic is the exception. It is truly art, and, simply, is an experience that I will never forget. If I had spent 2 days with Picasso in "Paintbrush Devices" or Monet in "Monet Menageries", I would be getting close to the experience of Armando's lecture and workshop. Even when the paintbrush types are explained, the brushstrokes and techniques detailed and repeated, in slow motion from all angles, it still remains a mystery and inspiration as to how the beautiful rendition was achieved. Even when it is explained we are left with the sensation of the closest thing to magic we are ever likely to experience. It was and is perfect

Thank you for all your support in making Armando's visit possible.

— Richard Jones

All I can say is, if Armando ever heads your way, "Don't walk, Run."



Read the original article at Magic Unlimited