HokusPokus opened at Watermans Gallery, London on April 14, 2012 as part of their International Festival of Digital Art. Hocus Pocus is a 3-screen interactive artwork that uses illusionistic and performative aspects of magical tricks to explore human perception, senses and movement. It takes inspiration from recent neuroscientific interest in magic as a way to understand the relation between vision and movement in human perception.
Filming a professional magician performing illusions that use optical trickery such as sleight-of-hand (manipulation of objects) and the flourish (display of a magician’s skills), we will create a performance made from a video database of tricks. How those tricks unfold depends on the participant’s movements and reactions in the installation space. Unseen sensors – including pressure sensitive floor tiles and infra-red trip sensors – will form the interface between the audiovisual material and participants’ actions. For example, movement towards a particular screen whilst a trick is being performed may challenge the magician into changing it somewhat – the entire process may speed up, or participants’ focus may be shifted suddenly to an adjacent screen. Importantly, the interactivity is designed so that the magical ‘action’ unfolding within the audiovisual material is in direct relationship with how people are moving around and engaging with the space itself.