Emotions and the Magic Lantern

4 December 2020 

10:00 - 17:00
Online conference-workshop
Register by 2 December

Projecting Pathos will focus on the role of emotions in magic lantern performances. It will explore the emotional strategies used during lantern performances, as well as their impact on the spectators. 

It will bring together prominent scholars working in different fields related to the magic lantern and emotions: media archaeology and the history of emotions. 

Keynote lectures by 

Live presentations by B-magic researchers
Q&A sessions
Organized by the Centre de recherche en Cinéma et Arts du Spectacle (CiASp) of the ULB

The magic lantern was used by performers, by teachers and by various social groups to entertain and propagate knowledge, emotional norms and values. In doing so, magic lantern performances did not only represent emotions visually and through voice and text, they also produced them, having effects on the emotional state of the spectator. The medium's potential to provide emotional experiences for diverse audiences lies at the core of its power and appeal. Recognizing the role of emotions is essential in order to explore the cultural impact of the magic lantern. So far, Belgian slide collections have yielded a wealth of material for this area of research. Yet, the emotional scope of the magic lantern performance and the strategies to stimulate and steer emotions have seldom been tackled in media studies. 


Session 1
Emotions and media history - panel chair: Kurt Vanhoutte (UA)
Welcome: Kurt Vanhoutte (UA, B-magic spokesperson) and Dominique Nasta (ULB, B-magic Principal Investigator) 
Keynote lecture 1: Visual media and emotions in the educational context. Historical Perspectives on the beginning of the 20th Century 

Anja Laukötter (Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin and University of Strasbourg)

The optical lantern and the pathos of patriotism Belgian lantern propaganda in the neutral Netherlands (1914-1918)

Klaas De Zwaan (Utrecht University, postdoc B-magic)


Session 2

Brand new B-magic research - panel chair: Nele Wynants (ULB) 

Eugène Frey’s “décors lumineux”: A spectacular novelty, a disruptive technology or old wine in new bottles? 

Leen Engelen (UA)

The Battle for the Seafarers: The Lantern Projector as a Medium for ​Information, Education and Entertainment (1880-1930) 
Kristof Loockx (UA)
Lunch break
Session 3
Emotion​s in magic lantern slides and performances – panel chair: Karel Vanhaesebrouck (ULB) 
Keynote lecture 2: Other people's lives: how Life Model slides attempt toevoke pathos and sympathy (and sometimes succeed) 

Richard Crangle (Independent researcher, Magic Lantern Society)

Affective aesthetics in the life model slides and early films of ‘Maison de la Bonne Presse' (1908-1914)

Dominique Nasta & Bart G. Moens (ULB)

Keynote lecture 3: A Riot on 23rd Street: Lantern Tableaux Trigger Turn of the Century Tempers 
Vito Adriaensens (Columbia University and ULB) 
Epilogue: Closing remarks 
Philippe Marion & Sébastien Fevry (UCL)