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Still from _The Attention_ by Jeanette Andrews. Image courtesy of Derrick Belcham. .jpg

Inspired by the recently declassified "CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception," this installation, sculptural book (“The Manual”) and video work (“The Attention”)  transport the viewer to a dual layer reality where all is not what it seems. In the gallery, visitors flip through a magic book that miraculously transforms into a spycraft technical manual before one's eyes. The concepts therein are performed in the abstract short film by the artist as she oscillates between practicing and performing intricate sleight-of-hand framed as a traditional magician, and then into a CIA asset utilizing the same gestures in the real world, yet for nefarious ends. Museum staff will wear shoelaces created by Andrews, containing parts of a message in Morse code. Not only do they contain a secret message but will also be tied in a certain pattern as a ‘recognition symbol’ - a field technique to share messages at a distance. 


The parallel worlds of magic and espionage rely on the learning of secret information, rehearsal and split-second timing to execute unseen gestures which are of ultimate importance, yet never to be seen and only perceived by their effects. The work highlights the importance of careful observation and focused attention. In  “magi.cia.n,” objects and techniques occupy the same space and time, yet hold a hidden world of secrets. Layers of worlds exist…only able to be viewed through the technical lens of one’s abilities, never to be unseen.  Andrews will present an artist talk and performance on November 16, 2023, where she will present a live performance of the magic depicted in “The Attention” and outline the history and making of the work. 


Commissioned by the Boca Raton Museum for the forthcoming exhibition “Smoke and Mirrors: Magical Thinking in Contemporary Art”

(On view Wednesday, November 15, 2023 - May 13, 2024)

On the work
Stills from "The Attention"
Installation Images 
boca Raton Museum of art
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