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 The Magic Lantern Society



New Light on Old Media

Welcome to Issue 27 of New Light on Old Media

Not all of the spectacular sights at the 2016 Olympics in Rio were confined to the sporting arena. There were various optical amazements to be seen on the streets too, as witness the extraordinary photographic instillation shown above created by the French artist JR. Just recently JR also made the Louvre pyramid in Paris disappear - see below. You can follow up on more of his work on his website here, and also watch a very amusing TED talk by the artist, which also features some of his other ideas.

More from Brazil below.

 


Mervyn Heard : Editor

Suave Entertainment

VJ Suave is a street art projection company based in Sao Paulo, Brazil who use specially designed bicycles fully equipped with projectors and a sound system to surprise passers by. During the games they roamed the streets of Rio (see above). Their appearances are not confined to Brazil.  They operate internationally with up and coming appearances in Portugal, New Mexico and here in Britain.  UK appearances will take place next month during the Hull Freedom Festival on 3/4 September and Great Yarmouth's Out of There Festival from 16-18 September.

More about VJ Suave here on their website.


The Bigger Picture 

Also in Rio, what is being heralded as the largest mural ever painted. Our image shows just a 'small' detail of the 3,000 square metre celebration of the games by local graffiti artist, Eduardo Kobra, which has been painted on the wall of an empty warehouse in the city.  This Guiness Record Breaking mural was achieved using 180 buckets of acrylic paint and 2,800 cans of spray paint. You can just about pick out the artist in this picture in the cherry picker on the right.  More here.


Peepshows in Perpetuity 



 

It's not often that paper peepshows hit the headlines in the cultural sections of Britain's daily newspapers. But that did happen back in early July when there was news that possibly the largest collection of peepshows in the world had been acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The Jaccquelin and Jonathan Gestetner collection can be searched online at the National Art Library Catalogue and V&A Search the Collections or it can be viewed by appointment at the
V&A’s National Art Library
To read one of the more extensive articles on the acquisition visit this site.  

The collection of over 350 items spanning some 300 years includes several modern examples of peepshows or what are now often referred to as 'tunnel books' such as this simple but charming piece by artist Tara Bryan
Information on some of her other magical creations can be found here on her web site.
 




 

Dick Whittington: It's all about him

As most collectors are aware collecting is a medical condition and one without any known cure.  

Wealthy New Yorker Ellery Yale Wood was an eccentric collector who moved to England in the 1950s. Over the years she filled her house with all manner of artefacts, although her chief passion was reserved for children's books. Although one story in particular seems to have fascinated her most of all - the ancient tale of Dick Whittington former Mayor of London and his illustrious Cat .  
Now her collection of Whittingtoniana including puzzles, games, ornaments and lantern slides has been left in their entirety
, appropriately enough, to the Guildhall Library in London. An entertaining article on Ellery Yale Wood's obsession can be found here in this Guardian article.
For more on the collection and how to view it 'in the flesh' acess the Guildhall site here.


Stereopanoramic Funtime

The Emmy Award winning American comedian and Daily Show contributor Eric Drysdale has developed a two hour live show built around the least likely of optical instruments, the stereopanorama. This  handheld viewer was introduced in 1947 and was popular briefly through the 1950's . This slightly more "advanced" version of the Victorian stereoscope featured high quality colour images on rotating discs. Most discs provided travel views although there were other naughtier versions available too (naturally).
Eric Drysdale offers his entertainment mostly to select private audiences at "stereo-salons". Only very occasionally does he stage public shows. Several occured recently during August, at the wonderful Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn and at QED in Queens ( which is described as "an after-school space for grown ups")  He has also produced his own Viewmaster adventure comedy : The Man with F.E.E.E.T, which comprises twenty-one three-dimensional photographs on three View-Master reels, " accompanied by a read-along sixteen-page story-booklet-thingy".
 Go here for more information.      


A Little More Light Music

 

In Issue 24 we featured cellist Björt Rúnarsdöttir who uses projection as part of her concert performances. Now we have another cellist using a slightly more advanced, projection mapping system. The musician, Sol Gabetta, was featured in a recent BBC promenade concert.  You can watch the performance here.
 It occurs to me that even the ML Society's chairman is an accomplished cellist. I'm not normally one for conspiracy theories but there's clearly something sinister afoot.

 

Pokémon Ghost

Pokémon Go, for the few uninitiated members of the human race who have never heard of it, is a game for android devices such as mobile phones which enables you to see and to interact with colourful little monsters in actual locations. (No, I don't know why either).  In Russia the craze has not gone down well with the authorities who consider that having these creatures pop up in front of revered national monuments disrespectful and possibly worse.  This has led some industrious Russians to devise a different version of the idea featuring iconic national figures such as Uri Gagarin and Ivan the Terrible. These characters also appear on your iPhone at an appropriate location and allow you to have your picture taken in their company.  This link will explain more about the phenomenon and here you can find a lively video showing just how the app works and what possibly makes it a bit like Pepper's Ghost. 

At the time of going to press there are even reports that the original Pokémon may be banned through fear of possible links to the CIA.  That story can be found here. Other amusing developments are bound to follow.


  
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
www.magiclantern.org.uk  

You will find our sister organisation The Magic Lantern Society of the US and Canada here:
www.magiclanternsociety.org


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New Light on Old Media Issue 27, September 2016
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