Previously at the ICA - Events

Discussion: Learning from a Pickpocket

22 Jan 2015

Please note that this event is not a standard gallery tour and will take place in the theatre as a discussion event. The content will draw loosely from Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition but not refer to it directly

Jonathan Allen, James Brown and Marco Godoy discuss the relationship between pickpocketing, magic and art practice. The figure of the pickpocket is someone between a magician and a criminal, who knows and takes advantage of the limitations in our brain´s perception with the only purpose of steeling our possessions.

Magic is used to create an illusion that can challenge the perception of the spectator and render him uncertain. Applying magic to art practice that engages with social and political phenomena has the potential to provoke critical spectatorship.

Jonathan Allen is a London-based artist and writer whose work has featured in many exhibitions and publications in the UK and internationally since the early 1990’s. His work has featured recently inTruth is Concrete - A Handbook for Artistic Strategies in Real Politics (Steirischer Herbst & Sternberg Press, 2014), Notes on The Magic of the State (Beirut Gallery, Cairo and Lisson Gallery London, 2013), and Curiosity and Method: Ten Years of Cabinet Magazine (Cabinet Books, 2012). Allen is an associate curator at The Magic Circle Museum, London, and in 2009 co-curated the Hayward Gallery touring exhibition Magic Show with the writer Sally O'Reilly.

James Brown is a magician, pickpocket and hypnotist, who has spent the last twenty years developing his understanding of psychology and human behavior. He has explored the relations between magic and perceptional psychology, combining contemporary sleight of hand magic with theatrical pickpocketing and suggestion hypnosis.

His practice includes performing sleight of hand, consulting for institutes like Imperial College London and teaching hypnotherapists advance hypnosis skills. He has been awarded Best Close Up Magician in UK by the Magic Circle.

Spanish London-based artist and Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2014 artist, Marco Godoy has a Master in Photography at the Royal College of Art. Using video, photography and sculpture his work approaches how authority is visually constructed by those who exercise power. Recently his work has been exhibited in galleries and institutions such as Matadero Madrid, Stedelijk Museum s-Hertogenbosch, The Dallas Museum of Contemporary Art, Liverpool Biennial 2014 and the ICA. He has also enjoyed a residency at Kiosko Galeria in Santa Cruz (Bolivia) as part of Gasworks and the Triangle Network program.


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