Luc is a French Canadian professional illusionist from Montreal. For the last 12 years, he has been performing on Canadian and French TV, and on tour around the province of Quebec and in Europe (mainly in France). He started performing magic full time in 2008 while he was doing his physics Ph.D (in biophotonics). His scientific background plays a big role in the creation and presentation of his routines.
Can you describe something that has recently amazed you? How did it make you feel?
There are many magicians or other kinds of artists performing things that amaze me by their creativity. Yesterday again, I saw the trick that the Canadian Eric Leclerc did on Penn & Teller’s “Fool Us” TV show and I was mystified. But one of the biggest amazements I got in the last few years is the off-Broadway show of Derek DelGaudio: “In and of itself” … That blew my mind. It was like seeing Santa Clause for the first time.
How would describe what wonder is and what it feels like?
For me, wonder is when you see something that you cannot classify in your head because you don’t have any “slot” for it. You discover a new perspective on something, and it opens your imagination on a new room.
It sounds like we have a similar background in science and magic. Can you tell me more about your science background?
I studied in physical engineering at Laval University (Quebec City) and did a masters in optics. I also started a Ph. D. in biophotonics before magic took over. I consider that science is the magic of the 21st century.
How do science and magic interact?
Well, in history… since the beginning 🙂 In my own story, I started to be fascinated by magic at the age of 6 when I saw a magician for the first time. Around the age of 8 or 9, when I first learned about the existence of atoms, I became passionate by science too because I saw an opportunity to really understand how the world works. Magic and science were my 2 passions for many years and when I was around 22, I decided to link them in the presentation of my magic tricks in order to have a signature as magician and really be myself on stage. We created my first TV show around that time, and I needed to be different from other magicians. Using the science to do it was the natural choice.
Having seen videos of some of your performances, it seems you love incorporating technology into your shows (projections and augmented reality). Can you tell me more about where technology enhances magic and also maybe areas where technology detracts?
It’s hard as a magician to create new tricks; things that people have never seen. One of the strategies I use to innovate is to use objects or concepts that didn’t exist 5, 10 or 20 years ago… That way I’m sure nobody has done it before… because it did not exist. According to me, the use of technology is also a good way to modernise the art of magic and distance myself from a guy wearing a top hat and pulling out a rabbit from a hat.
However, I guess we (magicians) must be careful to never forget that technology has to help the magic to amaze people… not the inverse. It’s nice to use video projections, augmented and/or virtual reality… but if the magic tricks with it is not good, it doesn’t give a good show.
Who have been your biggest influences in your art?
I think Albert Einstein has shown that a scientist can be “cool”, or at least intriguing for the general public. But in the art of magic specifically, I have a lot of admiration for Derren Brown. The way he links mentalism and psychology has really inspired me in the way to link science and magic in my shows.
There seems to be a real dream like quality to your theatre shows. How important is that to you?
Well I guess it’s the most important part because that’s why people come to see magic shows; obtain a piece of a dream, of wonder. It’s OK to have a trick that is a real puzzle with an unsolvable secret… but if it doesn’t make some people dream, there will be no emotions attached to it… and most people will quickly forget it. Only tricks that makes dream become memorable… because it touches your heart and your intellect at the same time.
What’s your biggest dream?
A few years ago, I would have answered: “Become the best magician in the world.” Now, I would say “Become a unique and memorable artist.”
We’re right in the middle of a pandemic lockdown. The world is rather crazy and scary. What role does a 21st Century magician have?
Make people dream so that they forget how crazy the world can be… and also show them how easily our perceptions can be “hacked”. Meaning that it’s not because we perceive / think / interpret things in a way that it is the truth. Our perception of the world is probably so wrong, we cannot imagine how brilliant and beautiful it is.
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