Do you believe in magic? This might seem like a pretty cliche and somewhat philosophical question. For those of us over 20, we all know that magic is a trick and a form of deception, not a real thing. Nevertheless, most of us are excited about magic. Pigeons suddenly popping out from hats and flying away, the beauty of a body being sawed into two, disappearing coins, etc... Clearly, magic has a power which attracts the attention of the public. Thus, there is PRISM, a magic club at the University of Seoul (UOS). PRISM is an abbreviation of PRofessionals of Impressive Special Magic. They explore and study magic with the slogan of “Challenge the impossible.” The UOS Times interviewed Kim Young-jun (School of Electronic Computer Engineering, ’13), president of PRISM, and heard magical stories about the club.
Magic & PRISM
Magic has been a part of humanity for a long time ? more than you might think. Magic first started around 5,000 B.C. Early magic was a feast for the eyes. The main tools of magic were simple things like cups, stones, and threads, thus this magic was only making those tools disappear. As time passed, more bold and interesting magic tricks like sawing a person into two pieces were developed. In the 18th century, in collaboration with science, magic developed more innovative contents such as flying into the air and bending iron spoons. As giant magic tools were developed, magicians could perform magic on stages, and people could enjoy magic shows as an audience. Even now, during the 21st century, many interesting magics are being created and attract a lot of attention of the people. Although we all know that magic is full of deception and tricks, we love magic. And there is a club which performs all these fascinating magic. As you expected, name of the club is PRISM.
PRISM began with a small group of students from the School of Computer Science in 2003. Their magic was enough to catch the public’s eyes, and in 2007 the club was promoted to a central club of UOS. Now, PRISM became one of the most famous clubs at UOS.
Pigeon named Seul-ki and Seon-min take their pose on chair.
PRISM holds a “workshop stage” (the new club member’s presentation of magic) annually, and newcomers are able to experience being on the “stage.” More than just showing their magical skills, newcomers grow as magicians through experiencing the magical stage. As a regular member of S.K.U.M (the Societies of Korean University Magic clubs), PRISM is committed to attending regular meetings at universities in Seoul and Gyeonggi-do and magic performance shows. Of course, students of UOS can catch their performance during Daedongje and Yinhyangje. Moreover, PRISM offers joy and happiness to not only UOS students but the general public as well. They contribute to the local social welfare by performing magic shows to people who are culturally alienated. Most of the audience is culturally neglected and has no opportunity to enjoy cultural activities. They donate their talent for magic to the public for everyone’s happiness.
Magic performed by PRISM
There are many kinds of magic performed by PRISM. They can range from a simple trick with cards or coins to intricate magic tricks using fire or something more dangerous. Magic can be divided into two general categories of close-up magic and stage magic. Close-up magic is magic tricks on a smaller scale. Only three to five people can watch and enjoy this type of magic. Stage magic is literally magic performed on a stage using big tools. If you join PRISM, you can enjoy both kinds of magic: stage magic in the workshop stage and close-up magic in regular meetings. In Daedongje, members give a demonstration of simple magic tricks using mainly close-up magic. So, if you are wondering what kinds of tricks they perform, you can go to the PRISM booth during the festival and figure out their most charming points.
How do they learn all of these tricks? They usually learn magic from DVDs or foreign books. They become proficient through self-exploration of magic tricks. There are also secret magic tricks passed on from the older and wiser seniors. Sometimes, they invite professional magicians to meetings and learn new magic skills from them.
True meaning of magic
As President Kim said, “I think magic is all about ‘I am the best.’ In any type of performance, it is rare that only one performer runs the whole stage by him or herself. So, a magic performer gets a lot of attention from the audience, more than other types of performers. This is why I think magicians have an ‘I am the best’ type of attitude. A performer should think “I am the world’s best” at least on the stage. It makes the performer and the magic special.” he continued, “Magic is not just a one-sided performance. A magician essentially needs communication skills to harmonize with the audience. Also, a performer must try to understand the audience. From doing all of these things, I can learn how to sympathize with others and communicate with someone I do not know. Keeping this in mind, PRISM will work more enthusiastically.”
Evident from what Kim said, PRISM is not just a club where you can learn and teach magic skills ? there is also a philosophical meaning. As he said, learning several magic tricks is not the only thing you can earn from PRISM. What you can truly earn is the courage to stand in front of many people with the open mind needed to constantly connect with them. Above all, you can learn how to make people truly happy.