Scientists, teachers, politicians, priests and showmen used the magic lantern to project transparent glass slides, postcards and objects onto the walls of fairground booths, theatres, auditoria and peopleʼs homes. As such, it functioned as a mass medium and cultural practice in Belgium. By investigating the role of the lantern in entertainment, religion, education, narration and politics, B-magic writes the as yet unwritten history of the magic lantern and makes an essential contribution to both the study of the country’s cultural history and to international media historiography.   

'B-magic: The Magic Lantern and its Cultural Impact as a Visual Mass Medium in Belgium (1830-1940' is an Excellence of Science project (EOS-contract 30802346, 2018-2023) supported by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) and the Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique - FNRS. A team of researchers at two Flemish and two French-speaking universities (UA, KULeuven, UCLouvain, ULB) will study the cultural impact of the magic lantern in Belgium, in collaboration with an arts college (KASK) and international partners (Utrecht University). B-Magic will write the as yet unwritten history of the magic lantern as a mass medium in Belgium and, in doing so, will provide an essential contribution to the study of the country’s cultural history as well as to international media historiography.

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Best wishes from the B-magic team!

PostDoc researcher Leen Engelen demonstrates how to use a radioptican postcard projector in festive fashion.