Dean Carnagie – the Steampunk Illusionist

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Dean Carnegie has been an illusionist since 1995. To quote Dean: Illusionists are a special breed who deal mostly with large scale props involving people, like ‘Sawing a Person in Half’, ‘Levitating Someone In the Air’, ‘Causing People to Vanish’ or ‘Appear from Nowhere’. His mysteries (isn’t that a wonderful term?) are on a grand scale. He was drawn to the Steampunk genre by the aesthetic, the industrial look, such as big rivets, brass parts and gauges.

Dean had experimented with a range of styles, and slowly realised that the style he was after was the Steampunk Aesthetic. Steampunk allowed – and allows – him to use props and devices that many modern magicians can’t use, because the props make sense within the context of his show. With Steampunk, there is an instant theatricality that comes from the props, the costumes and the overall theme of the show. His props would seem out of place in more modern acts. The Steampunk theme of his act creates verisimilitude, because of its association with Science Fiction, Jules Verne and other fantastic visions supplied by Steampunk’s Neo-Victorian Retro-futurism. The theme make it easier for him to present crazy concepts and have the audience accept them.

As an example: Who has a time machine in real life? No one. But Dean has one in his show, and so harks back to both H. G. Wells and Doctor Who. He also have a teleportation device in my show, which relates back to the traditions shown in Steampunk movie, The Prestige. Dean has a lot of contraptions that look like they came out of a Jules Verne novel, and when the audience sees them their first reactions are amazement and admiration. The magic has already started to work.

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The Steampunk Illusionist isn’t active in his local community, but he is active online. Dean is also historian of the craft of magic. He reads 100 year old books to discover what magicians from the Victorian era were doing, and then recreate it or update it for modern audiences. He lures the hearts and minds of his audience into another century.

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Filed under Alternative Subculture, Steampunk

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