The Magic Lantern Society  

New Light on Old Media  

Welcome to Issue 3 of New Light on Old Media

Our opening picture features Professor Mitsue Ikeda from the Osaka University of the Arts who stages regular performances and workshops with her students, using traditional, 200 year old Japanese lantern techniques. For more information go to the company's excellent  site :  Nishiki Kage-e Ikeda-Gumi.  

If you have information about any interesting up and coming activities please contact me here

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

Mervyn Heard,

Designs on your Property


There are many examples of anamorphic street art on the internet. But this is slightly different. In fact I'm not even sure it ranks as true anamorphic art. Discuss. This is the creation of Swiss artist Felice Verini.  The rings are painted, in perspective, onto the walls and roofs of the houses. Here's another example of Verini's work, taken from the 
Just Something website. Pay a visit to see the process in detail and even more mind-boggling examples.

If you fancy trying your hand at creating some more familiar forms of anamorphic art, of the cylindrical mirror variety, go to the       
Anamorph Me! site, and download some old but free software.  For a new idea based on the cylindrical mirror theme, this is my favourite notion.  Memento Mori by the artist Pablo Garcia consists of a plastic disc with an anamorphic skull printed on it, designed to clip onto a common or garden stainless steel chair or a pipe. Lots of possible locations are featured on Pablo Garcia's website. Here is just one unlikely place to find anamorphic art.

Sanitary ware anamorphics

Art Block

Sadaf Foroughi is an Iranian artist based in Montreal. A while back she received a grant from the Canadian Government to travel to her native Iran and recreate an early form of Middle-Eastern peep-box, known as a shahre-farang, to house a modern video installation. The original boxes were made of tin, designed to represent ornate palaces and often offered scenes from the Arabian Nights. These peep-boxes were still being exhibited in the 1960s. 
However, when Sadaf tried to bring her artwork to Canada it was seized by the border authorites for contravention of the current trade embargo on Iranian imports, with the threat of its eventual destruction.
An online petition was raised and eventually the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs agreed a special dispensation to allow the artwork to enter the country.
So a happy ending?  Perhaps not. For now the Border Agency are demanding 3,000 dollars in storage fees before they release the item from the warehouse!
If this bureaucratic mess can be resolved Sadaf hopes to put the peep-box on show in Montreal in September.

You can follow the story and sign the continuing petition here on the           Change website

 Traditional shahre farang


Magic Lantern Tales

The popular North-country performance poet and broadcaster Ian McMillan and award-winning photographer Ian Beesley have devised a lantern show, incorporating an original lantern, which seeks to tell the story of the First World War from the point of view of the men and women who lived through it and survived it. Although described as a UK tour, at present all dates are in the North of England.
For dates in September/October follow this link to
Ian McMillan's website, where you can also find some lively poetry on all aspects of human life. 

Relevant (?) or irrelevant slide from Ropery Hall, Barton upon Humber website, promoting the performance there on 10 October

The Road to Morocco


Some time ago Meryl and Jerry Butler decided to up sticks from their home in North Wales and go to live in Morocco, taking their collection of magic lantern slides and equipment with them. Last year they started to perform magic lantern shows at the Cinema Rif in Tangier using a rich mixture of Arabian and Middle Eastern subject matter and live, traditional, Moroccan music.
Reactions to this somewhat unfamiliar imported Western entertainment were no doubt mystifying and surprising. Jerry and Meryl are currently 'regrouping'.

Currently they have no website, but there is a part-recording of one of their performances on YouTube complete with a Moroccan musical score, and a selection of slide material - from about 4 minutes in - on North African and Arab  themes. Here's the
YouTube link

Part dissolve : Cairo by night

 New Publications


Screen Culture and the Social Question (1880-1914) is a profusely illustrated publication featuring essays by 16 eminent international scholars, examining the various ways in which the lantern and early cinema shows tackled concerns over poverty and 'the social question'. The book can be purchased from John Libbey Publishing in the UK and from Amazon books


Invisible is a fascinating study of invisible worlds and the notion of how to become invisible, past and present.  The author takes a brief look at the phantasmagoria, Pepper's Ghost and spirit photography, but it's the later chapters on current attempts to make people vanish , before your very eyes, which will make your brain spin. You can buy a hardback edition or download onto your Kindle through
Amazon books 

Here is a portrait of the author....

Literally Terrifying

Attend to me all lovers of the phantasmagorical: the British Library's next exhibition is 
Terror and Wonder : The Gothic Imagination.
It opens on 3 October and runs until 20 January. It explores the influences of Gothic literature on art, film, music and fashion with the aid of paintings, posters and film clips. There is also a programme of talks, including a presentation by Brian May on his Diableries on Sunday 26 October.
There is also a catalogue which will be available from the BL from 3rd October and is currently on pre-order from their online shop



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:

New Light on Old Media Issue 3, August 2014
Copyright © 2014 The Magic Lantern Society, All rights reserved.

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