The Magic Carpet:

Imaginary Travels with the Lantern

January 9 and 10, 2009


No medium transported more people through time and space in the 19th Century than the magic lantern, ancestor of the cinematograph, and for 250 years the world’s premier „screen experience“ and engine of imaginary travel. On January 9 and 10, renowned lanternists David Francis and Joss Marsh present a panorama of the Imperial itineraries, virtual travel, fantastical geographies, and metaphysical journeys of the Victorian era using an original lantern, authentic texts, and a wide variety of rare glass slides - engraved, hand-painted, photographic, and mechanical.   Images will include: the „pleasant delusory journey“ (as Victorians called it) Mail Steamer to Alexandria; a missionary tour of South America; Imperial visual archives of modern and ancient Egypt; fanciful sketches of modes of transport; Gulliver’s Travels; the „Arabian“ tale Aladdin and the Magic Lantern; the comic series Railway Journey; and the religious railway extravaganza, with original songs, Signal Lights.


David Francis OBE was for 15 years Curator of the British National Film Archive, and was until recently Head of the Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division of the Library of Congress. His many publications include the ground-breaking study Chaplin: Genesis of a Clown (1977). Joss Marsh is Associate Professor of Victorian Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. She is the author of Word Crimes: Blasphemy, Culture, and Literature in 19th-Century England (1998), and essays on Dickens, Chaplin, the 19th-century novel and film, Victorian visual culture, and film stardom.


This programme takes place in conjunction with the Wien Museum exhibition The Magic of Distant Lands (December 4, 2008 - March 29, 2009).

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