Years ago, I thought deeply about magical modes of transportation. I considered trying to build a hovercraft so I could travel to nearby locations in a mysterious way. After many complications, it dawned on me that a simple skateboard is magical. It was Tony Hawk himself that started skating because he saw guys flying out of empty swimming pools and thought to himself, "I want to do that, I want to fly." So I put a carpet over my skateboard and the flying carpet was born.
The way Gandalf appears in this clip (at 1:01 minutes) is one of my all-time favorite character appearances. It’s an animation - they could have just had him materialize out of thin air - but instead, as the smoke signals fade into the background, Gandalf dashes out from behind a tree, which adds a sense of authenticity to his magic. It got me thinking that nothing really appears - in real life, it is all about the way that something comes into view.
Think about a magician using sleight of hand to produce a coin. If the coin is slowly pushed into view it seems magical, especially if we assumed the hand was empty. No one would assume Gandalf would wait all day behind a tree to create magic for Bilbo, but he could have been, just to make that magical greeting. Consider childbirth - you didn’t just appear in this world in a poof! Every day you see different people, and at some point they appear to you, either from behind a door, wall, horizon, etc. They are sliding into your frame of vision.
If a little smoke appeared before someone walked in, then you’d have a magical appearance. It's all about the style and expectation. It does get complicated, though. When you deal with dreams and computers, things seem like they can just materialize out of thin air, but in our reality, does anything actually just appear?
Sadako Sasaki was a Japanese girl who had developed leukemia due to the atomic bomb dropped on Japan in World War II. In the hospital she folded 1,000 cranes, wishing that she would live. Unfortunately Sadako passed away, but she has not been forgotten. She has inspired peace all around the world – in a way, tragically, she did get her wish because her story will live forever. In honor of Sadako, I folded 1,000 cranes to give to everyone. The event was called Neighborhood Nights at the Gardner Museum. After completing the cranes, the book I ordered about Sadako arrived in the mail. I opened the book and dropped it on the ground and began to shake. In Japan, August 6th is Peace Day and people from all over the world send cranes that are placed on Sadako’s grave. August 6th just happened to be date of the performance. What are the odds? A very magical moment for me. As the legend goes, one who folds 1,000 cranes gets a wish. In honor of Sadako, I wished for peace on Earth.