Todd Landman Academic Magician
October 10, 2021Todd Landman

Celebrating The Magiculum

Many years ago, I asked myself the question,

'What would a curriculum vitae look like for a magician?'

After thinking deeply about this question, I concluded that it would be called a magiculum vitae and would include the training, education, performance history, and artistic creations of the magician.

I explored and refined this idea of the magiculum vitae to arrive at the idea of The Magiculum, which would be a physical and virtual place for magicians to study, discuss, and perform 'a certain kind of magic.'

By this, I mean a kind of magic that has strong referents to the human condition, deep themes from history, science, philosophy, psychology, and many other academic disciplines.

Through my membership of The Magic Circle, the British Society of Mystery Entertainers, The Society of American Magicians, the Magic Research Group, and other affiliations, I began to find a diverse group of like-minded magicians who share a vision of making magic meaningful.

The Magiculum was thus founded in 2012 with a small group of magicians who wanted to come together to discuss their own influences, their journeys into magic, and the style of magic that they perform.

It also has become a hallowed space for me, adorned with books, antiques, magical objects, and a cabinet of curiosities in which my own brand of Academic Magic develops.

The Magiculum, EyeCorner Press, 2014

From our discussions, it became apparent that we had a lot to say and we collaborated together to produce The Magiculum, published in 2014 by EyeCorner Press. The essays in the volume cover a series of common and overlapping themes:

  • Magic as Power
  • Magic as Escape
  • Magic as Protection
  • Magic as Play
  • Magic as Medium
  • Magic as Unknowable
  • Magic as Symbol
  • Magic as Language
  • Magic as Incomplete

Since the publication of this volume, our members have continued to meet on-line (especially during the COVID-19 pandemic) and off line at various formal and informal gatherings.

We have performed, written, received magic-related PhDs, produced documentary films, conducted research council-funded projects, contributed to The Journal of Performance Magic, and attended meetings, such as the Tabula Mentis meetings of the British Society of Mystery Entertainers, Doomsday conferences in Whitby and Derby, the East Coast Spirit Sessions in Myrtle Beach, and Bizarre Hauntings meetings in Baltimore.

The Magiculum II, Lulu Publishers, 2020

These and many other activities generated new thoughts on persona, effect, and impact as manifested through magical performance.

We gathered these thoughts in a new volume of essays entitled The Magiculum II in 2020. Building on our previous essays, the content in the second edition shares a number of common themes:

  • The blurred lines of distinction between science and magic
  • The need to be safe in presenting challenging magical material to public audiences
  • The importance of identity, authenticity, persona, and paradigms
  • The need for consistency and (flexible) alignment between magicians as individuals and magicians as performers
  • The different roles for faith, ritual, luck, love, and belief
Member Certificate 2021

As we approach the 10th Anniversary of the establishment of The Magiculum, and we emerge from the global pandemic, it is a fitting time to celebrate our work as we return to public performance and continue to refine our particular form of art. We have a very welcome and broad approach to what we do, and engage constructively with one another. Through our interactions we continue to strive to make magic meaningful.

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