Watch the video of Kieron Kirkland’s talk at TEDxExeter 2015.
Scroll down the page for biographical information and news.
Video and Live blogging
Kieron is back on the stage, and has just confounded us with another trick. We are [at least, I am] asking how. Kieron says we should ask why.
He is taking us back in our imaginations to Christmas past and the magic of Santa filling our stocking. Now he takes us back further to 19th century Algeria and a duel between a Frenchman and a local chieftain. The chieftain shoots first, and the Frenchman catches the bullet between his teeth. Then the Frenchman shoots at a wall, and blood oozes from it.
The secret of every magic trick is to create a unwilling suspension of disbelief. Why should we believe? If a magician just loses money, we get annoyed. If he (or she) sprinkles it with wiffle dust and makes it disappear we are more impressed. But good magicians will change the way we see the world, and the greatest how we see ourselves. It’s not about changing perceptions about things, but about why things happen.
For Kieron it started with finding out about the stories of 1st century St Thomas in India: how he trumped local magicians, explained the why, and told them how God’s power was also available to them.
Who had the power in the 1920s and 1930s? There were many alive/dead tricks, whereby magicians could pick who was which from a list of names. Magicians also passed on messages from dead people, and they were believed. Why? Because people were desperate to speak to their loved ones who had died during World War I.
On to Uri Geller… if you could choose a super-power, would it be spoon-bending?! But the why here is unexplored human potential. If spoon-bending is possible for one man, what are the implications for the rest of us? Today we have Derren Brown, who is playing back to us what science has uncovered recently about the mysteries of the human mind.
In a world where technology has become so complex it’s almost magical, Kieron wants us to think how magicians think. Magical whys don’t just exist. Become aware of them.
Now for something completely different…
Kieron asks us to think of a card. A member of the audience says Queen of Hearts. Wrong… it’s a birthday card, produced with a flourish from Kieron’s back pocket! The audience member says he will be 37 next birthday, and Kieron has invited him onto the red dot to read his birthday card… Happy 37th, and remember the Queen of Hearts because it will be important to you during the year.
Now five people are invited on to the dot to have their minds read. Kieron has unveiled his lie detector, a mechanical monkey. The five are randomly picking out Star Wars characters, and the monkey will detect who has Darth Vader.
It’s tempting to give up blogging now. I’m laughing too much! Two have just said “I have Darth Vader”, and the monkey clapped, and Kieron correctly guessed that both were lying. A third one has gone down. The last two caused problems, or the monkey is malfunctioning, but Kieron worked out who had Darth Vader in the end.
He’ll be speaking later. I’m looking forward to it.
Kieron Kirkland is magician, technologist and social innovation geek. A member of the Magic Circle, he has performed everywhere from Shakespeare’s Globe to the Arctic Circle. As Magician-in-Residence at the Pervasive Media Studio he created new ways that magic and technology could be intertwined and ran the world’s first magic hack http://www.watershed.co.uk/ished/projects/kieronkirkland/ which was featured on the BBC, The Independent and Slate Magazine. And yes, it was as much fun as it sounds. He’s also a retired street clown, but generally keeps quiet about that.
News about Kieron Kirkland
“An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises” said Mae West. We think that to announce our performers is worth quite a bit too. We haven’t quite finalised the line-up yet, but here are a couple of good’uns.
First, we are really looking forward to hearing Kieron Kirkland talk about the intertwining of magic and technology. He will also be weaving some of his magic live on stage, so prepare to be perplexed, befuddled and amazed.
And we’re also delighted that, fresh from being featured on TED.com and being viewed more than half a million times, Harry Baker has agreed to return to TEDxExeter this year! As one of the comments on TED.com said: “Just an absolute artisan with his words, bravo! The first one entertained me, the second made me think and the last one made me feel (brought a tear to my eye). Quite amazing the power that words can have.”