workshop THE MAGIC LANTERN TODAY: Creative Re-Use of Cultural Heritage

Date: 27-29 October 2016

Venue: M HKA – Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp,  Leuvenstraat 32, Antwerp

The magic lantern was the most important technology of visual entertainment and means of education across nineteenth-century Europe. Many libraries and museums across Europe hold tens of thousands of lantern slides in their collections. However, a lack of standards for documentation and preservation limits the impact of existing initiatives, hinders the recognition of the object’s heritage value and potential exploitation.

This workshop explores different strategies for curators, artists and educators to revive the legacy of the magic lantern as cultural heritage. We will explore how the artistic and educational reuse of old lanterns can today function as a creative tool to revalue the lantern as an important visual technology in the history of new media. Instead of exhibiting this old apparatus as an antique object, or historically re-enacting a Galantee show, media artists and curators develop contemporary strategies for reuse of the magic lantern in which they reflect on media history, concepts of vision and the role of media in our contemporary moment.

This is the 3rd workshop of A Million Pictures: Magic Lantern Slide Heritage as Artefacts in the Common European History of Learning’ an international research project dealing with the magic lantern as European cultural heritage. The project brings together researchers, museum curators and archivists, collectors and artists to promote sustainable use and management of lantern slides held in various European collections. The goal is to develop tools for documentation, preservation, digitisation and creative reuse.

This workshop is organized by the Research Center for Visual Poetics of the University of Antwerp and the Université libre de Bruxelles, in the framework of A Million Pictures. Magic Lantern Slide Heritage as Artefacts in the Common European History of Learning | Joint Programming Initiative in Cultural Heritage – Heritage Plus.