Artists, like magicians, transmute the stuff of everyday life, raw material, into objects of sometimes enormous value, works of art praised in an almost mystical way as more than the sum of their parts.
Like artists, magicians, shamans, hypnotists, and mediums are often paid exorbitant sums of money to perform the simplest of tasks. <in the economies of both magical services and art, value seems to appear from thin air, requiring a certain element of faith on the part of the customer. <the art market is really no different from the market of magical trinkets - one can choose to believe in these acts of transformation, or not.
As an artist, i choose to believe in the power of art and became interested in other systems of belief and transformation, visiting a hypnotist, medium, and a brujo, or Mexican shaman, to explore how these two seemingly disparate yet structurally aligned ways of seeing could interact, asking each of these magical practitioners to make me ¨The Greatest Contemporary Artist in the World.¨ While each professed the ability to make this request happen, it has needless to say not yet transpired, perhaps exposing the impossibility of measuring the ¨greatness¨ of art.
This request also enables us to see the magical economy, seemingly an exotic and independent system, as simply a manifestation of the basic human desire to find the easiest path: just as people take a pill that they hope will be a weight-loss magic bullet or purchase the latest gadget thinking that it will make their lives suddenly more organized, people consult magic practitioners with problems that could be accomplished through their own initiative and industry. But then, paying someone to do the work for you is almost always the most attractive option.