Interview by Visual Collaborative
August 2020 7 min read
Photo by Matti Weinberg
Matti Weinberg Littman is a British-Israeli mentalist, born and living in Israel. He started to explore the world of magic as a child. Today, Matti performs under his brand – The Gentleman of Mentalism primarily for corporate and private events. He presents feats of psychological influences, tests of intuition, predicting future events, and creating a telepathic connection between strangers. As a feature in our SOURCE interview series, Weinberg shares insights on his approach to work, social dynamics, and talks about digital possibilities to channel his work in society today.
(VC) Outside all your accomplishments and the expansion of your work as a performer, who is Matti Weinberg?
(Matti) Outside of performing, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, watching TV, going to the cinema, and seeing live shows as well. I enjoy listening to music and love to go to the beach. I also like to expand my general knowledge, so I try to find different things to read about and learn, but I mainly search for things related to my line of work. On top of that, I am also a tennis coach and run the local club here in Karmiel, and I try to play as often as I can.
(VC) As a practitioner of Mentalism, what do you find most intriguing about social dynamics?
(Matti) I think what is interesting about social dynamics is that when put together into a similar situation, people generally come together to get the full experience, which has often happened when doing something new. People around us always start to talk about the experience that we are going through. In my shows, I also attempt to create scenarios where people can interact with one another after the show and express themselves and their experience of what they just saw. In fact, in my show, there is one piece where I attempt to create a telepathic connection between two strangers, where one can feel what the other feels in terms of touches on the back, shoulder, knees, head, and arms. It culminates with one of the participants reading the mind of the other [Matti exclaims] In that piece, there is something fundamental in how we interact daily with others. That is, we can get to know one another better by trying to connect emotionally and listen to each other. After this COVID-19 passes us, it will take time for the world to get back to normal in terms of social interaction. Still, I hope that people will come out of this crazy situation in a better state of mind and more willing to help one another and make this world a better place. [Matti exclaims]
(VC) Magic and Magick seem to be two different things of alleged supernatural phenomena, which do you practice?
(Matti) Magic and Magick are two very different things, mainly how each perceives the phenomena that occur. What I do would be considered magic, as my main aspect with what I do and demonstrate is first a deeper connection between myself and my audience and participants. More importantly, what I do is for entertainment purposes only. I enjoy bringing the feeling of amazement, wonder, and mystery to people and sharing those moments with them.
(VC) A perfect world does not exist, but if one did what core values would you make a staple in the community?
(Matti) If a perfect world existed, I think that humility, kindness, manners, and a willingness to assist one another would be essential. I think those values would better a community and make people live in harmony and peace, which I feel are things that nowadays we forget about and take people who are humble and kind for granted.
(VC) Many organizations, like the media, shape society’s perceptions about awareness, what does self-awareness mean to you?
(Matti) Self-awareness, to me, is, first of all, what I can do to better myself, for myself and my close surroundings (girlfriend, family, and friends). When I know what I want to convey to society both generally and during a performance, it is easier to be aware of what I say and do and how I react to what people are saying and doing around me.
I do think though that during the past four months, being in lockdown has given me the push and drive to continue doing what I do, and I have spent a lot of hours working and perfecting my current material and new material
(VC) How has the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic affected your outlook on life as it relates to your work and creative inclined partnerships?
(Matti) The pandemic hasn’t really had an effect on my outlook on life. Even before it broke out, my general outlook was that you only live once, and we need to make the most of our time doing what we love and spending time with who we love because who knows what will happen tomorrow. I do think though that during the past four months, being in lockdown has given me the push and drive to continue doing what I do, and I have spent a lot of hours working and perfecting my current material and new material as well and I cannot wait to get back out there in front of audiences [Matti exclaims].
Photo by Matti Weinberg
(VC) Some mention different historical times as a period they admire for affluence or culture. If you can time-warp to any era to collaborate with its culture, what time would it be?
(Matti) That is a tough question. I take inspiration from many different artists and cultures from different eras. I think there is something to be gained and learned from each cultural time from the past and present. It’s not easy to pinpoint just one. I would time warp back to three different times (I know you asked for one, but it is too difficult) – Harry Houdini‘s time so that would be around 1915, the 1980’s when people like David Copperfield in the United States and around the world and Paul Daniels in the United Kingdom had hit the TV scenes. The third period would probably be the early 2000′ as during that time one Derren Brown was on the rise and it would be amazing to have met him and see him rise to the heights that he has.
(VC) In your quiet or noisy moments, how do you get inspired? What makes you work the way you do. Do you utilize game puzzles or draw on spirituality for inspiration?
(Matti) To get inspired, I like to see and read about the work of others, seeing what successful people in my field have done in the past to get to where they have today is a huge inspiration to draw upon when things look a bit out of shape whether it be creatively or generally. During the past few months, watching and listening to those people and applying some of those things to my work have been very helpful in getting through these times and creating a more improved version of myself.
(VC) Some parts of the creative economy would classify your work as entertainment. Are there any psychological risks in your line work?
(Matti) I don’t see any psychological risks in my work. What I do is purely for entertainment and nothing else.
Photo by Matti Weinberg
(VC) Thanks for sitting down with us. What kind of work can the world expect from Matti within the next few years given the persistent digital reality faced by the world?
(Matti) First of all, thank you for speaking with me and sharing some of my insights. As this time has forced us into using the digital platforms, I have managed to create a show that suits these platforms, so an online live interactive show. It is not the same as performing for live audiences as you don’t have the interaction and connection with the people, but it is still a way of sharing and connecting with them.
I truly hope and believe that soon enough, we will be able to resume our healthy lives and get back to enjoying the things we do – cinema, plays, going out with friends, and for me, getting back to the stage. I have used the time that I have had during the past few months to better my show and material and perfect the stuff that I do and cannot wait to get back out there and share it with you!