Thomas Webb is the artist who wants to reshape the Internet | Catch My Job


Webb went beyond card tricks and began mixing his two passions: technology and magic. He invented mind-fake tricks that encouraged audiences to question their relationship with social media, big technology and data privacy. Most notably, under Tom London, he impressed the judges with a trick America has talent in 2017 (the clip has over six million views on YouTube). Then, two years later, he did something a wizard shouldn’t do: he told everyone how he did it. “I thought it was more interesting to tell the audience and say, ‘If I can trick you with a calculator in my living room, what can these tech companies do?'” he explains.

He was kicked out of the Magic Circle, but not all of it left. In Jungian analytical psychology, the “magician” is one of the 12 famous archetypes of the Swiss psychoanalyst. Described as the knower and creator of the universe, the magician is synonymous with science, technology and wisdom. The magician-to-technician pipeline is a well-trodden trope. The founding father of modern magic, Jean-Eugene Robert-Houdin, for example, was famous for using electromagnetism in his magic tricks (even before the lightbulb was invented), and more recently, Facebook whistleblower Christopher Wylie worked as a magician while working. “One of the main purposes of a magician on the platform is to cheat, so of course Chris will see to it that the platform is massively cheating its users in a way that others can’t,” Webb said.

As we’re leaving the restaurant, every staff member (with whom Webb is on a first-name basis) stops him to catch up on the latest gossip, from the recent crypto crash to his trip to the Paris Ethereum conference. “I come here at least twice a week,” he explains. He manages a global team of 40 people who are helping him develop his games at hyper-speed. Her boring screen time means she never leaves the complex.

Thomas Alexander

We return to Webb’s penthouse in the hotel’s residential quarters. It looks like the new Balenciaga flagship store on Bond Street – both the stark, concrete interior design and the endless Balenciaga runway pieces in its walk-in wardrobe. Tonight she’s wearing a Rick Owens black t-shirt with Balenciaga leather trousers and studded platform Crocs. Not exactly what you’d expect from a video game developer.

Considering his aesthetic, his influence comes from an unlikely source. “I was really inspired by the Ozwald Boateng documentary. He would wear these emerald-green suits that were incredibly bold and had such an impact on Savile Row,” he says, turning on the digital infinity mirror in his expansive living room. It’s an installation she’s become famous for – she was commissioned by Warner Records to create one for her friend Dua Lipa to celebrate her album. Future nostalgia Going platinum last year. “As a magician I had to perform at billionaires’ yacht parties where I had to immediately command a room full of powerful people. The easiest way to do that was to wear a great suit,” he continued. For him, only the best silhouette, cut and material. There’s a place: “Balenciaga kills it in this regard,” he adds.

The entire living room is lined with floor-to-ceiling glass windows that look out over London’s endless skyline. “I think life is more programmed than a game,” Webb says, looking down at the thousands of twinkling lights below us. They look almost simulated. “We go to school, we get a job, we get married, maybe we have a kid,” he continued. “In my virtual world, I want people to create or create what they want.”

Production credit
Photograph by Thomas Alexander
Styling by That’s ok
Grooming by Paul Donovan


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