Thursday, March 15, 2007

Does emotion come from hard work? My friend Robert and I used to always talk about the idea of Emotional Magic, which seemed so melodramatic we couldn't help but ask each other about it constantly. "Is that emotional magic? Is that?" The idea that a magic trick, sleight of hand, willfully bewildering one's audience toward the end of pulling a rabbit out of a hat, would produce an emotional response. The audience would feel a tremendous release of joy, to the point of tears. It would be fun to start a poetic movement called Emotional Magic. But I think in the end it would leave us all in tears, many of us would be driven back to sleeping with stuffed animals. And I already have those kinds of dark thoughts. I mean wouldn't that be more honest than a body pillow or a blow-up doll or whatever. Magic tricks do produce a kind of emotion, but maybe it's the emotion of being bewildered. A lapse between the recognition that produces emotion, and the non-recognition of looking at a magic trick. A poetics of wonderment! The founder of this burgeoning aesthetic approach is Doug Henning.

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