Magician hopes science, magic inspire

Staff writer, with CNA

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 - Page 4

Canadian magician Billy Kidd said yesterday she hopes a new TV series, which features her and three other magicians, would inspire Taiwanese audiences with its fusion of science and magic.

Kidd is on a two-day visit to promote the Discovery Channel’s new nine-part series Magic of Science, which uses scientific principles to create illusions that appear to be magic.

“I hope they [the audience] can be inspired by science,” Kidd said.

She said that although magicians and scientists tend to create opposite effects, relearning the basic science behind why things work the way they do has “opened new doors” for her as a magician.

As part of the promotion for the TV show, Kidd is performing in a street in Taipei today and meeting with about 200 fans to share her experiences.

Kidd, 30, said she draws inspiration for her tricks from classical magicians, as well as scientists, but she warned that science-based tricks can be dangerous, as they often involve the use of chemicals and can be affected by numerous factors, such as the temperature.

By contrast, conventional magic tricks are always under the control of magicians, Kidd added.

The magician admitted she was “horrible” at science when she was at school, but now she is much more interested in the subject.

“If my teacher was a magician, I think it would have been a way better experience,” she said with a smile. “I think I’d remember stuff. Remember when he turned that water into ice within seconds?”

On the question of what it is like to work in a male-dominated profession, Kidd said there are advantages and disadvantages.

One advantage is that she is forced to develop more creative routines, Kidd said.

For example, she once scripted lines for a straitjacket escape that described her unique relationship with the jacket as a woman.

“No one can steal it from me unless they are a woman,” Kidd said.

On the downside, she said, the smaller size of her hands prevents her from doing certain tricks that men can do.

She also mentioned other challenges, such as difficulty finding clothes with good pockets and the fact that women’s garments usually button up the opposite side to men’s.

The first two episodes of Magic of Science were broadcast on the Discovery Channel yesterday.