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TEDGlobal 2012

Marco Tempest: A cyber-magic card trick like no other

June 28, 2012

The suits, numbers and colors in a deck of cards correspond to the seasons, moon cycles and calendar. Marco Tempest straps on augmented reality goggles and does a card trick like you’ve never seen before, weaving a lyrical tale as he deals. (This version fixes a glitch in the original performance, but is otherwise exactly as seen live by the TEDGlobal audience, including the dazzling augmented reality effects.)

Marco Tempest - Techno-illusionist
Marco Tempest is a cyber illusionist, combining magic and technology to produce astonishing illusions. Full bio

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Double-click the English subtitles below to play the video.
Good morning. So magic is an excellent way
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for staying ahead of the reality curve,
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to make possible today
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what science will make a reality tomorrow.
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As a cyber-magician, I combine elements of illusion
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and science to give us a feel of how future technologies
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might be experienced.
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You've probably all heard of Google's Project Glass.
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It's new technology. You look through them
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and the world you see is augmented with data:
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names of places, monuments, buildings,
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maybe one day even the names of the strangers that pass you on the street.
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So these are my illusion glasses.
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They're a little bigger. They're a prototype.
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And when you look through them, you get a glimpse
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into the mind of the cyber-illusionist.
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Let me show you what I mean.
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All we need is a playing card. Any card will do.
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Like this. And let me mark it so we can recognize it
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when we see it again.
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All right. Very significant mark.
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And let's put it back into the deck,
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somewhere in the middle, and let's get started.
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(Music)
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Voice: System ready. Acquiring image.
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Marco Tempest: For those of you who don't play cards,
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a deck of cards is made up of four different suits:
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hearts, clubs,
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diamonds and spades.
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The cards are amongst the oldest of symbols,
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and have been interpreted in many different ways.
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Now, some say that the four suits
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represent the four seasons.
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There's spring, summer,
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autumn and —
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Voice: My favorite season is winter.MT: Well yeah, mine too.
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Winter is like magic. It's a time of change,
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when warmth turns to cold, water turns to snow,
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and then it all disappears.
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There are 13 cards in each suit. (Music)
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Voice: Each card represents a phase of the 13 lunar cycles.
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MT: So over here is low tide,
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and over here is high tide,
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and in the middle is the moon.
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Voice: The moon is one of the most potent symbols of magic.
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MT: There are two colors in a deck of cards.
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There is the color red
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and the color black,
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representing the constant change
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from day to night.
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Voice: Marco, I did not know you could do that. (Laughter)
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MT: And is it a coincidence that there are 52 cards
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in a deck of cards, just as there are 52 weeks in a year?
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(Music)
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Voice: If you total all the spots on a deck of cards,
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the result is 365.
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MT: Oh, 365, the number of days in a year,
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the number of days between
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each birthday.
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Make a wish. (Blowing noise)
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Voice: Don't tell, or it won't come true.
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MT: Well, as a matter of fact, it was on my sixth birthday
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that I received my first deck of cards,
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and ever since that day, I have traveled around the world
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performing magic for boys and girls,
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men and women, husbands and wives,
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even kings and queens. (Applause)
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Voice: And who are these?MT: Ah, mischief-makers. Watch.
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Wake up.
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Joker: Whoa.MT: Are you ready for your party piece?
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Joker: Ready!MT: Let me see what you've got.
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Joker: Presenting my pogo stick.MT: Ah. Watch out.
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Joker: Whoa, whoa, whoa, oh! (Music)
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MT: But today, I am performing for a different kind of audience.
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I'm performing for you.
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Voice: Signed card detected.MT: Well, sometimes people ask me
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how do you become a magician? Is it a 9-to-5 job?
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Of course not! You've got to practice 24/7.
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I don't literally mean 24 hours, seven days a week.
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24/7 is a little bit of an exaggeration,
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but it does take practice. Now, some people will say,
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well, magic, that must be the work of some evil
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supernatural force. (Laughter) (Applause)
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(Music)
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Whoa.
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Well, to this, I just say, no no.
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Actually, in German, it's nein nein. (Laughter)
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Magic isn't that intense. I have to warn you, though,
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if you ever play with someone who deals cards like this,
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don't play for money.
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(Music)
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Voice: Why not? That's a very good hand.
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The odds of getting it are 4,165 to one.
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MT: Yeah, but I guess my hand is better. We beat the odds.
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Voice: I think you got your birthday wish.MT: And that actually leaves me with the last,
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and most important card of all:
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the one with this very significant mark on it.
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And unlike anything else we've just seen,
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virtual or not.Voice: Signed card detected.
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Digital MT: This is without a question the real thing.
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MT: Bye bye. (Music)
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Thank you. (Applause)
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(Applause)
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Thank you very much. (Applause)
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(Applause)
06:25
Translator:Thu-Huong Ha
Reviewer:Morton Bast

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Marco Tempest - Techno-illusionist
Marco Tempest is a cyber illusionist, combining magic and technology to produce astonishing illusions.

Why you should listen

The Swiss magician began his performing career as a stage magician and manipulator, winning awards and establishing an international reputation. His interest in computer-generated imageryled him to incorporate video and digital technology in his work — and eventually to the development of a new form of contemporary illusion. The expansion of the Internet and social media provided more opportunities for digital illusions and ways of interacting with audiences and creating magically augmented realities. Tempest is a keen advocate of the open source community, working with artists, writers and technologists to create new experiences and research the practical uses of the technology of illusion. He is a Director’s Fellow at the MIT Media Lab.

The original video is available on TED.com
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