MARIANO TOMATIS

WONDER INJECTOR

Italian writer and magician
working for a better Rule #34:
«If it exists, there is magic of it.
If not, let’s make it!»

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 2014 (36)

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WHAT IS SCI FOO?

Science Foo Camp (or “Sci Foo”) is an invitation-only gathering organized by Digital Science, O'Reilly Media, and Google, with support from Nature. The 9th edition of Sci Foo takes place on 8-10 August 2014 at the Googleplex in Mountain View, CA. Lord Martin Rees has defined it as “a sort of mini Woodstock of the Mind”. Participants include researchers, writers, educators, artists, policy makers, investors, and other thought leaders, all doing groundbreaking work in diverse areas of science and technology.

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Magic & Culture

Working for a better Rule #34

Posted on sunday 8 june 2014, 61 days before scifoo14 • Written by Mariano Tomatis

Rule #34 is an adage which asserts that if something exists on the Internet, there is porn of it. On 2006 the rule was submitted in the satirical Encyclopedia Dramatica together with an addendum:

Rule 34: There is porn of it, no exceptions.
Rule 35: If no porn is found at the moment, it will be made.

I’m an Italian writer and magician who has been invited to participate to the Science Foo Camp 2014 (scifoo14) taking place at the Googleplex in Mountain View, CA.

Why me — an illusionist — among researchers, educators, artists, policy makers, investors, and other thought leaders? Maybe for my daily commitment in working for a better Rule #34, going like this:

If it exists, there is magic of it. If not, let’s make it!

Is there room for magic in the contemporary cultural debate?

I acknowledge that today the magician is an old-fashioned figure. With his balloon sculptures, gaudy handkerchiefs and doves, his aesthetic evokes the pastimes of childhood and village feasts.

L’Illusionniste (France, 2010).

David Metcalfe frankly commented:

When one thinks of stage magic, speculative metaphysics might not be the first thing that comes to mind. (1)

David wrote it after his meeting with Max Maven, the contemporary magician who — more than anyone else — has elevated the secular magic to a form of modern art, highlighting its deep philosophical and cultural implications. One of the most prolific theorists on the subject, in an article on the role of magic in the U.S. cultural context Maven commented bitterly:

Three magicians showed up on Forbes magazine’s recent list of the highest paid American entertainers. However, when Newsweek shortly thereafter did a cover story on the one hundred most influential people in American culture there was no one even remotely resembling a conjurer on the list. Conclusion: They’ll pay us, but they won’t listen to us. (2)

Are there the basis for acknowledging to magic a role in the contemporary cultural debate? My efforts are all focused on this purpose: improving the perception of magic in public opinion, believing in the possibility of emancipating magic from mere entertainment to a “category of thought.” Showing its implications in science, arts — even in politics — will be my contribution to scifoo14.

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