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Get your “prestidigitation” on

Photo courtesy of flickr.com/creative commons user stevendepolo

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

No, this is not a movie showing, even if The Prestige was a solid, if mildly morbid, film.

Hallwalls, the Buffalo Museum of Sciences and the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences have organized Science & Art Cabaret 5.0: The Prestige that examines how magicians use illusion to fool an audience. I don’t like it when they manipulate my mind—I always feel so helpless—but they’re just so crafty! 

At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, the Ninth Ward will host four speakers—Bruce Adams, Peter Pfordresher, Biff Henrich and Steve Baczkowski—to explain, in easily-digestible scientific terms, why we’re so baffled by magic tricks. The event is free of charge, and there’s a cash bar available that should make the evening more magical.

After all, LiveScience.com suggests that magicians are well-ahead of psychologists in understanding the human mind and determining ways to deceive it. Instead of recoiling against the entertainers, many psychologists have studied the techniques of magicians and collaborated with the professional deceivers—resulting in further investigation of the field.

Here’s a little about each presenter:

Bruce Adams, “Prestidigitation demonstration: How magicians create illusion through psychological science.”—I’m not quite sure why magicians hog all the awesome sounding words—sleight of hand and legerdemain both sound so sly—but prestidigitation, while being a pain to pronounce, basically means “quick fingers.” Here’s a short bio on Adams.

Dr. Peter Pfordresher,
“on Perceptual illusions: When the mind’s making sense leads to nonsense.”—An instructor at the University of Buffalo’s College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Pfordresher studies how the mind organizes sequences of events.

Biff Henrich
, “photography and illusion.”—Henrich, whose photography exhibit of local architecture was on display last year, will perhaps discuss how these images are created.

Steve Baczkowski
, “performing on collaged vinyl & used turntables.” Baczkowski, Music Director at Hallwalls and renowned saxophonist, has a few tricks up his sleeve.

Photo courtesy of Flickr / Steven Depolo

TAGGED: buffalo museum of science, hallwalls, magic, magicians, psychological science, steve baczkowski, the prestige, university at buffalo

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