Index // People Projects Recent Publications Events & Symposia
Collodion positive on glass, for Schijnvis / Showfish / Poisson Brillant (2016) © Sarah Vanagt
workshop THE MAGIC LANTERN TODAY: Creative Re-Use of Cultural Heritage
EVENTS international workshop // Intermedial Poetics



Curating the lantern  


"Revisiting Vrielynck" – Edwin Carels (KASK / School of Arts HoGent)


In 2003, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp (M HKA) acquired ‘custody’ of the Robert Vrielynck collection, the private collection of a notary from Bruges. The collection illustrates the development of film and projection equipment, comprising all types of technologies including the magic lantern and the camera obscura. As part of my research into media archaeology, I invited three visual artists to do an intervention in the collection, which led to the curation of three large-scale exhibitions. These not only opened up the collection to a public in each  time a very adventurous way, they also established a stimulating dialogue between audio-visual artefacts and contemporary art.


"The world according to Van Hal. Exhibiting local collections of lantern slides in the City Museum of Turnhout" – Bart Sas (City archive, Turnhout)


In 2013 the City Archives and Museums Turnhout and the Holy Sepulchre School organised an exhibition of 2 collections of lantern slides. One was made by a local priest and stored in the City Archives since 1976, the other was found on the attic of the school. The lecture focuses on the preparation of these collections and their presentation in the museum.


Lantern dramaturgies


Liberating the Lantern. The Magic Lantern Show in the 21st century – Mervyn Heard (lantern artist and scholar)


The Magic Lantern is a simple but potentially versatile instrument. Too often demonstrations and performances with the lantern are designed to convey the unity of artefacts and the lantern's traditional employment and not the anomalies which point to its more ingenious application.  Using both historical examples and personal experiences Dr Mervyn Heard explores the nature of the lantern in performance and the difficulty in defining a 'magic lantern show' for a 21st century audience.



illuminago | media archaeology & performance – Karin Bienek (lanternist) and Ludwig Vogl-Bienek (lanternist, Universität Trier)


The illuminago ensemble has presented magic lantern performances in many European countries and in the US and Canada since 1986. The experimental re-enactments and creative re-uses of magic lanterns and slides involve musicians, actors and other performers. This talk will canvass different approaches to lantern dramaturgies: the first example is about staging one work of the historical art of projection in one programme – such as Wagnerian Operas, then we talk about telling the history of the screen as live performance and the final examples are about presenting lantern slides from the 20th century that were used to show the First World War and to document „The Expulsion of the Armenian People into the Desert“.


Schijnvis / Showfish / Poisson brillant : Archaeology of the Projection Microscope” – Sarah Vanagt (video artist) & Nele Wynants (ULB–UAntwerp)


The projection microscope is a particular type of magic lantern, developed for showing enlarged images of microscopic subjects. This historical lantern inspired video artist Sarah Vanagt for an exhibition at M HKA (October 27 - November 13, 2016). For Schijnvis / Showfish / Poisson brillant Vanagt revisits the history of the microscopes for a new installation and lantern movie. She thus offers a contemporary perspective on microscopy, science and spectacle. In this talk Vanagt and Wynants will discuss this fascination with the history of optics and early media and how this artistic re-discovery of the projection microscope today can function as a model for a theory and practice between science and art.


Historical and future case studies


“Re-use of the lantern in the past” – Sabine Lenk (UAntwerp)


The act to use something a second time has a long tradition, which goes back to Antiquity. The idea sounds almost like invented by environmentalists: why throw something away if you can make use of it again. Nevertheless, this simple action can have several meanings, therefore the word "re-use“ is part of an important semantic field. Some examples from the past will show the wide rage of connotations and may contribute to a better understanding of the term's significance.


“Making maps speak and thinking geographically: Halford Mackinder's visual and verbal knowledge-making practices for less expert audiences c.1885-1914” – Emily Hayes (University of Exeter)


Synthesizing scholarship from the burgeoning field of lantern studies with historical geography, this paper will examine the life-long championing of the magic lantern by the first Reader in the ‘new’ geography at Oxford, Halford Mackinder (1861-1947). This paper will examine the formative influence of notionally ‘popular’ scientific lantern presentations on the geographical imagination and teaching practices of Mackinder. It will then map the visual and verbal knowledge-making practices and lantern performances of Mackinder to a diverse demographic and age range of students of geography across the period c. 1885-1914, including Oxford University Extension lectures to working class audiences, Royal Geographical Society audiences, school and higher education level students of geography.


Re-using and implementing optical toys: synthesis of movement and contemporary phenakistoscopes and zoetropes” – Daniel Pitarch Fernández (University of Girona)


This presentation will show different contemporary examples of reusing and implementing XIXth century's optical toys related to the synthesis of movement (phenakistoscopes and zoetropes). These examples show not only a contemporary attraction to this devices (as an interactive media, for instance) but also helps to understand better the possibilities of the original technology (and therefore its value and interest). This case study could be used as a comparison for exploring contemporary uses of the magic lantern


“Spreading Magic Lantern knowledge through workshops for children” – Anna Carpena Torrens (Cinema Museum Girona)


For eighteen years the Girona Cinema Museum has been performing Magic Lantern workshops for children aged 8 to 12. This allows them to discover the artistic, technological and social importance of magic lantern shows. We will explain the origin of the workshop and its evolution, its demand, children and teachers opinions and we’ll summarize conclusions and experiences after years of doing this educational proposal.


“Lanterns in Film Production” – Emjay Rechsteiner (film producer and historian) 


From his own practice as a producer and historian, Emjay Rechsteiner will demonstrate how he seeks to add an impression of authenticity by adding archival footage to fiction.  Can magic lanterns be deployed to the same effect? If so: what infrastructure is required to facilitate the use of lanterns in films?


Taxonomy and Cataloguing


“A study to develop a classification of magic lanterns and its accessories" – Patrice Guérin (collector and historian of the art of light projections)


Magic lantern slides and other images on glass plates destined to be projected on a screen can't be studied exhaustively without examining the apparatus that is used for their projection. There is a reciprocal influence, as there is an interaction between what is projected and how it is projected. In my lecture I will first develop the three elements that are necessary for this kind of projections: an image, a light and an optical system, the latter two being components of the magic lantern. Then I will describe the parallel evolution of slides, lanterns and light sources from the 18th century to the 1950s and present a taxonomy of its different forms. Last, but not least I would like to talk briefly about an example of  re-use currently on exhibition at the Musée National de l'Education (Rouen) in which slides, projectors and light sources are intimately interwoven: ten interactive displays show images in their historical context.


"A vocabulary for magic lantern slides depending on their discursive genre" – Carmen López & Francisco Javier Frutos (Universidad de Salamanca)


Based on the use of content analysis as a method for the taxonomic organization of magic lantern slides, our work propose a controlled vocabulary for magic lantern slides depending on their discursive genre. The standardized vocabulary to define and classify the genres of magic lantern slides applicable in 'Type of Slide Subject' (Lucerna’s 'search for slide sets') brings together 29 terms and subterms. The terms have been defined from the concurrence of all the variables used in the codebook of the content analysis empirical study. From this vocabulary, we develop a mobile application (app) to facilitate the creative reuse of the magic lantern slides of the Museu del Cinema-Tomàs Mallol Collecció in the context of a temporary exhibition about this cultural heritage, which it is scheduled to open at the Museu in 2017.

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