Video: stunning art installation of thread and light

Video of a magical architectural installation of an illuminated web of threads, titled "Line Segments Space" (2013), by Seoul design studio Kimchi and Chips.

The Oversight: conspiracies, magic, and the end of the world

The clever blendings of history and imagination in Charlie Fletcher’s new novel are satisfying enough to make resolution of its loose ends worth waiting for, writes Cory Doctorow

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Magical ring juggling

Hypnotic and astonishing contact juggling of rings by Lindzee Poi.

Magician makes dogs' treats vanish

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okuwB9zrncg

Magician Jose Ahonen confounds canines with some sleight of hand. "By the way, all the dogs got treats before and after the trick," states the video description on YouTube.

Wonderful new book about "Magic Experience Design" (in Italian)

Ferdin

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Today marks the Italian publication of "L'arte Di Stupire" ("The Art of Amazement") the new book by Boing Boing friends and collaborators Ferdinando Buscema and Mariano Tomatis whose work is best described as "magic experience design." I've read a draft English translation and it's absolutely fantastic. I can't wait for the eventual publication of the English edition. Here's what I said about the book:

Buscema and Tomatis are modern day mystics who move seamlessly between the realms of science, art, and magic, seeking wonder at every turn. They delight in inspiring us all to cultivate curiosity and embrace astonishment in our daily lives. This brilliant book is an empowering grimoire for hacking reality and giving the gift of magical experiences to others.

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Time-lapse fireflies

Vincent Brady shot these scenes of swarming fireflies at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, and at his home in Michigan: "I used every trick I have up my sleeve to pull this off. Image stacking, 360 degree startrail panoramas, and even a macro love scene! Hold on to your seats these fireflies fly by pretty quick!"

There's a fantastic gallery of stills, too. And that perfect musical accompaniment is by Brandon McCoy. [Video Link. Via Colossal]

Magician makes dog treats disappear

Poor pups! [Video Link]

New documentary about Silvan - The Great Magician

I loved this 15-minute documentary about the Italian magician Silvan. He is very charismatic as he tells his story. His room is filled with beautiful magic memorabilia. (Is that Minecraft music playing in the background?)
Nobody knows a magician's secrets, but everybody knows Silvan. Wecrosstheline meets one of the greatest international masters of illusion: the man who has enchanted millions of Italians with his unique blend of style and skill, illusion and elegance.

Voted Magician of the Year twice, in 1990 and 1999 - the only artist outside America to have received this prestigious award - the great Silvan welcomes us into his home in Rome where we become the witnesses to a magical existence as he reveals the secrets of his legendary life.

Silvan - The Great Magician, directed by Gabriele Trapani

Dark Art: spectacular illusions from the golden age of magic

Ben Marks of Collectors Weekly says: "We just published an interview with Zack Coutroulis, who has an amazing collection of vintage magic posters. Zack explains how many of the most popular magicians of the late 19th and early 20th centuries got their starts in vaudeville, sandwiched between song-and-dance acts and comedians. If the magicians got big enough to go out on their own, they'd produce lithographed posters to publicize their shows. While some of these posters were portraits of magicians such as Dante, Carter the Great, Kellar, and Thurston, often surrounded by devils and imps whispering dark-art secrets into their ears, other posters showcased particular illusions, such as the one of Harry Houdini performing the water-torture trick."

Dark Art: Spectacular Illusions from the Golden Age of Magic

Incredibly Interesting Authors 005: Alex Stone, author of Fooling Houdini

In his book Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the Mind (reviewed here), Alex Stone starts by recounting his tragically humiliating disqualification at an international magic competition. So ashamed was he by the unceremonious ejection from the stage that he gave up magic and pursued a post-grad degree in physics. Eventually the lure of the conjuring arts called him back, but this time around, Stone got serious. He sought mentors, practiced incessantly, researched magic history, and read up on the psychology of deception and the limits of human perception.

Buy a copy of Fooling Houdini on Amazon.

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Dynamic tangible display renders 3D data in physical form

inFORM is a "Dynamic Shape Display" that lowers and raises pegs in a matrix to display digital 3D information in a physical way. The effect is quite magical. It's a prototype from MIT's Tangible Media Group that embodies their concept of "Radical Atoms," materials that can dynamically shift form to generate a kind of blended reality that merges the virtual and physical. (Thanks, Syd Garon!)

A pioneering magician's retina watercolor

Eyeball

Robert houdin decapitationIn the history of magic, Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin (1805-1871) is considered the father of contemporary conjuring. (Indeed, Ehrich Weiss was so influenced by the master magician that he took the stage name of Houdini in his honor.) A lifelong maker, Robert-Houdin is credited in the late 1860s with inventing an optical device called an "iridoscope" to see details within the eye. In a description of the device from the time reprinted in the journal Archives of Ophthalmology, Houdin said that "its principle is something like that upon which a water carafe is held up to the light to detect whether the contents are pure." Above is an 1866 watercolor Robert-Houdin used the device to paint of the cataracts in his own eye. It was shown as part of a recent Robert-Houdin exhibit titled "Fascination optique" at the Maison de la Magie Robert-Houdin in Blois France. (via Cabinet)

Levitating, dancing and shapeshifting droplet

Absolutely beautiful dance of a liquid droplet. In scientific terms, an ultrasonic field is used to levitate a drop of liquid. Increasing and decreasing the strength of the field alters the droplet's shape. Here is the scientific paper: "Shape oscillation of a levitated drop in an acoustic field," by W. Ran & S. Fredericks (Clemson University, Department of Mechanical Engineering)" (Thanks, Ariel Waldman!)

Ukulele Ike sings while lit cigarettes are plucked from his orifices

Here's a great clip of Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards (the voice of Jiminy Cricket!) singing; as Dooley sez, "Ike does what he does best, singing and wailing on the ukulele, while lady magician pulls lit cigarettes out of him. Can someone please tell me her name?"

Cliff Edwards HIGH QUALITY Ukelele Ike "It's magic" (Thanks, Dooley!)

Houdini could fly!

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In 1910, Harry Houdini magically flew over a field near Melbourne, Australia. OK, he was in an airplane. But I hadn't known that the great magician was an aviation enthusiast. Houdini's demonstration was the first heavier-than-air flight in Australia. Apparently, it was a real nail-biter that ended in success. Now, Smithsonian Air & Space reports on the effort to find Houdini's plane, if it still exists.

He flew a Voisin biplane that he’d bought in Germany the year before. Powered by a British ENV engine capable of 60 to 80 horsepower, it sailed over trees, rocks, and fences, reported the Melbourne Argus, then wavered slightly. “Ah! Cabre, cabre!” shouted Antonio Brassac, Houdini’s French mechanic. “The word signifies the action of a rearing horse,” continued the Argus, “and it indicates that the plane, like the horse, will almost inevitably come to grief.”

"The Hunt for Houdini’s Airplane"