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Deception, Misdirection and Natalie Imbruglia

Wed, 2009-05-20 00:53 -- Ray

There are a couple reason I have for posting about this video. It's a great video and it fooled me.

David Armand is a comedian who has created a character named Johann Lippowitz, an Austrian interpretive dance artist. In particular, he is know for his interpretation of Natalie Imbrulia's Torn.

This is the performance he gave at the Secret Policeman's Ball in 2006.

One of the topics that intrigues me is how easily the mind can be fooled, whether by magic, con tricks or optical illusions . Or how sports gamblers consistently repeat the same mistakes or even how coaches and general managers in professional sports leagues can make decisions based on statistics that measure aspects of performance that do not contribute as much to wins as is believed (before he received national attention for his analysis and predictions for the 2008 U.S. Election Nate Silver was known to stats junkies in the baseball community for his research and analysis in that sport).

So what fooled me when I first watched this video? Until Natalie Imbruglia makes her appearance I thought "Johann Lippowitz" was performing to the original recording. And after realizing that Imbruglia was singing live I wondered how I didn't realize it sooner, I'm usually pretty good at hearing the difference between a live or studio performance. In fact, when I watched the video a second time,it was obvious immediately that the vocal performance was live.

So how did I get fooled? A combination of two factors, the music and backing vocals were from the original recording of the song, so I was expecting that the lead vocal would also be from the original recording. But that alone wouldn't have been enough. The other factor was that "Johann Lippowitz" was distracting me, I had not seen him perform before and I was concentrating on his actions. The result was I didn't hear the clues that Imbruglia was performing live, clues that were obvious once "Lippowitz's" performance was no longer new to me.

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