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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mariano.tomatis@gmail.com

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@marianotomatis

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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 & Transmedial spin-off

My magic celebration of the TV series Lost

Posted on thursday 26 june 2014, 43 days before scifoo14 • Written by Mariano Tomatis

On defining fandom, Henry Jenkins wrote that it is born of

a balance between fascination and frustration: if media content didn’t fascinate us, there would be no desire to engage with it; but if it didn’t frustrate us on some level, there would be no drive to rewrite or remake it. (1)

Lost in Lost, I deeply experienced both the sensations when watching at the celebrated TV series created by J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof. My will to participate in the narrative led me to the creation of a transmedial spin-off adding a “magical twist” to the story.

My website dharmainitiative.it provided the fictional context for 5 web episodes, mixing orthodox elements — i.e. coherent with the original series — and original ones (listen to the introductory audio).

dharmainitiative.it is still available.

According to the website, I had been appointed Chairman of “Mathematical Forecasting Initiative”, an organization featured in the series doing researches about the Mathematics of the Paranormal, Sacred Geometries, the role of Numbers in Magic and bizarre connections between Numerical Structures and Reality. My (actual) interest in the topic had led former Chairman’s widow to put in my hands all of the files belonged to her husband.

Files included some (pretty damaged) 8 mm films presenting interactive experiments involving the viewers. Although audio tracks were missing, complete scripts of the experiments were available. The video (actually created by me) were presented as the restoration of the original footages with additional subtitles.

In order to create the videos I have mixed some scenes from the TV series and original material edited by me. Inspired to the amazing Max Maven’s Mindgames (1984) — the first example of interactive magic in video — the five episodes were born at the intersection between magic and my favourite TV series. An act of love, sprung from the balance between fascination and frustration.

The five episodes

Subliminal Mathematics — Interactive Test #3
How to influence a choice with subliminal messages and mathematics.

Mathematical Games and Life — Interactive Test #4
Is life a game of Chess? A left hemisphere approach.

Order and Chaos — Interactive Test #5
A metaphorical reading of Alice in Wonderland.

Creating Matter using Geometry — Video Puzzle #7
The weird link between a geometrical puzzle and the End of the World.

Mathematics and Meteorology — Interactive Test #8
Forecasting plane crashes due to volcano ash.

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(1) Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, New York University Press, 2006, p. 247.

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Magic and hypnosis: keeping trickery out of the door

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Be smark! Lucid self-delusion in Robert-Houdin's magic

Alexander and his magic tricks in the 2nd century