The Magic Lantern Society  

New Light on Old Media  

Welcome to Issue 9 of New Light on Old Media

It seems to me that the fusion of old and new media is growing increasingly more bizarre and I'm happy to say that this month's e-letter celebrates the fact.
Take a look at the main picture. This shows participants in a game invented by the
Lüz Studio of Montreal and staged as part of the city's recent Luminotherepie Festival.  It combines the kind of target game once popular on the fairgrounds with animated projections. You can discover technical details on the Fascinoscope on the festival page. Just scroll down to "Fascinoscope by
Lüz Studio "   This items is one of the more way-out light and light-projection instillations which were recently featured on the streets of Montreal from December thru January and there are various video clips on YouTube showing highlights. This one contains one brief tantilising glimpse of the Fascinoscope in action.

Before we bravely go where few have gone before, let me just remind you that
should you be interested in become a member of the Magic Lantern Society and receive our brand new quarterly journal  called - appropriately -The Magic Lantern you can find out more at the end of this e-letter.  

Mervyn Heard,

The Caketrope


Alexandre Dubosc is a French artist who designs 19th century optical toys using chocolate, nuts, Smarties and icing sugar . Dubosc's spin on the zoetrope - the 'caketrope' - shown above and featured in all its glory HERE - was produced back in 2012. That particular confection was inspired by director Tim Burton's work. Now the artist  has just uploaded a few more recent video examples of his toothsome novelties HERE. There are three videos to watch - an interview with the maestro (this is in French), Alimation (mesmerising) and Food About You (ditto). 


A Haunting new book for the young reader


Irvine Hunt is the author of a recent paperback aimed at the Harry Potter generation, entitled The Ghost Show. This is a work of fiction but based on a real fairground family,the Biddalls, who travelled widely in Cumbria at the turn of the 19th century. It's well researched with a few images of the Biddall's show in the postscript and certainly worth a read at any age.  Available directly from
the author's site.


.....and one for the much older younger reader.

In the 1960s and early 70s childrens’ TV programmes such as Bagpuss, Ivor the Engine and The Clangers were some of the most popular shows on BBC television. The makers used primitive stop-motion film techniques and items which could be found in most homes – cardboard, Meccano and knitting wool . The men behind these shows were Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin, operating from Firmin’s garden shed.  Now there is a book exploring the design and making of these programmes : The Art of Smallfilms, compiled and profusely illustrated by Jonny Trunk.  


 PS: The good news is that The Clangers are about to return to TV screens in new cosmic adventures and employing the original techniques under the still guiding hand of Peter Firmin, now aged 86.  (Sadly Oliver Postgate died in 2014) 
While you’re waiting for The Clangers to return I urge you to treat yourself and nostalgicise with The Art of Smallfilms, available from Amazon


More About the
Magic Lantern Society


If you have an interest in research or performance events involving the magic lantern or other forms of vintage visual media The Magic Lantern Society publishes a regular quarterly journal.  Our members also meet on a regular basis in the UK and intermittently at other locations throughout Europe. Every four years we hold a major international convention.

For further information about the Society visit our website:  

We also have a sister organisation The Magic Lantern Society of the US and Canada who may be found at this website:


Great Exhibitions

Two very different exhibitions are currently running at two of London's leading galleries.


.. at Tate Britain, is an exhibition of very early, very rare and very revealing photographic images which were produced using William Fox Talbot's 'salt print' technique. This was introduced in 1839 and the images in the exhibition, many from the 1840s, are glorious. Salt and Silver runs until 7th June.

The second exhibition is at The Barbican and very much in tune with this month's theme of the bizarre



This features various 'cabinets of curiosity' which have been amassed by prominent artists, including Peter Blake, Damien Hirst and Andy Warhol.  I can't guarantee that you will find any lanternalia or optical oddities there since I haven't yet had time to visit, but the pictures on the     Barbican site seem to remind me very much of home.

Hanne Darboven Collection

It'll all come out in the wash

 Now take a look at this picture...


This may look like a rather battered old lantern slide : but  it's not, it's an image taken in Laundromat-locomotion, a technique created by London based photographer Steve Pippin and inspired by the work of Eadweard Muybridge.  Rinse and spin your way to the artist's site for more.


Philippe Starck's Hotel Fantasmagorique


And before we go...

French designer Philippe Starck has just unveiled designs for a new luxury hotel in the French city of Metz, which he says was inspired by the fantasmagorie. It takes the form of an ultra-modern glass tower 38 metres high with a Gothic castle perched on the top. Building will start in 2016 and it will hopefully be finished in 2018.  What visitors might hope to see when they enter the penthouse castle is very much- in the spirit of the original shows - a mystery.  More here.


New Light on Old Media Issue 9, March 2015
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