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.   

This project 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). 

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Our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Herman Bollaert

Everyone at B-magic was very sorry to hear of the passing of the incredibly talented and internationally acknowledged magic lantern performer and 'Galantee Showman' Herman Bollart.

Herman was raised in Antwerp, amid life music, opera and theater and studied acting in Ghent. Next to engagements as an actor and several theatre and television productions, documentaries and short fiction films, he developed a fascination for the magic lantern. When he met Annet Duller, it was the start of a long cooperation in magic lantern shows, together with his son Ditmar. These ‘Galantee Shows’, always accompanied by live music, became legendary as they improved over the years, technically as well as artistically. 

Meet this prominent Belgian lanternist through the following interview, made in cooperation with Annet Duller and Ditmar Bollaert, and completed with footage of lantern shows by Koen Van Loocke and Patrick Bonamie.

A Portrait of Herman Bollaert

Lanternist and Galantee Showman