World Champion Magician 2018
November 9, 2018 9:55 AM   Subscribe

Eric Chien Just won the 2018 International Federation of Magic Societies World Championships with a routine called Ribbon. [youtube]
posted by Uncle (41 comments total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
The technical aspects of magic seem to be getting more magical as the years go by. The trickery is almost like watching the sleight of hand of CGI in a movie. Wow, just wow.
posted by ashbury at 10:05 AM on November 9 [3 favorites]

Holy shit. That was amazing and the tiny Aesop's fable-esque ending was great. I don't even want to know how it's done.
posted by kimberussell at 10:07 AM on November 9 [3 favorites]

Very clever routine, many tricks are pretty boring once known and some just take a lot of practice. Sitting directly in front of Chien I expect most walk away with skepticism of reality. One thing about the conventions of the genre, anyone knows the guy has spent untold hours practicing, and they open the act looking like it was the first time to touch a ribbon.
posted by sammyo at 10:26 AM on November 9 [4 favorites]

What happened at 5.42? I've watched it slomo frame by frame in HD. They're there then there not? I can see a weird black patch where they had been.
posted by Damienmce at 10:31 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]

What happened at 5.42?

I can't figure out where they came from at 0:35 either.
posted by Etrigan at 10:34 AM on November 9 [4 favorites]

I'm pretty sure he just has a magic ribbon, which may be cheating.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:37 AM on November 9 [60 favorites]

That was wonderful. I caught how swaps were made only a couple times, first viewing.
posted by Quasirandom at 10:38 AM on November 9

I can't figure out where they came from at 0:35 either.

All I can think of is they're already there. Some kind of reflective material and focused light, hence soft fabric non reflective table?
posted by Damienmce at 10:43 AM on November 9

The fun of watching someone like that is, you know it's trickery, and the real entertainment (and appreciation) is watching the performer make it seem like magic.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:44 AM on November 9 [15 favorites]

IIRC, there was a consensus on the Magic reddit that the video posted has been edited to remove some key frames, although I don't think Eric confirmed this. On the one hand, that seems like cheating; on the other hand a live performance like this is not intended to be slowed down and examined frame by frame. Some judicious editing to remove tells that would never be seen in a live performance strikes me as a reasonable compromise
posted by srt19170 at 10:48 AM on November 9 [7 favorites]

I almost... prefer magic where I have an inkling of how it is done. The kind of trickery that's well beyond what my puny mortal brain can imagine makes me angry for some unknown reason. Maybe because it's a puzzle I can't solve.

This is spectacular enough, and cleverly plotted, that I enjoyed most of it, but my favorite bits were still the parts where I thought I could guess what was happening.
posted by itesser at 10:49 AM on November 9 [4 favorites]

The kind of trickery that's well beyond what my puny mortal brain can imagine makes me angry for some unknown reason.

Now I'm imagining a story where an enraged Hulk walks right through Dr. Strange's strongest magical blasts, but then gets so confused by Hawkeye doing a simple card snap that he faints dead away.

"You may do magic, Strange, but I have the power of [dramatic pause, handwave] illuuusiooon."
posted by Etrigan at 10:55 AM on November 9 [6 favorites]

Except for the subtle bottom deal when first swapping red/blue cards, and the finger snap that dropped the rectangles in place, most of the tricks were impossible to follow even frame by frame. This was great. I should show it to my kid, he'd be thrilled.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:56 AM on November 9

I'm over here hollering at my desk holy shit that was wild.
posted by saladin at 11:02 AM on November 9 [5 favorites]

Would actually feel better know there had been a couple of frames edited just for my own sanity. That I'm bothering to watch in frame by frame, in work , in HD, zoomed in means he's already won.
posted by Damienmce at 11:03 AM on November 9 [8 favorites]

I love watching close-up magic. But I had a weird reaction to this, in that it looks so fake that I almost couldn't enjoy it. A reverse-uncanny valley or...something. And it did seem as though frames were missing.

In any case, it's obviously freaking amazing and I want him at my birthday party.
posted by Caxton1476 at 11:10 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]

If you watch it half speed and ignore the misdirection, at 0.11 there's a slight ripple in the air indicating an invisible demon flying out of the box. After that the rest is just showmanship.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:21 AM on November 9 [24 favorites]

What an amazing talent!
posted by agatha_magatha at 11:22 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]

Balls, tripped.
posted by Samizdata at 11:25 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]

I bet Vanta black is involved somehow.
posted by TedW at 11:26 AM on November 9 [10 favorites]

That was amazing.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:27 AM on November 9

I'm reasonably satisfied with the assumption that there are a lot of springs, monofilament lines, magnets, tiny latches/catches and thin pieces of flecked black velvet with slits in them on top of a "table" that is just a bunch of slats.

