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Warwick to host 18th Century magic conjured by world class illusionist

Mariano 2The University of Warwick is hosting a series of free public events that will explore themes of deception, belief, and enchantment. The series, Mesmerized! re-stages 18th-century demonstrations in mind bending physics, intertwined with an analysis of rhetorical and mechanical techniques, offering a “behind the curtains” look into the illusionists tool box.

Among talking skulls and magic lanterns, X-ray glasses and rising cards, the audience will take part in a learned and amazing journey into the dark side of Enlightenment. The free flagship event, Mesmerized! will take place in the Warwick Arts Centre Studio, Friday 5 May 2017, 19:45 - 21:30 and is open to all.

Mesmerized! Has been organised by Dr Fabio Camilletti whose research into Western cultural traditions and supernatural fiction in nineteenth-century literature and culture has been the catalyst for these events, he said,

“My latest research focusses on the relationship between literature, wonder, and the uncanny. This lecture-show brings back to life the scientists and magicians of the 18th century through their objects, their stories, and their tricks, focusing on the way their shadow still haunts contemporary ideas today.”

wonder_5may.jpgThe events will be presented by illusionist and magician Mariano Tomatis alongside a host of Warwick academics from a range of disciplines. Mesmerized! will delve into discussions on “post-truth” encouraging discussion on the the nature of reality, opposed to illusion, enchantment, and belief: when witnessing such amazing phenomena, can we still trace a line between fact and fiction?

Mariano said, “Even in its very name, the cultural project of the Enlightenment is often defined through references to the semantic sphere of light: “illuminer”, “rayonner”, “éclairer”. In spite of this intellectual, cultural, and even political agenda, 18th-century Europe is also the golden age of charlatans, magicians, and necromancers of various kinds. As a performing magician and historian, I love the idea of exploring the dark side of Enlightenment and offering visitors to my shows a learned and amazing journey into the weirdest aspect of that century!”

The Mesmerized! Series of events runs from 5 to 12 May 2017 at a variety of locations around campus and will bring together students, researchers and the public providing opportunities for new experiences and discussion.

Friday 5 May 2017 19:45 - 21:30

Arts Centre Studio



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Monday 8 May 2017 11:00 - 16:00

The Library – Teaching Grid


Batteries of Enchantment

Books, Magic, and Science in the Age of Revolutions

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Tuesday 9 May 2017 12:00 - 15:00

Helen Martin Studio


Matinée mesmerique

Theatrical Laboratory on the Power of Distraction

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Wednesday 10 May 2017

14:00 - 19:00

The Oculus: OCO.04


The Age of (Dis)Belief

Dynamics of Illusions, Credulity, and Credibility

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Thursday 11 May

17:00 - 18:30

The Oculus: OCO.05


Leamington and Warwick Magic Society Show

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Friday 12 May

17:00 - 20:00

Wolfson Research Exchange


Magical Café

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The events are free to attend, but registration on the Mesmerized! website is essential:

Or email Dr Fabio Camilletti:


Alex Buxton
Media Relations Manager
Tel: 02476 150423
Mob: 07876 218166

Related article:

Dr Fabio Camilletti describes phantasmagoria in BBC History Online