The Magic Lantern Society  

New Light on Old Media  

Welcome to Issue 18 of New Light on Old Media
Compliments of the season and welcome to this special Christmassy edition of "New Light".
(See its in red and green)
My excuse for featuring the seemingly gratuitous image shown above is that it represents maybe the ultimate in projection mapping : animated tattoos or 'body giffing'.
Follow this link for more.

For more info on how to join the Magic Lantern Society and what we have to offer, see below.


Mervyn Heard, Editor

Kinokulturhaus: Vienna


'Frames' an instillation by Christof Wiesinger

On 6 October Vienna saw the opening of a new venue dedicated to both Austrian and International film. The initial exhibition at the Kinokulturhaus is Kinomagie featuring ancient visual media from the shadow shows thru the magic lantern to early film alongside reflective instillations from contemporary artists.  During October/November the venue held a retrospective on the work of German filmmaker and collector Werner Nekes. But, the main exhibition and various events continue until 30 March 2016.  The best English language based site offering details and including some excellent photos of the old and new work is this one:.
www. Wien 

Here is one of my favourite ancient artefacts from the exhibition - the shadow of Diana etched on horn, illuminated by candlelight


Undercover : A Festival of Flipbooks


Earlier this year Darlington Public Library, in the North of England, commissioned a number of people to create flipbook animations within existing books. In October and during November they placed the books on shelves in the library for people to find. The only criteria for each artist was that the imagery should have some connection with the subject matter. The exhibition ended on 30 November, but you can see a record of the event with some animation sequences here.  This is the second Flipbook Festival they've organised and it seems that the notion is catching on. The exhibition is about to transfer to the States where it will be hosted by a library in Maine.



Here's a neat little gift for the larger Christmas stocking.  Paper Dandy's Horrorgami: 20 Gruesome Scenes to Cut and Fold, has been created by Marc Hagan-Guirey an you can find it for sale here on Amazon
Based on the ancient Japanese art of kirigami, all you need is a scalpel, cutting mat and a ruler which - guess what - you can also buy through Amazon at a special packaged rate. A great way of keeping dad quiet on Christmas day when the rest of the family  want to watch Downton Abbey  and not have to listen to his smart commentary. There is more on Marc's paper art techniques to be found on the Paper Dandy site.


Show of Shows


I may be wrong - (and my wife says I usually am )-  but I assume that if you are interested in magic lantern shows you're probably interested in all manner of other weird and wonderful entertainments from years gone by. Which is why this new film may float your boat.  The Show of Shows : 100 Years of Vaudeville, Circus and Carnivals has been produced by Saga Films in collaboration with the National Fairground Archive in Sheffield, and draws on an amazing collection of rarely seen 19th and early 20th century film footage.  The film goes on general release in the UK from 4 December. A full list of participating cinemas can be found on the Show of Shows site.  Transfer to the site's Screenings page and you can also pre-order the DVD which is due for release on 8 February 2016.

Carnival of Shadows


The American cinematographer (and a long-time member of the ML Society) Ernie Gehr is best known for his experimental, minimalist style of film-making. Many of his films explore the flow of urban life.

His new large-scale, multiscreen video instillation, Carnival of Shadows, received its premiere at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City on 21 November and is Gehr's personal reflection on early animation and genre cinema.  Described as "a playful exercise in moving-image graphics" it takes as its source material an early 20th century shadowgraph toy offering sequential silhouette drawings passing before a stroboscopic screen. This video adaptation transforms five original paper subjects produced in France c. 1900-05.  Original paper prints and photographs can also be seen as part of the exhibition. Follow this link to the MoMA site for more on the exhibition and up and coming special events.
The exhibition is there until 30 April 2016.


How the Other Half Live(d)


 '5 cents a place': Jacob Riis

Back in the late 1880s Jacob Riis, the American photo-journalist and pioneer of flash photography, apparently caused the middleclass audiences who attended his lantern lectures to weep and faint with his unromantic depictions of the terrible living conditions being endured by the immigrant and other communities in the rookeries of New York City.
Now Terry Borton of the American Magic Lantern Theatre has recreated, in part, the Riis lantern lecture delivered in Washington DC in 1891, to coincide with an exhibition of the work of Riis and his contemporaries.
Jacob A Riis: Revealing New York's Other Half runs at the Museum of New York until 20 March 2016.
You can experience Terry's lecture
here on youtube 


A Very Merry Christmas


This image comes from a set of slides telling the story of the History of Christmas and date from c. 1910. The original illustrations on which the slides were based appeared (uncoloured) in the Illustrated London News. At first glance this example looks like a fairly traditional scene, until you realise that the angel on the right is very up to date and , it would seem, playing the ukulele.

Oh go on, let's have another picture from the same set, after all it's Christmas!



 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 The Magic Lantern Society publishes a regular quarterly printed journal.  Members also meet on a regular basis in the UK and at other locations throughout Europe. Every four years we hold a major international convention in the UK.

For further information about the Society and back issues of this e-letter go to  

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




New Light on Old Media Issue 18, December 2015
Copyright © 2015 The Magic Lantern Society, All rights reserved.

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