The Magic Lantern Society  

New Light on Old Media  

Welcome to Issue 8 of New Light on Old Media

London based company Mirror Mirror Education was established in 2009 by Claire Cooke and Aymie Backler (pictured above). It specialises in learning-based activities and immersive performances using both authentic and specially created lantern slide material.  On Sat 21st February they are taking part in a day-long event for the Wallace Collection in London. Entry is free.  Claire (Aymie has now left to do other work) has also just launched a new website - linked above - where you can discover more about the full range of their past work and inventive hands-on projects for schools. galleries and festivals.

If you would like to become a member of the Magic Lantern Society and receive our brand new quarterly journal The Magic Lantern you can find out more at the end of this e-letter.  

Mervyn Heard,

Cutting Edge projection

Still from Camille Scherrer projections at Porrentruy

Paper cuts is an exhibition currently running at the Landesmuseum in Zurich until 19th April exploring the art of paper-cutting and the silhouette. The exhibition has both historical content and work by current practitioners. Several artists work with projection. The best Landesmuseum page-link is the Paper cuts media page which has through links to specific artist sites and zip files.

One featured young artist is the Swiss designer Camille Scherrer and I urge you to visit her site Chipchip, where you will find all kinds of quirky visual goodies including on-street and interior wall projections. My personal favourite is Superscope, which might be described as part lantern show and partly a reimagining of the handheld Viewmaster device which was popular in the 40's and 50's.




You can also view the video of the projection project staged at Porrentruy ( ref. the still featured at the top of this item)  
here on Vimeo.



The Crankie Factory


 Way back in May of last year when this e-letter was a mere glint in its father's eye, Professor Erkki Huhtamo (UCLA Design Media Arts) published his book (12 years in the making) on the moving panorama, Illusions in Motion.  The book is now in its second printing.  

I don't know whether Professor Huhtamo's opus is in some way to blame, but the idea of building and performing with moving panoramas, or 'crankie boxes' seems to have taken off in a big way in the USA recently.  The picture shown above shows the panorama used by Sandglass Theatre a puppet theatre company from Putney, Vermont who pair song and story with scrolling pictures

If you want to find out more about the whole genre of moving pictures on rollers ,or even want to have a go at making your own, the best site to visit is The Crankie Factory run by musician Sue Truman from Seattle.

BTW Erkki Huhtamo also has his own website  which was launched in September of last year with more about his own current and future projects.


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:


The Full Grub


Back in December Henk Kranenburg and friends presented their version of Charles Dickens classic Christmas short-story Gabriel Grub - The Story of the Goblins who Stole a Sexton at the Toverlantaarnmuseum in Scheveningen, Holland.

They filmed the complete performance with an English narrative and you can watch it right here on Youtube

 If you've never done so, you should also visit Nico's Toverlantaarn website - which is one the most established, informative and entertaining lantern-based sites on the net.


As seen on TV

Magic lantern spotters are promised an abundance of sequences to gaze upon and criticise for their briefness in the course of the next few weeks.  Here are the programmes and transmission dates. 

If you miss any of them them and based in the UK you can catch up here on BBCiplayer, after they have been screened and where most now remain available for up to 30 days.

First of all an item which has already been shown, so this has to be viewed on iplayer. A local BBC Inside Out London programme featured an update on the Regent Street Polytechnic renovation project which we mentioned back last year. The seqeunce is about 20 minutes into this half hour show (it's available to view on iplayer link above until 12 Feb)


And coming up.....

29 January : BBC4 9pm Timeshift: Battle for the Himalayas - which promises some slide material on Albert Smith's Mont Blanc performances (lanternist Mike Simkin)

30 January : BBC2 6.30pm Great British Railway Journeys - a part of GR Sims "In the Signal Box" (lanternist Richard Rigby)


Finally, the BBC are about to screen a second series of a show called Collectaholics . This is due to go out four nights a week (Mon-Thurs) at 7pm on BBC2, commencing mid February.  Still awaiting actual transmission dates and, more importantly, in which episode "Professor" Heard will feature talking to antiques expert Mark Hill about the phantasmagoria (BTW I'm not the featured 'aholic'. A collector called Simon Costin who collects all things Gothic is the subject.)

Professor Pepper meets Liberace

A marriage made in heaven (or is it Las Vegas)

Yes, big news for fans of both Victorian science and over-the-top evening wear. Liberace is about to go on tour again, more than 25 years after his death, using a new holographic version of that famous old illusion from 1863, Pepper's Ghost.
You can read the story
Liberace to Tour World as a Hologram 
as it appeared in The Guardian back in December, and discover a little more about the company who are involved in reincarnation process.
( NB - the above picture is of Liberace not Professor Pepper.)


New Light on Old Media Issue 8, February 2015
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