Vulnerability

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The Duality effect involved coordinated action between the participants and I in order to achieve a surprising result: the creation of order in the midst of apparent chaos.

The clip on this page involves same effect — ‘Happiness’ by Juan Tamariz. This video starts near the culmination of the effect. However the outcome achieved is very different. No one’s cards are in the correct order.

This was not planned — I swear! For whatever the claims of magicians are worth…

When situations in life do not work out as planned, what can come to the fore is a sense of the vulnerability that underpins all social relations. As mentioned in the video, the sociologist Erving Goffman approached social interactions as imbued with attempts to manage appearances. As people routinely engage in efforts to shape the impressions they make on others and expect others to do the same, social interaction is delicate affair. As Goffman contended in The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, the recognition of the precarious and theatrical dimensions of social life means people can go to great lengths (at times anyway!) to avoid embarrassing themselves or others. In this way, everyday life is characterized by vulnerability and mutuality between all present.

On the back of this trick going array, participants from the University of the Third Age (Exeter) and I discuss how concerns about vulnerability are and are not relevant for the magic we are making together.

Or that was my plan anyway in response to the cards being out of order. As elaborated in the video, some participants questioned whether anything had gone wrong or whether ‘things going wrong’ was just another kind of staged pretense. This kind of response speaks to the way in which those in asymmetrical relations with others (because of who knows what and who primarily direct conversations) can be attributed with a sense of coherence and purpose they (here I mean me) do not possess. It is not just magicians that that are made more than they are because of these conditions! The sociologist Susie Scott, for instance, has examined performance and pretense in intimate personal relations.

Vulnerability

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Next: Skill