Every day as part of her Horizon residency, Jo Bannon will be sharing an image, or text or sound file as an insight into her process for her new staged work, Blind Magic. Check back on this blog post to see what emerges as the residency unfolds.

Blind Magic is a score for two visually disabled/blind performers and one unreliable audio describer. The work will explore the imaginative dance between sleight of hand, deception, and dexterity present within magic shows, dance, and the lived experience of visual disability. A tactile, perfunctory, and unbelievable dance between what you see and what you can believe. A complicated and complicit choreography of touch, description, and deception for a sighted and non-sighted audience.

This choreographic work explores the intersection between the embodiment practices present in dance training, the tactile sleight of hand techniques of magic and illusionist acts, and the overt and covert strategies (or crip expertise) implemented by visually disabled people navigating the world through senses other than sight.

Click here to read more about Blind Magic

Day 1: Monday 16 August

Circular Saw Photo

A pair of white arms poke through holes inside a dark blue box. They touch the object inside; a round, metal, circular saw, with it’s teeth bared

Credit: John Stephenson © Jo Bannon

Image description: A pair of white arms poke through holes inside a dark blue box. They touch the object inside; a round, metal, circular saw, with its teeth bared

Day 2: Tuesday 17 August

Tony Slydini performing a Coin Routine on television in 1977.

Image Description: The magician Tony Slydini sits in the centre of the frame at a green baize-covered table. He is an older white man with dark receding hair worn swept back. He is smartly dressed in a two-piece suit, white shirt, and large 70s tie, another clue to the era is the ashtray sitting next to him on the table. The TV presenter sits to his left. During the video Slydini performs a number of sleight of hand magic tricks with a coin, making it disappear and reappear. He moves his hands with great precious and expression, often clapping or slapping the table.

Day 3 – Wednesday 18 August

Today’s scrapbook post is this dictionary definition of the word nonchalance.

Today I’ve been talking and thinking about nonchalance. Or practiced nonchalance. As a practice of appearing to be at ease, therefore allowing others to be at ease in your company. A skill mastered by magicians in the palming of a card or by Visually Disabled folk getting onto an escalator. Who is this labour for and what does it allow? 

Day 4 – Thursday 19 August

An illustration in black ink on pastel blue background. It depicts the common magic trick of cutting a woman in half and shows how this feat of illusion is done.

In the drawing we see two boxes on legs. They are next to each other but there is a small gap between them. Sticking out to the left end of one of the boxes is a woman’s head. To the right end of the other box we see a woman’s feet. Inside each box we see a dotted line which outlines the concealed figure of each woman’s remaining body, bent and curled to fit inside the remaining box.

Something about that dotted line to illustrate what we can’t see.
Something about the simplicity of the trick and the absurdity of how compelling it still is.
Something about how magic and blindness might train us to keep open all the possibilities of how something is done, what something is, what might be (im)possible.
Something about the line of fragility between knowing and not knowing how something is done.
Something about wonder and our need for it
Something about certainty and our need for it
Something about cutting a woman in half
Something about how it is done

Day 5 – Friday 20 August

Today a reminder about not rushing, about small wins, about taking the time it takes, about Crip time.

Today Matthew from MAYK (my producers), came for a studio visit. I was deeply lost in trying to create a mind map of my research. Trying to make sense of various interests, references, ideas. Trying to impose a logic onto the as yet unknown.
He brought me a Crunchie. We held our chocolate bars aloft and cheers’d ‘Thank F*@k it’s Friday!’
A half eaten Cadbury’s Crunchie chocolate bar
Image Description: A half-eaten Cadbury’s Crunchie chocolate bar

Day 6 – Monday 23 August

Eight Hidden Movements by Vincent Gambini

Video Description: A demonstration of advanced sleight-of-hand, particularly of the kind that is meant to remain invisible, even when the audience are watching the magician’s hands. This video is made to accompany a journal article by Augusto Corrieri on sleight of hand training, for the July 2016 edition of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training.

Day 7 – Tuesday 24 August


“Disabled people do embodiment better’
This quote from Kate Marsh features on Episode 15 of the podcast series ‘Inventing Embodiment’ hosted by choreographer Jonathan Burrows in conversation with colleagues from the Centre for Dance Research (C-DaRE)at Coventry University.