ANU Magic Lantern conference shines a light on bygone era

ANU Magic Lantern conference shines a light on bygone era

The Australian National University (ANU) and The National Film and Sound Archive are hosting a unique research conference this week, including visual performances on the lost visual art-form known as the Magic Lantern slide projection.

Media are invited to the conference and the evening projection displays of a bygone technology which played the role of public entertainment, information and news dissemination in a pre-cinema, pre-newsreel world.

Used worldwide from the 1840s to the 1930s, the Magic Lantern displays combined a glass, brass and mahogany projector resembling a lantern and a periscope with original hand-painted glass slides – the physical legacy of the technology. 

The conference “The Magic Lantern in Australia and the World” grew out of the academic work of Dr Martyn Jolly, Honorary Associate Professor of the ANU School of Art and Design, who discovered there are larger collections of magic lantern slides produced by Christian missions in Indigenous communities than first thought. Large collections were also produced by professional and amateur scientists linking international networks of knowledge.

Contemporary artists have also been inspired by the Magic Lantern to create new arts works using today’s technology.

For Program Details and Projection Show Details: See attachments below.


WHAT: “The Magic Lantern in Australia and the World” An interdisciplinary Conference.

WHO: ANU and international academics – see attached program.

WHERE: Sir Rowland Wilson Building, 120 McCoy Circuit, ANU and various locations at the National Film and Sound Archive.  

WHEN: Tuesday 4 September, 12 noon – Thursday 6 September, 6.30pm.

For media assistance, contact the ANU media hotline on 02 6125 7979.

About The Australian National University

ANU is a world-leading university in Australia’s capital city, Canberra. Our location points to our unique history, ties to the Australian Government and special standing as a resource for the Australian people.

Our focus on research as an asset, and an approach to education, ensures our graduates are in demand the world-over for their abilities to understand, and apply vision and creativity to addressing complex contemporary challenges.

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