From Houdini to Snowden: What Magic Can Teach us About Power

October 19, 2017, 7 - 10 PM
167 Canal Street, New York (map)

From theatrical tricks and illusions to spiritual rites and rituals, magic represents the performance of arcane knowledge. The Center for Tactical Magic looks closely at the ways in which secrets are embodied in today's society and draws parallels between magic acts and such issues as economic manipulation, political deception, vanishing resources, and social transformation. Moving beyond the symbolic, this interactive presentation highlights real-world examples of magic mixing it up with Power in today's "theater of conflict."

"Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government in business."

— Tom Robbins

Inspired by studies with a private investigator, a magician, and a ninja, the CTM was established as a collaborative authoring framework dedicated to the coalescence of art, magic, and creative tactics for encouraging positive social change. Since 2000, their collaborations have been investigating the ways in which power is performed on a daily basis.

Although the collaborations take many different forms, the CTM is largely the result of creative partnerships with a wide array of individuals and organizations with unique power dynamics including hypnotists, activists, an NSA whistleblower, a founding member of the Black Panthers, journalists, a former bank robber, security experts, a military psychic, labor organizers, nurses, and many others. This commitment to exploring disparate expressions of art and action has since led to the creation of numerous projects that consistently address public space, social politics, and community issues through the lens of magic.