The Magic Lantern Society

New Light on Old Media

Welcome to Issue 33 of New Light on Old Media


Teamlab are a Japanese company specialising in interactive projection. Their new work Transcending Boundaries is running at the Pace Gallery in London's Burlington Gardens until 11 March 2017. This follow up to last year's inaugural exhibition by the resident Teamlab aims to transcend physical and conceptual boundaries allowing the viewer personal interaction with individual projections.  In one room, using your own body as a canvas, flowers grow, decay and scatter in direct response to the viewer’s movements.  Go here to this introductory page and then press the 'More Information' link.  Visit here for other examples of the company's work.


Mervyn Heard : Editor

 Birmingham Musings

The 10th International Magic Lantern Society Convention takes place in Birmingham over the weekend of the 28-30 April.  Most of the international exhibitions and performances are for delegates only. But this time, in a break with tradition, there will also be a public show at the Crescent Theatre in Birmingham city centre on Friday 28.  Magic and the Muse is a collaboration between the musicians Richard Navarro, Nicholas Thurston, Miriam Gould and lanternists Jeremy Brooker and Mervyn Heard. This is a unique performance featuring a collection of slides originally used in variety theatres by the parents of the screen actor Peter Sellers. These combine with other unusual British and American  'pose slides' and effects from the 1910s to 1930s and similar visual surprises. If you are not a delegate but would like to see the show this link will take you directly to the Crescent Theatre booking site.
Be warned that there is limited availability.


Moulding History 


Madame Tussaud : A Legend in Wax  is a documentary from award winning French film maker, Nina Barbier. It premiered on BBC4 on 23 February, which means its now available on iPlayer.  If you can't access BBC iPlayer you can view it here instead  via Amazon Curiosity Steam (7 day free trial available).  There is also a slightly different French language version here on YouTube. 

Marie Tussaud was encouraged to come to London in 1802 by the phantasmagoria showman, Paul de Philipsthal. This programme is based on her own, somewhat 'alternative fact'-based memoirs and includes a strange directorial interpretation of Philipsthal's phantasmagoria/lantern work based on some chats with a so-called expert from Bath. Nothing like Philipsthal's show to be seen here, or M Charles' ventriloquism act, but the film looks very stylish so you might just care to bite your lip and go with it. 
Incidentally there is a very good article on the background to the programme here.


The Emergence of Pre-Cinema

This new book by Alberto Gabriele of the University of Tel Aviv explores the ways in which advances in visual technology have informed and influenced the literary imagination, redefining the "mimesis". (I had to look that word up). Take a 'Look Inside' on the book's Amazon page .
Priced at £55.


More About the

Magic Lantern Society

If you have an interest in research or performance involving the magic lantern or other forms of vintage visual media  you might want to consider joining The Magic Lantern Society. We publish a regular quarterly printed journal and meet on a regular basis in the UK and other parts of Europe.
For further information and back issues of this e-letter go to  

Our sister organisation is The Magic Lantern Society of the US and Canada :

e-Luminating Cambridge

Ross Ashton and Karen Monid from The Projection Studio produced a truly inspiring piece of work on the front of the Senate House for the recent e-Luminate Festival in Cambridge.  SPIRITUS : Light and Dark not only looked stunning but was intended as a fascinating tribute to a remarkable medieval genius Robert Grosseteste (1173-1253) pioneering philosopher, scientist and Bishop of Lincoln who wrote a number of works on optics and other natural phenomenon.  You can see an interview with Karen Monid here on the local BBC TV Look East programme.  And for more images of the event go to this site.  You can find information on Grosseteste's own early achievements here.


Lichtbende : Seven Nights

This new show from the ever-inventive Dutch company Lichtbende took place in the Orgelpark, Amsterdam on 26 and 27 January  and featured live organ music with projections from 12 single lanterns.  You can see some images from the production plus details on their site here in the original Dutch, in English and other language versions.
More specifically I'd like to draw your attention to a well written and very detailed eye-witness report by a member of the audience.  This appeared in the Wales Arts Review on 3 February. 
You can read it here

Window Wanderland

Here is a terrific idea which appears to have originated in Bristol  in the UK but has recently been adopted in a number of towns and cities across Britain.  Window Wanderland takes place over a few nights in streets of terraced houses. Each house creates an illuminated display in their front window. It can be of just about anything you like from your childrens' home-produced artwork to a collection of stuffed toys for other neighbours to marvel at or smile at. Unsurprisingly perhaps, since this happens at night, many of the more creative ideas feature backlit silhouettes and occasional adventures in projection.  One of the most recent and well documented events took place in Bishopston, a suburb of Bristol.  You can watch a lively introductory film, view images and contemplate how you might organise your own event here on the project site. 
I'm not sure this is simply a British phenomenon. If you know of similar schemes elsewhere in the world please let me know.


Bish Bash Bosch


Last year marked the 500th anniversary of the death of Dutch artist Hieronymus Bosch. To mark this event Studio Smack, best known for their music videos reimagined one of Bosch's most famous nightmarish works The Garden of Earthly Delights for an exhibition at the MOTI Museum of the Image  ( renamed from Jan 1 the Stedelijk Museum) in Breda.  The animated elements are cyclical, resembling a series of interconnected zoetrope sequences. The exhibition is over, but the company hopes it might pop up again in public soon.  Meanwhile their film and lots more about the project can be seen here on Vimeo.  Other creations appears on Vimeo here.


New Light on Old Media Issue 33, March 2017
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