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Jonathan Allen

Jonathan Allen is a visual artist and writer based in London. His intermittent stage persona "Tommy Angel" is a fictive evangelist-conjuror who Allen portrays in a variety of media including performance, photography, and video. He writes widely on the cultural history of theatrical magic and related themes.

What the Spectators See

Disappearances in magic shows partake in what philosopher Jason Leddington has termed an aesthetics of the impossible. “The distinctive aim of theatrical magic,” he writes, “is to produce an experience as of an impossible event.” 1 For magicians, learning to craft the spectacle of disappearance is a basic tenet of the art. “The fundamental principles of a sleight of hand trick,” wrote Ellis Stanyon in 1912, “practically any trick or stage illusion for that matter, are Three Only in number, viz., Production, Disappearance and Change.”


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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