The Magic Lantern Society  

  New Light on Old Media

  About this e-letter

Welcome to the First Edition of New Light on Old Media
You are receiving this e-letter either because you are a member of the UK-based Magic Lantern Society
or have subscribed to it via the Society Website
This e-letter is edited by well known lantern showman and scholar Mervyn Heard and the aim is to offer
up-to-the-minute information on international activity involving the uses of projection both ancient and modern and in related fields of optical magic such as stage illusions, 3D, panoramas and proto-cinema.
The general aim is to cover major and sometimes minor forthcoming exhibitions, performances, publications, and interesting web-site developments.

If you want to unsubscribe at any time follow the Link at the bottom of the page.
Details of how to become more involved in the activities of the Magic Lantern Society, which boasts an international membership covering a wide field of interest, follow at the end of this e-letter. However there is no obligation to join.


To send Mervyn brief information about interesting activity please contact him  here


George Auckland,
Chairman of The Magic Lantern Society


New Museum in Mumbai

Last year saw the opening of the Moving Image Museum in Dubai with many areas devoted to the prehistory of cinema.  Now, hard on the heels of this venture comes the newly opened National Museum of Indian Cinema which is based in a historic 19th century building in South Mumbai.
Designed by Kolkata’s National Council of Science Museum, there is a great deal here covering the pioneering work from every regional film zone. Among representations of early optical toys such as the Thaumatrope, Praxinoscope, Zeotrope and Phenakistoscope there is also a replica of the Shambarik Kharolika an early homegrown  'magic lantern' devised for the Patwardhan family.

You can find the latest news on the museum here.

And discover more about the Patwardhans and their pioneering work here.



The winner of the 2014 Playable City Award launched by the Watershed cultural cinema and media centre in Bristol, England is a project called Shadowing developed by an interaction designer from Toronto, Jonathan Chomko and Matthew Rosier . Using infrared tracking and triggered projections the process replays the shadow of a previous passer-by to the next person passing under the street light.

Anyway wishing to witness this effect will need to visit the streets of Bristol in September.
You can find out more here.


Chomko also intends adding other effects, such as the shadow of a cat to make the experience even more scary.

The idea of projecting shadows in the street to frighten the living daylights out of passers-by is not a new one of course, but it'll be interesting to see whether the idea still has the power to terrify folk to the same extent.


Projection bombing c. 2014

Salvation Army, Melbourne, Australia 1894

Projection Bombing 

The last ten years have seen the rise of large scale animated projections onto iconic buildings of every kind from the Sydney Opera House to Buckingham Palace, with companies such as the London based Projection Studio  leading the way.  More recently though we've seen the appearance of spontaneous appearances conducted by amateur 'artists' using the same kind of super-powered projection equipment.  This is a form of graffiti which comes and goes like a thief in the night, leaving no evidence of footprints. Sometimes it comes in the form an entire impromptu entertainment or sometimes a simple forthright message, political or commercial - as witness the recent projection of a Morrison's supermarket baguette on Antony Gormley's sculpture 'Angel of the North'.
If you want to hit the bricks with light there are various websites which explain how to employ a 4000 lumen projector to convey your message to the world.
This is one site which offers full technical details.

Now check out the Salvation Army's pioneering experiments in projection bombing opposite, c. 1894.


Up and Coming Exhibitions and Events

Whitechapel Gallery, London

11 June - 31 August 2014
& on tour
Rugby Art Gallery and Museum
28 June - 30 August 2014

Twixt Two Worlds : Gaia Tedone

An exhibition inspired by the work of John and William Barnes exploring the transition between still and moving image across photography, magic lantern slides and cinema.

Exhibitions at the British Library in London
......until 18th August 2014

Anyone interested in the history of caricature and comic book illustration in any medium should try and get to the Comics Unmasked  : Art and Anarchy in the UK exhibition at the British Library. This is on now and covers artwork from modern graphic novels, Victorian penny dreadfuls and more ancient publications.  If phantasmagoria is your thing you might also like to make a note in your diary of the BL's next exhibition Terror and Wonder: the Gothic Imagination which runs from 3rd October to 25 January 2015.  Meanwhile you can discover more on Comics Unmasked here plus a Curator's Introductory video.




This is Jeremy Brooker's lively history of the Royal Polytechnic- home of the most amazing magic lantern shows , the 'Pepper's Ghost' illusion and many other 19th century optical delights.

You can buy a copy through the Magic Lantern Society at our website .

Website Activity

The Ohio State University 'Pose Slide' collection


One of the most curious forms of lantern slide presentation was the 'pose slide ' act. Popular in the 1910s and 20s it involved the production of slides for projection onto dancers and other variety artists. The largest known collection - the Kliegl Brothers Collection - forms part of the Joel E Rubin Archive  and is now online and to be found here .

If you want a free pdf offering some history of projection on people and information on other pose slide collections go to Professor Mervyn Heard's site .


Eastbourne Steampunk Festival

An Incredible, Indelible, Festival of Curiosities and Wonders
13-14 September 2014

Featuring a magic lantern show from the Pepper's Ghost Magic Lantern Co.


Released at the end of last year, this is one of the most beautifully produced, well-researched and fascinating publications relating to the stereo card. In this case in the quaint form of the diablerie

The book comes complete with an 'IKEA-style' build-it-yourself stereo viewer and is available thru Amazon and all good bookshops.


Henry Sara Archive

A fascinating collection of more than 1,500  lantern slides held by the University of Warwick Modern Records Centre, digitised and now available online. The slides were used to illustrate lectures by the left-wing political activists, Henry Sara in the 1920s and 30s. Many cover such international situations as the troubles in Ireland, Russia in the 1920s and the General Strike of 1926.
The Henry Sara Archive.


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 regular quarterly newsletters. Its members also meet on a regular basis in the UK and intermittently at other locations throughout Europe. Every four years it holds 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.

New Light on Old Media Issue 1, June 2014
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