Cyber-illusionist Marco Tempest speaks in a full length video to the Innovators@Google series at Google’s New York offices. Marco, whose work we’ve followed before, is unique in that his presentation isn’t just a series of visual tricks, however wondrous. He roots his work in the history of magic and illusion, not only technically but as cultural construct. Then, he’s confident enough in his technique to reveal the (often open source) technologies behind the illusions. For me, that makes the effect no less magical; perhaps as a sometimes-coder, it makes it more so.

Watch in particular for some wonderful doodle projection mapping that may make you crack a smile even on a bad day.

I also like what Marco has to say about his work: “I blend the line between what is incredibly real and what is incredibly not.”

Open source magic?

Augmented reality?


Whatever Marco’s doing, it seems to get at the heart of visualist practice today. And in particular, I find that the global community of visualists – once themselves as keen to keep their secrets as the brotherhood of magicians – increasingly shares the apparatus behind their work. The challenge then: make the magic in your performance, in genuine showmanship, even as the technology becomes more widely-commoditized.

Disclosure: I’ve been a consultant and developer for Marco on Android tools. I hope we get to share some of that software down the road.

By way of review, here’s Marco’s reel: