The Magic Lantern Society  

New Light on Old Media  

Welcome to Issue 12 of New Light on Old Media

This is my friend Jerry Butler, intrepid lanternist.  Jerry is currently working on an Autumn tour of venues in Morocco where he now lives, employing local musicians and associated lantern images in his presentations. 
More on this in a future newsletter.

If you are contemplating joining the Magic Lantern Society and receiving our regular quarterly journal and attending our lively meetings in the UK and other European locations you will find more information at the end of this e-letter.


Mervyn Heard,

Manual Cinema




Those cumbersome old overhead projectors, once common in the classroom, are probably not the sort of projection device which you might consider ideal for highly creative performance work. But they are both the inspiration and basis of the 'live movie' presentations of MANUAL CINEMA , founded in 2010 by 5 Chicago based artists. One of their most ambitious shows, which premiered at the Chicago International Puppetry Festival in January 2015 is entitled Mementos Mori. In creating this piece six puppeteers use hundreds of paper puppets, seven overhead projectors, two cameras, actors, a band of live musicians and three screens to create a striking theatre piece.
Their site offers short excerpts from their highly imaginative work. This sequence blends images from the performance with intercut footage of the physical techniques employed.


 Baudelaire and 19th Century Media


Marit Grøtta is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Oslo, Norway. In her recently published book she explores the phenomenon of  the flâneur - a peculiarly French world meaning a gazer, stroller, someone who simply observes.  This she examines alongside the literary work of Baudelaire who had a fascination for scientific toys and Dageurre's Diorama in particular. Although the subject matter may seem a little obscure if you go to Amazon, you can dip inside and have a brief look at the content. 


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 iat 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:


Gentou Exhibition
Waseda Theatre Museum


The Waseda Theatre Museum in Tokyo is currently hosting an exhibition on 'gentou' (Japanese magic lantern) until August. There is more on this in English in there current newsletter, with a link to the gentou site. The information is in Japanese but there are many images of lanterns and slides - and not all of traditional Japanese material.
Take the one above for example - presumably from a late 19th century set of images and somewhat obscure.

The Museum itself may also be of interest to historians of theatre. It was built in 1928 and modelled on one of London's oldest playhouse, the Fortune Theatre (c. 1600).


Bill Douglas Centre : Reflected Vision 


The Bill Douglas Centre Cinema Museum at the University of Exeter is an acknowledged international resource for the history of film, optical media and other forms of popular entertainment.  It now has a additional attraction in the form of this interactive artwork with the symbolic lantern from Bill Douglas film 'Comrades' (1986) seated on the top.
The local newspaper carried an article on the piece and the artist who created it, Kenny Munro, which you can find here, together with more pictures.


Finally a brief update on the Regent Street Cinema
In the course of the last year we've been following the progress of the refurbishment and reopening of the Regent Street Cinema. Originally the Royal Polytechnic and later, in 1896, the venue where the Lumiere Cinematograph was first witnessed in London. It finally reopened on 7th May as a fully functioning modern cinema venue.

You can take a virtual tour here.


New Light on Old Media Issue 12, June 2015
Copyright © 2015 The Magic Lantern Society, All rights reserved.

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