Inside Syfy’s ‘Magicians’-promoting Hall of Magic

Syfy’s fantasy show The Magicians kicks off its second season tonight, but for the next few days, New York City residents also have a chance to explore a real-world installation tied to the show.

I stopped by the Hall of Magic last week, where each room offered a different type of fantasy-themed experience. Some of them simply provided fun gimmicks, like the ability to take a photo that made it look like you’re levitating. Others were a little more impressive — like a battle room where you can point at different objects and watch them respond to your magical energy, or a classroom where you can engage in a mental contest with your friends to push a ball across a table.

Naturally, it’s actually technology powering these experiences — like the Kinect sensor that can tell where your hands are pointing, or the Muse headbands and magnets used in that ball-pushing mental contest. Eric Fleming of Mash Studio, which created the Hall of Magic, credited tech with allowing his team to “do so much crazy stuff so inexpensively and so quickly,” though he added, “We don’t just do flashy tech for tech’s sake. We never start with tech, we start with the experience we want to create.”

NBCUniversal’s Alexandra Shapiro added that while a Hall of Magic-type installation will only reach a small audience compared to the show (especially since it’s only open until January 29), Syfy sees promotions like this as a way to connect authentically with fans.

‘”If it’s done right, if it’s done authentically, if you pay attention to details … greatness gets rewarded,” Shapiro said. “The fans in turn, they love it back. That reciprocity, that dynamic, that interplay is how fandom is built.”

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