Inspired by studies with a private investigator, a magician, and a ninja, the Center for Tactical Magic formed in 2000 as an organization dedicated to the coalescence of art, technology, magic, and positive social change. Working across barriers of art, design, architecture, and community service, the CTM’s collaborations have also involved hypnotists, locksmiths, aquatic biologists, members of the Black Panther Party, radical ecologists, and the American Red Cross to name a few. Frequently infiltrating multiple spheres of influence, the Center for Tactical Magic continues to mix elements of subculture, social politics, and revelry into a powerful potion.
This commitment to exploring disparate arts has led to the creation of numerous projects designed to analyze existing forces and activate latent energies. In a fusion of magic and surveillance equipment, the Smoky Hill River Outpost explored the relationship between security, information, and the mystification of technology. An amalgam of playhouse, prison, and pyramid, the multiple-level activity center combined high-tech surveillance (pinhole cameras, police scanners, electronic bugging units, and others) with more mysterious means of information acquisition (a crystal ball, a ouija board, astrology and more). In another application of surveillance devices, the Cricket-Activated Defense System (CADS) actively addresses illegal logging in California’s threatened redwood forests. Recombining trickle-down consumer technologies from the military-industrial complex, CADS targets the complex relationships between social, political, and natural ecosystems.
In 2005, the Center for Tactical Magic launched the Tactical Ice Cream Unit, an interventionist command center that has been touring towns, cities, and universities across North America. In facilitating a sharing of resources, information, and ice cream, the T.I.C.U. highlights systems of nomadism, cultural production, activism, and exchange. And most recently, the Center for Tactical Magic has completed Witches’ Cradles – a new body of work that draws on medieval witch hunts, Houdini’s escapes, and sensory deprivation to assist participants in finding an altered state (both mental and political). Guided by a principle of “responsible citizenship through creative action,” each of the aforementioned projects has been developed through an investigation of arcane relationships. Embracing magical thinking and unconventional uses of technology, the Center for Tactical Magic continues to develop new forms of creative engagement. For more info: www.tacticalmagic.org