The Magic Lantern Society  

New Light on Old Media  

Welcome to Issue 15 of New Light on Old Media

Last month we featured the AniMotion project at this year's Edinburgh Festival
It turns out that there was quite a lot of projection work happening in Edinburgh in August.

Up above two performers from Italian group Discoteque Machine, who were appearing at Zoo Southside, turn themselves into a “human discoball” using the giant kaleidoscope device which is based at Edinburgh’s ancient Camera Obscura and World of Illusion attraction. This attraction is well worth a visit and open all year round.

This month we feature the work of the visual arts company TROPE and offer a few animal related diversions.

As usual, further information on how to become a member of the Magic Lantern Society can be found down below in the basement area.


Mervyn Heard, Editor



Imagine you are in a dark room. Suddenly a flock, not of birds, but of books bursts through the walls and flies and swoops above your head.  These are not projected images. These are actual books. The process which was devised by Anglo-French artists Carol MacGillivray and Bruno Mathez utilises sequential lighting to achieve the effect of movement. Libretto is the latest instillation from TROPE using a copyrighted technique called D-scope.

TROPE was invited to exhibit at the 27th Annual International Society of Animation Studies Conference during July, and the impact on the audience can be seen when you watch the video on the Libretto page.

Previous projects can also be viewed under 'Works'. I particularly liked Dandelion where the seeds (metal jacks) are dispersed from a distance, supposedly, in the same way as real dandelion spores

For up and coming projects in London and France visit the TROPE news page


Object Stories


The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum in Exeter has recently established its own YouTube channel highligting objects from the collection.  You can find the relevant page here.  Currently there are just four short films. They are all worth watching, although e-letter followers may find Dr Joe Kember's item on magic lantern scripts of particular interest.

Geronimo Stilton : The Big Cheese of Early Cinema


We always like to bring you news of the more important publications covering the early history of cinema and the lantern. So I urge you to obtain a copy of this little known account of Geronimo Stilton and how he travelled back in time to save the early film industry from oblivion.  Follow this Amazon site link for 
Lights! Camera! Stilton!


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 printed 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:


Chateau Noir


The Chateau de Puyguilham is a 16th century Gothic castle located 1km from Villars in the Dordogne area of France. From now until 11 October, the castle is home to a cabinet of optical wonders, focussing on the phantasmagoria and magic lantern and including items from the rare collection of Society member Francois Binetruy.  Go direct to the Chateau de Puyguilham site for more information on this splendid castle, exhibition and opening times.



Daruma at the Akagi Shrine



Prof. Machiko Kushara has sent me details of a recent open air performance (July 5th) presented by the Minwaza Company at Akagi Shrine in Kagurazaka, Japan.  This is a significant location since this is where utsushi-e (Japanese magic lantern) was performed for the first time by lantern showman Kameya Toraku, in 1803. Machiko tells me that it was a long term dream to present the show here and luckily, although it was the rainy season, the rain stopped just before the show.

Three short pieces were performed featuring the famous Japanese lantern character Daruma.
A high quality, edited version of the show can be seen here.  It was edited by video artist Kentaro Taki and features split-screen, behind-the-scenes sequences.


Hair Raising


Two chances to see David & Lesley Annwn Jones barking mad new entertainment
Lycanthropy: A Magic Lantern Werewolf Show.
You can catch what I'm sure will be a howling success (Oh stop it!) at
Open Graves : Open Minds
The Company of Wolves Conference, at the University of Hertfordshire 7pm Friday 4th September
or later this year at the
Bram Stoker Film Festival, Whitby Friday 23rd October.




New Light on Old Media Issue 15, September 2015
Copyright © 2015 The Magic Lantern Society, All rights reserved.

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