Location: S.S209 ARIA attic, Lange Sint-Annastraat 7, 2000 Antwerp

Time: 14h30-17h, unless communicated otherwise

Target audience: junior academic and artistic researchers

Travelling fairground attractions left few traces. Except for a few fragments in the form of flyers, posters, programme sheets, newspaper reports, postcards and photos. Erkki Huhtamo and Thomas Weynants discovered the collection of a travelling theatre from the nineteenth century at a flea market in Ghent. This was the start of a media archaeological excavation. The rediscovery of Théâtre Morieux is an extraordinary story of serendipity, opportunity, insight, and determination. Based on this case study, they discuss how historical research on early media culture often resembles a detective story in which not only discursive sources play a role, but also material and visual sources turn out to be important pieces of the puzzle.

Preparatory readings

  1. Huhtamo, Erkki. "Mechanisms in the Mist: A Media Archaeological Excavation of the Mechanical Theater: Deep Time of the Theatre", in Media Archaeology and Intermedial Performance: Deep Time of the Theatre, edited by Nele Wynants, 23-82. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2019. DOI:10.1007/978-3-319-99576-2_2
  2. Huhtamo, Erkki. Illusions in Motion: Media Archaeology of the Moving Panorama and Related Spectacles. Leonardo Book Series. Cambridge Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2013.

Erkki Huhtamo 

is Professor of Design Media Arts, and Film, Television, and Digital Media at the University of California Los Angeles. He is internationally known as a founding figure of media archaeology. He is also a major collector of items related to the early history of visual media. Professor Huhtamo has lectured worldwide, curated exhibitions, directed television programmes, and published widely in over ten languages. His most important book to date is Illusions in Motion: Media Archaeology of the Moving Panorama and Related Spectacles (The MIT Press, 2013). The Fairy Engine: Media Archaeology as Topos Study is forthcoming.

Thomas Weynants 

is an internationally acknowledged collector of wondrous visual media devices and the founder of the visual-media.be website. "Early Visual Media" (www.visual-media.eu) is an unconventional website, a "contemporary raree-show" or modern Peepshow, looking at the past of media entertainment and a rich source for researchers and early media lovers interested in magic lanterns, optical toys, vintage photography, early film, television, conjuring arts, magic & illusions, spiritism, physique amusante, circus and fairground arts.

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