In 2016, academics, students and magicians came together for a conference on The Science of Magic at Goldsmith’s College, London which itself has a MAGIC lab. Perhaps it sounds too much like an illusion, but this is a serious interdisciplinary research programme bringing magic and science together in the study of a human physiological issues.
Now, the Wellcome Collection has taken up the challenge with its new exhibition ’Smoke and Mirrors: The Psychology of Magic’ exploring how magicians manage to achieve the impossible by tricking our perception, today also recognised as a powerful tool in human psychology and medical science.
Using historical material including posters, magic wands and props from magic illusions such as cutting bodies in half, alongside games which many youngsters would have received as Christmas presents, video extracts and modern art, the exhibition explores areas such as spiritualism, communicating with the dead, magic entertainment, mind control, creation of illusions and ESP, linking to many famous names from Harry Houdini to Tommy Cooper.
This is already a popular exhibition, judging by the number of visitors. ‘Seeing is Believing’!!