But whatever gizmos he's got, his handwork alone is still damn amazing. And ultimately, it's the showmanship that sells an act, not the gizmos!
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:33 AM on November 9 [8 favorites]

The silence with music with magic on a table reminded me of Shin Lim. Is this a growing trend in magic?
posted by dobbs at 11:39 AM on November 9 [2 favorites]

Thanks dobbs - I too thought of Shin Lim, though I couldn't recall the name right away. I think that there is a segment of performers who have learned that by not talking you can control audience attention in very different ways.
posted by nubs at 11:42 AM on November 9 [2 favorites]

That was fantastic! Sleight of hand doesn't begin to cover it. I also love the sounds of the crowd gasping and clapping, like happy children. We're all monkeys, delighted by what we don't quite understand (or maybe that's me. A dazzled little primate).
posted by but no cigar at 11:43 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]

"What happened at 5.42?

I can't figure out where they came from at 0:35 either."

Stumped me pretty badly too, but after I thought about it more and more I think its actually several layers of cloth on the table, and they fly toward him pulled by elastic bands.

They don't appear, the layer on top goes away.

I think layers are involved in the card chopping part too.

Whole act was amazing.
posted by stilgar at 11:52 AM on November 9 [4 favorites]

I don't want to know how he does it. I just want to enjoy the wonder.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:55 AM on November 9 [5 favorites]

I've watched a couple of reaction videos and even a pro-level magician doesn't know how he does some of his tricks so it's def an invisible demon.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:58 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]

The card chopping really demonstrates his showmanship. He slides the card under the ribbon and you think 'Oh I know how he did that, there's a ..." and then he picks up the corner of the card and you are doubly amazed.

The trick isn't the incredible sleight of hand. The real trick is how he manages your expectations and, umm... tricks you into thinking one thing so he can trick you again.

In addition to that there's a full story with a moral told without words. This guy 100% deserves the award.
posted by iamnotangry at 12:12 PM on November 9 [10 favorites]

Holy shit. Mind blown.
posted by zardoz at 12:47 PM on November 9

My guess for box reveal / removal is that there's no physical motion at all, but that it's an illuminated screen, either electronic or simply an LED light through a transparency or dark filter. I wonder how much a change in perspective would weaken that illusion.

Edit: nah, that coin is reflecting him right 'till the end.
posted by CaseyB at 1:57 PM on November 9

that was pretty amazing!

i think there's some mirrors and illusion shenanigans involved too, like when he puts down the cards and they disappear there's something there blocking the view of the cards
posted by numaner at 2:09 PM on November 9

Reminds me of Will Tsai's routine from America's Got Talent
posted by Quasimike at 3:22 PM on November 9

I agree with TedW's idea that something like Vanta Black is involved. There might be something like a lip or pocket that he can hide cards and coins behind, but since it's vanta black there's no way at all to visually determine depth or even things like corners and seams.

This is the part where Penn asks "can we stand to the side of the table and watch?" and he shakes his head no and doesn't get the Fooled Us prize.
posted by thecjm at 3:22 PM on November 9 [2 favorites]

I usually find magic acts boring even when they're really good. What really makes this one work for me is the acting and the story. He really sells the idea that he's experimenting with the contents of the box and surprised by the results.
posted by Daily Alice at 3:25 PM on November 9 [2 favorites]

Assuming the video isn't doctored in post, I find it easier to believe that he's staged the whole thing, including the price ceremony, rather than what just happened... Can't wrap my head around what he did.
posted by monocultured at 3:45 PM on November 9 [1 favorite]

This is just amazing work. My son does magic, so I've gotten good at seeing the tells, but this guy is really, really good. Only saw like three or four things, the rest of the time was just, "impossible"...
posted by Windopaene at 4:46 PM on November 9

TedW: I bet Vanta black is involved somehow.

World's Blackest Material Now Comes in a Spray Can (LiveScience) — Vantablack S-VIS (Surrey Nano Systems)
Museum Visitor Falls Into Giant Hole That Looks Like a Cartoonish Painting on the Floor (Gizmodo)
The War Over the World's Darkest Pigment Got Even More Ridiculous (Gizmodo)

No magic: merely science, skill, misdirection showmanship, and attorneys (not necessarily in that order).
posted by cenoxo at 9:24 PM on November 9 [1 favorite]

any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology
posted by nubs at 10:03 PM on November 9 [11 favorites]

This is in part active props, but there is a very (very) well practiced and just damn good slight-of-hand mastery involved here -- almost Teller level good :)
posted by twidget at 5:12 PM on November 10

A magic (gimmicked) ribbon isn't cheating - a lot of magic, including pro stuff, relies on gimmicked versions of regular-looking items. Sleight of hand and misdirection can only take you so far.

Also if you're expecting actual fantasy magic then I'm sorry to say that every magician in the world is going to let you down. A magician, as the quote goes by someone whose name escapes me, is an actor playing a magician. It's the performance first and foremost.

I saw a show by Vincent Kuo a few months ago, he's this 19yo based out of Sydney who is really soft spoken. He has this BEAUTIFUL act set to music that used Rubik's cubes - they get solved in a second, fall apart and come together, colours change before your eyes. If you paid attention you can see some wires but a lot of it was pretty much WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK. It was the first time a magic show me me cry.
posted by divabat at 12:43 AM on November 11 [1 favorite]

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