(Re)Discovering the Body in Mentalism

Abstract

This paper argues that despite contemporary discoveries disproving Cartesian mind-body dualism – which falsely presupposed a separation between mind and body – contemporary performances of mentalism are still vastly impacted by this belief. I further argue that the long-supposed divide between mind and body has led many contemporary mentalists to underexplore and underemphasize bodies in performance, particularly their own. In the exploration of this topic, I examine notions of psychophysical acting and post-Cartesian character – in relation to the personas cultivated and projected by mentalists – proposing the terms metamentalism, inverse method acting, quasi-character, and anti-character to better capture the forms of role play and persona variously taken on and projected by mentalists. I next examine the archetype of the trickster as it relates to mentalists, including associations with shamans and buffoons. I conclude with an examination of the material properties of mentalism.

Keywords

anti-character, trickster, Postmodern, Bodymind, metamentalism, mentalism, Psychophysical, Post-Cartesian, Quasi-Character, Inverse Method Acting

How to Cite

Dean E. (2016) “(Re)Discovering the Body in Mentalism”, Journal of Performance Magic. 4(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.5920/jpm.2016.02

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Edward Dean

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