Believe in what you see! Believe in magic!
People believe in many things. Sometimes they believe in things we cannot see or fathom.
Sometimes they believe in something, we disagree with. Or something untrue, they have been told or taught. There are people believing in the obscure and absurd. But even then, only very few believe in magic.
That is ironic - considering how magicians literally make their audience believe in what they see to be magic.
So to understand more about how a make-believer sees belief, we asked a couple of questions to the magician Magic Malmstroem, who will be attending the _Believe TEDxCopenhagen event on February 7th.
In your opinion, has the concept of belief changed?
– I think the concept of belief has changed, or at least shifted, towards a more personal understanding of the word - what I mean is that belief today is more about believing in your self. In the last 100 years we, as a society and a species, have come a long way in understanding the world and the universe. Naturally, as we gain in understanding, we become more focused on the personal aspects of believing. To believe in yourself is really the key to success in many ways. But, oddly enough, even though we know so much more about how the world works, and how science, mathematics etc. affect and explain events in our lives than we did 100, 50, or even 10 years ago, the concepts of deception and wonder which we employ in magic have stayed the same. As magicians, we still rely on the same fundamentals to deceive and amaze our spectators.
How is the theme of believing an important public debate?
– It is more important than ever! In our times, with fake news, governments trying to affect elections in other countries, and wars fought on religious grounds the very concept of believing in, and trusting each other, is under attack.
How is the concept of belief tied to your work?
– Belief is essential to magic. But, perhaps not in the way you might think. As a magician, my job is to make the believable unbelievable. It’s just the opposite of a scientist or mathematician whose job it is to make something we cannot understand, understandable. They seek to help us believe through evidence. As magicians, we do the opposite, we want to inspire awe. That’s why I love performing for scientists. They have such a curiosity and drive to explain the world, they want to understand everything, but when they don't you end up with some really amazing reactions.
How has believing impacted your life and what you do?
– Before getting into magic I was a professional guitarist and photographer. I have always, since I was a kid, believed that anything is possible. My dream was to become like Michael Laudrup, the Danish footballer and now coach. I was committed, I practiced all his moves and tricks with the ball, I skipped holidays with my family to play soccer and all I talked about was soccer. I believed that I could be like him.
In high school, things started to change. I discovered my love for music and playing the guitar. It took over and I devoted myself to the music. Instead of university, I traveled the world as a guitarist for the Danish singer, Aura. After a few years I discovered photography and soon I devoted all my time to that. I applied for an internship at The Richard Avedon Foundation in New York and got it. From then on, I’ve worked as a professional photographer. That is until I discovered magic four years ago. It takes a lot to change your priorities, learn a new skill set, and begin a magic carrier as a 30-year-old. But it comes down to the belief I have in my self, from all the way back when I was practicing Michael Laudrup's moves. That belief gave me the confidence to proceed and eventually succeed.
What can we expect on February 7 in relation to the theme of belief?
– To me, the most important moment in magic happens when the spectator realizes that the impossible, has just become possible. That it just happened, right in front of their eyes! That is why I do magic. It is not about fooling people, it's about making them believe that the impossible is possible. That - Is what I hope to do on the 7th of February at the Bremen Theater
Read more about Magic Malmstrøm here:
Photo Credit: Camilla Stephan
"To believe or not to believe"
That used to be the question. Today, believing in something is more complex, constantly changing and evolving. In a society that encourages individual freedom, we are constantly exposed to people who perceive the world around us in a different way. Individual belief is celebrated and although our beliefs may be different we are brought together through the knowledge that belonging is an integral part of personal existence
We are changing and so are the things we believe in and the values we hold. As Western values evolve from the religious to the individual and secular, our beliefs move beyond spirituality. Thanks to innovations in modern technology, a wealth of information is now easy to indulge in. But with an infinite amount of information, truth becomes increasingly relative, causing our beliefs and values to evolve.
What do we actually believe in? Why do we believe? How have our beliefs changed? In the upcoming TEDxCopenhagen event, we want to explore the modern landscape of what we believe in, what you believe in, what they believe in and what it all means to us.
From February 7th. 2019, Bremen Theater, Copenhagen.