The Magic Lantern Society  

New Light on Old Media  

Welcome to Issue 14 of New Light on Old Media

This is Russian artist Maria Rud creating a spontaneous art work, which is being simultaneously projected onto a building and further manipulated in real time. In August she wil be presenting her new performance piece at the Edinburgh Festival  with projection artists Ross Ashton and percussionist Evelyn Glennie. For more see "AniMotion" below.

Fine art, music, 'theatre' and aspects of early film in this month's one-page wonder.

If you would like to join the motley band of sisters and brothers who identify themselves as Magic Lantern Society members you will also find the usual information on how to join the Society at the bottom of the page.


Mervyn Heard, Editor


Unlike other forms of projection mapping onto buildings Maria Rud's artworks are exhibited as they are being created by the artist . The technique was developed with the help of award-winning projection artist Ross Ashton who runs The Projection Studio in London and recently joined the ML Society. Their first work Dark Matter was designed for the Cambridge University Institute of Astronomy building and shown back in September 2013. 
There are various filmed examples of later AniMotion projects featured on
Maria's site . Her next, and what promises to be one of her most prestigious events, will feature as part of the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival from 14th-29th August, and is again a collaboration with Ross Ashton, together with an improvised musical accompaniment from the acclaimed international percussionist Evelyn Glennie. The venue is the Quad George Heriot's School and it runs from 14th to 29th August. 


 For more on Ross Ashton's past and future projection projects visit
The Projection Studio


Joseph Cornell's Shadow Boxes


The Royal Academy in London currently has an exhibition by the American artist Joseph Cornell (1903-1972). Cornell was an exponent of 'assemblage', employing old photographs, movie ephemera and other 'found items', to create what are variously termed 'memory boxes', 'poetic theatres' or 'shadow boxes' . Cornell was also a prolific experimental film maker.   This link will take you to the     
Royal Academy site.  Other fascinating accounts of his life and weird obsessions with film actresses and all forms of popular entertainment from ballet to conjuring tricks can be traced elsewhere on the net. This appeared in  The New Yorker  back in 2003 which you might enjoy.  For a brief overview of his life go here.

The RA exhibition runs until 27 September and if you can't make it, there is a softback catalogue "Wanderlust" available at just £20. Go to the RA shop.


Darkness and Light

Just a quick mention of another exhibition which is now running at The John Rylands Library in Manchester. 
Exploring the Gothic is chiefly focussed on Gothic literature and architecture, although phantasmagores may care to check out the jolly You Tube promotional movie here.


The First Film


 The First Film is a new documentary feature film from director David Wilkinson which delves deep into the intriguing tale of Louis Le Prince of Leeds, who may or may not have invented the movies in 1888. The story maintains that he did so ahead of Edison and several other contenders, and then mysteriously vanished on a trip to Paris.  Was this foul play? Did he really create the first moving pictures?
Wilkinson explores all avenues with the aid of a number of distinguished historians. You can draw your own conclusions. The First Film received its premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festical at the end of June and is now on general release.  There is a very good illustrated article on the
BBC Arts and Entertainment site, together with the few frames of animated footage taken with Le Prince's original camera.


Sky News


A still from a recent experiment in moving image cloud-projection using a powerful projector in a Cessna 172 light aeroplane circling above Nottingham, England.  Local artist Dave Lynch used a laser powered version of Eadweard Muybridge's zoopraxiscope to recreate a variant of the Muybridge galloping horse.

There are several accounts on the net, but the best general account plus film footage is here at the Daily Mail.

Here is the Project Nimbus page on
Dave's website.

The notion of sky-projection is not new of course. The great British exponent was Harry Grindell Matthews, who developed his "sky projector " in 1926/27, in the USA while working for Warner Brothers on one of his other crazy inventions: sound recordings for film.

In December 1930 he projected an angel into the skies above Hampstead, London, accompanied by the words "A Merry Christmas" and a picture of a clock telling the actual time.



More on Harry, also known as The Death Ray Man (don't ask) can be found on this site, with other links to the great man's deeds.

Richard Navarro


A couple of weeks ago I attended a magic lantern 'at home' down in Canterbury organised by MLS member and cellist Jeremy Brooker. This was a private get-together but two local jazz musicians who perform under the name of Richard Navarro were invited. They had created some new musical pieces and an impressive short animation film, Roundabout, inspired by lantern imagery.
You can view the animation film (still below) on

The Richard Navarro site


Book: Fantasia of Colour in Early Cinema


Fantasia of Colour in Early Cinema , published by Eye Film Museum and Amsterdam University Press offers a stunning collection of over 300 colour hand-coloured stills from early films. The editors : Giovanna Fossati, Tom Gunning, Joshua Yumibe and Jonathon Rosen have selected the most extraordinary examples which have to be seen to be believed and appreciated.

There is a very entertaining trailer for the book here on Vimeo  and the book is available at a very reasonable price direct from
the publisher's site.


An illustrated adaptation of an essay from the book, 'The Techniques of the Fantastic' by Joshua Yumibe, can be found on the internet under the title
The Phantasmagoria of the First Hand Painted Films


  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 combined newsletter and 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 go to  

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



New Light on Old Media Issue 14, August 2015
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