Long before social media, cinema and PowerPoint presentations, images were an important means of communication. The magic lantern, or ‘laterna magica’, was a fascinating and instructive tool, which was especially popular in the 19th century. The invention was used to project transparent images onto glass slides on the walls of theatres, schools and people’s homes. Travelling showmen with lanterns on their backs also put on public lantern shows at fairs.
The B-magic project will write the as yet unwritten history of the magic lantern as a mass medium in Belgium. In doing so, it will make an essential contribution to the study of the country’s cultural history as well as to international media historiography.
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