The Magic Lantern Society  

New Light on Old Media  

Welcome to Issue 6 of New Light on Old Media

I thought you might like to see this seasonal tribute to Salvador Dali from Disney illustrator John Lowry Hench c.1989. You can find more of Hench's work on Brian Sibley's Decidedly Disney BlogSpot. This month's e-letter takes a look ahead to 2015 and features some seasonal dance footage plus ideas for festive giving. Have a good time and see you next year.
By the way here's Salvador Dali as lanternist, c. 1936


If, like Mr S Dali from Spain, you'd like to join the UK Magic Lantern Society and receive regular paper newsletters and attend our lively quarterly meetings, details are at the end of this e-letter. 

Mervyn Heard,

2015: UNESCO International Year of Light


  Next year has been designated by UNESCO as the International Year of Light, and will feature numerous events worldwide celebrating importance of light technologies. There will be various spectacular opening ceremonies in Paris, Italy and elsewhere throughout January, although the celebration has already started in some countries. The  'light painting' above re-creates the project logo and took place in Oviedo Spain back in July.  There is more to be found on that particular event and the whole mysterious art of light painting on the 
Light Painting World Alliance website 

For an up-to-date progamme of all activities for the Year of Light which are taking place in many different countries visit the
Light2015 Events Page 


Werner Nekes Unboxed

photo: Valerie Stahl von Stromberg

There is an entertaining interview with one of the world's most avid collectors of optical artefacts to be found in AnOther Mag, under the title of Werner Nekes: A Pre-Cinematic Obsession. It was written by Chloe Aridjis. Werner is in constant demand on a global basis whether discussing his work as a director or his passion for every kind of visual device, or as an exhibitor of items from his seemingly limitless collection.  The next opportunity for the uninitiated to catch up with Werner will be at the Unbox Festival in New Delhi from the 12-14 December in the Media Magica Shadow Lounge. 

Photo: Valarie Stahl von Stromberg - a few home comforts


Cutting Edge Books

Reminiscent of the style of the famous silhouette artist and animator Lotte Reiniger, Edinburgh-based artist Joanna Robson creates unfolding, panoramic, laser cut visualisations of the classic Gothic novels of authors such as R L Stevenson and Bram Stoker.  It's difficult to appreciate the technique fully without experiencing the changes of light which can be made to give the cut-out imagery different perspective shadow forms. However, here's an example. I was lucky enough to see just one example of Dracula's trip to Whitby at a gallery in Bath.  Visit Joanna Robson's site to read and, better yet, acquire her exquisite and very reasonably priced creations.


Reflections on Pepper's Ghost


Jim Steinmeyer is an American magician and designer of stage illusions who is best know to historians of magic for Hiding the Elephant (2004) - a very entertaining study of the Pepper's Ghost illusion and its applications.  The advantage of Steinmeyer's accounts over all others is that the content stems not just from research but from practical experience.

The Science Behind the Ghost (2014) is a book comprising two lectures. The first giving the book its title and the second 'Discovering Invisibility' taking a look at silvered mirror illusions.  You can buy the book through Amazon or via Jim Steinmeyer's website.

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 combined printed quarterly journal and newsletter. 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 Magic of Margate

Nicole Mollett and Frog Morris are two artist-performers who in their own words 're-purpose' the magic lantern and its material through a series of performances and hands-on workshops under the title The Art of the Magic Lantern. Shows feature a fusion of old slides and new images painted by Nicole and, at present, take place mostly in Kent and the South East of England, where they receive most of their public funding. You can view regular updates on their activities here on Nicole's site

They are currently working on a series of projects which will include, next Spring, the creation of new 'moral tale for Margate' in the style of a life model story, using painted backdrops and local people.


...and Deal

One of the most eagerly awaited events for 2015 will be the opening of the new Kent Museum of the Moving Image in Deal, which Joss Marsh and David Francis are currently working to bring to fruition. We will bring you more in due course, but there's a chance to see them both in action at the Astor Theatre on 19 December with their show Around the World in 90 Minutes


The Christmas gift you've all been waiting for


Most of us are now familiar with those huge video-mapping spectaculars on public buildings.  Back in September at the 555 celebrations in Bucharest they staged the biggest yet, featuring 104 projectors and images 20,000 metres square.
You can see the result here on Vimeo

But now...wait for would it be if you could stage your own project-mapping extravaganza  with just a smartphone, a little old time Pepper's Ghost technology and the cardboard candy box you buy it in?
Well, take a look at the Bandai Company's Hako Vision projection mapping candy toy, which comes complete with a mini-building to project onto, and - if that weren't enough -some grape-flavoured gum to chew while you're using it.


Dancing in the Dark

Optical Illusion Dance (with original song)


 There are several versions of this eyeball-busting dance on You Tube, but this is my favourite. I think it's the slightly wobbly camerawork that adds to the effect. 

 In a slightly more polished vein you might like to take a look at this rhytymic routine from Canadian theatre company Cirque de Soliel entitled Sparked  and featuring a dance designed for Chinese paper lantern dronecopters.  No, don't bother to read it again, you read it right the first time.

 A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year


 Hand-painted slide from The History of Christmas c. 1910 (editor's collection)
New Light on Old Media Issue 6, December 2014
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