eyes firmly fixed on the non-existent coin in its journey upwards, then
pretend to follow its flight downwards again'
mystery depends on an old method of concealment which should be familiar
to all experienced coin workers'
pass enables the performer to completely vanish a coin from the hand into
which it was unmistakenly placed moments before'
Allen's site-specific installation Feint at the Deutsche Bank's
New York headquarters addresses the unregulated flow of capital in such spaces
and the questionable competencies through which financiers operate. Whilst
the theatrical conjuror is often used in popular cartoons to satirize
financial misdemeanor, Allen draws here on the specific technical language
and props used by coin magicians to put centre stage the unseen daily performances
that take place in this pertinent location. Illuminated lenticular photographs
show half-dollar coins appearing and vanishing alongside short texts – excerpts from coin magic manuals – printed on long copper strips.
there can be said to be a hard currency of wonderment, then the Kennedy
half dollar is surely its global standard. Probably the most manipulated
coin in existence, it is favored by coin magicians the world over for
its size, weight, and purchase, all key features if a coin is to dance
in the hand. Manhandled, therefore, like no other coin, the Kennedy half
has also undergone numerous re-mintings at the fingertips of skilled craftsmen.
One can pay real dollars in magic shops to obtain Kennedy halves that
fold in two, double-headed or double-eagled version, shell halves, magnetic
halves, halves in which the head itself drops out. It is, to coin a phrase,
a loose changling.
Jonathan Allen 1998