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Senate House Library

Staging Magic - Experiencing The Impossible


Written by
Rebecca Simpson


On Thursday 14 March 2019, Senate House Library hosted a unique combination of magic show and talk by Dr Gustav Kuhn for the launch of his new book Experiencing the Impossible: The Science of Magic published by MIT Press, as part of the #StagingMagic season. 

Insights into the mysteries of the human mind

Dr Gustav Kuhn, Reader in Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, talked about the psychology behind why we enjoy experiencing what seems clearly impossible and the psychological processes that underpin our experience of magic. Performing traditional and modern magic tricks - involving fire and a good amount of citrus fruit (we definitely got two of our five a day) - as well as talking about the history behind them was just the start. Combining it with video clips of psychological experiments, famous artworks on conjuring and more modern illusions - such as the blue & black / white and gold dress illusion that went viral in 2015 -  it intrigued, entertained and delighted an audience of over one hundred guests at the sold out show. 

We were honoured to receive a free signed copy from Dr Gustav Kuhn that we will add to the Harry Price Library of Magical Literature

Rebecca Simpson

Communications & Engagement, Senate House Library