The Magic Lantern Series


An ongoing series exploring early image technology, projectors and identity. Unedited digital works, 2013-2020©

A Historic-Philosophical Context:

The history of the projected image may be rooted in a very basic and ancient fear of darkness, death and the unknown.  Where fear/darkness may be the cause, light acts as its constructed savior.  Thus, the fear of the dark (historically associated with the unknown in many societies) called for a means of rescue, an opposite or way of making manifest to the eye, something pure or real.  In an age where ideas of ghosts and the macabre were part of the general consensus, 18th century experiments with light served as public fascination and led to inventions like magic lanterns, projectors, cameras and ultimately television.  Chris Saint Martin 2013-20©

An article from 1839 in the Magazine of Science reads, “All (inventors, those concerned with optics etc.) are and ever must be interested in this science, for it explains all the phenomena of Light, its diffusion wound us, its reflection, its concentration, its colors and the laws which govern the harmony of those colors.” ( Mervyn Heard/ Phantasmagoria: The Secret History of the Magic Lantern)

Taking the history of the magic lantern and early experiments with light into consideration, this series aims to explore the centuries old allure of light and darkness, projected images and the social constructs that form our opinions around race and gender.

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