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Erkki Huhtamo's Magic Lantern Exhibition at UCLA's Arts Library

October 21, 2009, 9:00 am   » 

An exhibition titled " The Magic Lantern: From Victorian Vision to Modern Media" has opened at UCLA's Arts Library. The exhibition will remain open during the Arts Library's operating hours until the end of Fall Quarter 2009. The exhibition features magic lanterns, lantern slides, and other related objects from the extensive private collection of UCLA Design | Media Arts Professor Erkki Huhtamo.

The magic lantern played an important role in visual education and entertainment for centuries. It was introduced soon after the mid-seventeenth century and became a staple of the curiosity cabinets of the savants. It was brought to the 'common people' by itinerant showmen. In the nineteenth century the magic lantern show developed into a specialized profession and big business. Countless magic lanterns and slides were produced both for professional and domestic use. This exhibition demonstrates how the magic lantern show, so typical of the Victorian era, opened ways for modern society and culture as well.

In connection with the exhibition, the Department of Design | Media Arts presented a Halloween Magic Lantern Show at its EDA auditorium, Broad Art Center, on October 29, 2009. It was performed by the American Magic Lantern Theater of Connecticut, the only professional group giving authentic magic lantern shows in the United States.