“I have never seen anything remotely like that. I don’t even know what to call it?”
I have always sought to open my audience’s minds to new ideas, to help them see the world with new eyes. Picture an audience’s reactions when they share an impossible moment so potent and powerful that it echoes into their normal lives and adjusts their perceptions of the ordinary world. Now imagine yourself being the one to deliver it, a unique act of mentalism that uses the illusion of our art to bring focus to those who experience it.
In Mitox I expressed my philosophy of mentalism, that each one of us should become something unique, that we should, through the characters we bring to life with the tools of our art, become something beyond real. In premise, I suggested that we mentalists had hit the mother-lode, the over-arcing lie that took mentalism from a chain of tricks bound together with charisma and chicanery and lead it into the realm of something completely different. Through your premise you could turn your back on the mainstream of mind readers and become someone that is as unrecognisably different from psychics and psychological illusionists as those individuals are from the people to whom they perform.
Now, with Yokai, it is time to take this roadmap and follow it to the next level. To illuminate the corners of the darkened room with new techniques and approaches, and to think again about what it means to become someone else. To think again about power and premise and to see what happens when the you follow the cutting edge right to the point.
Since the release of Mitox I have been deeply involved in researching and developing the next logical step, to try and bring mentalism out of the shadows of the unthinking tradition of crystal balls and the trappings of the psychic. With the same mindset of simplicity and organic design, I have developed and extended the toolkit that Mitox represented, to add to the set of techniques and ideas from which we all draw our inspiration. To throw something into the pond that will stir it up.
Yokai is the report back from the coalface. A snapshot of my findings, my thoughts and the new directions my studies have taken since the last die was cut. This year I have dug deeper. Feeling out new approaches to the premise sketches that littered Mitox, new ways to explore what it means to do what we do and how it feels to be someone capable of peeling back the layers of reality.
An undercurrent through so much of the communications I’ve had this last long year with many of the thinkers in mentalism’s underground is the theme of what our field means, and what it means to be a mentalist. Yokai is more than just a book of killer effects, it follows this theme and I look at different ideas along the way. Can what we do be an art? Can we find a meaning even deeper than that of entertainment, and can the unreal world of mentalism shine an impossible light on the real world?