Magic(k) Wands

From Spiral Sticks to Remote Controls


Magic(k) Wands is a display of the most encompassing symbol of magic: the wand. Like so many useful technologies over the last few thousand years, wands have gone through changes, becoming more and more differentiated, designed, and specialized. In many cases they are so removed from their origins that one easily chooses to forget their roots. Today, UV sanitizers, security wands, cosmetics, remote controls, "personal massagers" barcode scanners, “magic markers” join the traditional tools of ritual and entertainment to conjure the magic of our daily lives. And while marketing researchers will tell the consumer to be sure to use the right wand for the right job, most witches, wizards, and magicians insist that its not the wand but the person holding it who contains the magic(k).

Magic(k) Wands was first displayed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2008 where they were exhibited in relation to LACMA's own collection of anthropological oddities and contemporary art. Their subversive (although permitted) placement carved out a discursive space for visitors to recalibrate their preconceptions of exotic cultural artifacts, and come away with an enhanced understanding of magic(k)-in-the-everyday.

For more detail images and individual wand descriptions, click here.

For our Applied MagicK) column on wands, click here.

Magic(k) Wands on Display at LACMA:

wands at LACMA