James Harrington and Marina Liani at the 1 Billion followers Summit in Dubai. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: They met by chance only to create magic for the world.

Meet expats James Harrington and Marina Liani who are wowing audiences from around the world with their mentalism acts through their entertainment show, Mind2Mind.

Mentalism is the art of leveraging a highly developed understanding of human psychology and body language to influence others and provide unique psychological experiences.

Combining magic and mentalist skills, the Mind2Mind duo showcased their talent at the opening ceremony of the 1 Billion Followers Summit held at Emirates Towers and Museum of the Future on Wednesday.

Harrington said he met Liani by chance online in 2017. “There was instant connection. I quickly realised that she was an incredible human being, inside and out,” he noted.

The couple then met face to face at a hotel. “It is interesting for us that our residency theatre show is held weekly at the same hotel,” said Harrington.

As for Liani, she said she had seen Harrington perform magic for the F1 in Abu Dhabi two years before they discovered each other online.

“I just remember how in awe I was watching him charm the audience. Imagine how happy I was to see that we matched online! I messaged him right away.”

“A lot of people ask us how we do what we do. We have heard many theories including hidden earpieces and morse code transmitters. That is why we introduced our $100,000 reward to anyone who can prove we use secret electronics to communicate with each other,” said Harrington.

He added that people have tried to claim the reward from time to time. “The deal is that if we convince them that we absolutely do not use any secret ways of communicating with each other, they have to make a video which we use during our theatre show,” said Harrington.

Liani said: “To us, the message of our show is connection, love and kindness and we hope that message lasts longer than the head scratching and bewilderment that we see when we meet our guests.”

Talking of her unique mentalism act skills, she said that everyone is born with the talent. “It is just that most people don’t realise it. Our show’s main focus after initially demonstrating our skills is to give these abilities to members of our audience, proving that we are indeed all connected.”

Harrington said the duo are excited about what 2024 brings to the table. “We are currently developing a social media series. We cannot say much more but it will be live, fast-paced and anyone can be involved.”

Live show

Mind2Mind are preparing for their first live show. “We will have a standard version and a version that can be viewed in virtual reality enabling everyone to be part of the connection and truly feel like they are taking part in the journey with us,” explained Harrington.

Liani added: “We are very excited to see how the world is going to change in terms of virtual reality and Artificial Intelligence (AI). But as always, our core focus will be on human connection and shared experiences. New technology will support this vision but never replace it.”

A big hit

“When you are one of only a few duos worldwide with the skill set for ‘second-sight’, it is hard not to be profitable. We have both made a comfortable living performing for corporate and private events over the years and we are able to support our families and the animal charities we are affiliated with, both in the UAE and in Ukraine.”

Harrington said the couple learnt a big lesson during the pandemic. “During that time, we did not work for two years. We sold our car, left our place on The Palm. We shared a home with another artist who was also struggling. We essentially had to hold on for dear life until business resumed. We began to focus on things that we are passionate about. We know that if we are passionate about a project, money will come, but that’s just a bonus. That’s why we got into theatre. It was a huge financial risk for us but we did not care, we were just excited about building something special for our audiences and being able to take them on a journey they cannot find anywhere else in the GCC,” said Harrington.