The Magic Lantern – creating images to shock and delight

On Saturday just after my Spiller & Tait Coffee I went along to the Gothic Magic Lantern Show organised by the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum on Campus. The show was given by Mervyn Heard, one of the country’s foremost lanternists.

melvyn heard and his magic lantern blog

 

The lantern itself was a wonderful feat of engineering from a bygone age – with polished wood box, a slot at the front to hold the lantern slide plates and two extending brass tubes protruding from the front. Before electricity, lanterns were lit by candles and later “limelight”, created through a very dangerous process of heating a piece of limestone in burning gas until it became incandescent and gave off a very strong light.  The lantern on Saturday was thankfully lit by electricity! It projected very effectively images from glass slides measuring about 10 cm in height onto a large screen.

 

 

 

Mervyn Heard took us through a range of fascinating slides which at one time would have shocked and enthralled audiences, in a time before the cinema, after which people became used to seeing moving images on screen. Figures in slides appeared to ‘move’ –  and images of landscapes changed from night to day – this effect was created by the lanternist carefully moving one slide behind another.

 

Older slides were intricately hand-painted, but later slides might be photographic images, either black and white or black and white with tinted colours.

 

Storytelling was also a huge part of the lanternist’s  art – through the pictures projected from the lantern and artful storytelling, wonderful and shocking tales would come to life.  Mervyn explained that in fact, the magic lantern could be said to be more akin to theatre than cinema, as the success of the images to move the audience depended on the storytelling and acting skills of the lanternist.

 

The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum has a huge collection of lantern slides, some of which are on display in the Museum on the Streatham Campus.  Others can be seen in digital format on the Museum’s website.

Lantern slide depicting a Tiger, courtesy Bill Douglas Cinema Museum

Lantern slide depicting a Tiger, courtesy Bill Douglas Cinema Museum

 Take a trip to Faerie Land…

We’ve just been to see a new exhibition located in the Forum building on the University of Exeter’s Streatham Campus.

Poly-Olbion 2

The Faerie Land is inspired by the poet Michael Drayton’s 17th century epic topographical poem of England and Wales, Poly-Olbion, accompanied by a series of maps created by William Hole.

 

This magical exhibition explores the relationship between landscape and British identity and how Drayton’s evocation of history and folklore ripples through our lives today.
Poly-Olbion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Faerie Land exhibition is the result of a collaborative effort between researchers in the University’s English Department, led by Professor Andrew McRae, Professor of Renaissance Studies, and Flash of Splendour, an arts education organisation who has been working with six South West special educational needs and disability (SEND) schools to create a fantastical display of art work.

 

Cartographic artist Stephen Walter and painter David McInnes have also responded to the project and juxtaposed contemporary work with the original 17th century imagery, providing the opportunity to view Hole’s maps up-close for the first time.

 

The exhibition will be running from the 7th October to the 20th November 2015 so make sure you don’t miss out.

 

For more event information go to: http://www.artsandcultureexeter.co.uk/event/1003/the-faerie-land/

 New art exhibition with a message opens in Exeter

cowboy 12Cowboy 5aCowboy 2aCowboy 11aCowboy 10An exciting new art-from-waste exhibition organised by the University of Exeter has just opened on the Marsh Barton Industrial Estate in Exeter. 

 

Entitled From Cowboys to Astronauts, the exhibition has been organised and curated by the Centre for Alternative Materials and Remanufacturing Technologies (CALMARE) at the University of Exeter.  Invited artists, working with CALMARE, have used waste materials to demonstrate what can be achieved when we move away from the throwaway mind-set that is endemic in our society.  They have created an inspiring range of artworks promoting the concept of a circular economy – a regenerative economic system where materials and energy from products are recovered and put back into the system instead of simply being disposed of.

 

You can see the exhibition for free at The Enviro Hub, Devon Contract Waste, Marsh Barton Road, Marsh Barton, Exeter, Devon, EX2 8NU

 

CALMARE is a business technology centre, part funded by the ERDF, based at the University of Exeter. The waste materials used in the exhibition have been sourced from the University itself and from other locations around Devon, including Exeter and Plymouth Scrapstores, Peninsula Waste Savers in Okehampton and the Devon County Council

 

The exhibition is open from 27 April – 22 May 2015, Monday to Saturday (except bank holidays).

 

Find out more about the exhibition here

 Event Exeter and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra celebrate 50th anniversary

BSO in the Great Hall for blog

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in the Great Hall, University of Exeter

Professor Janice Kay, Provost of the University of Exeter and Dougie Scarfe, Chief Executive of the BSO signing the partnership agreement

On 22nd January 2015, the 50th anniversary of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s (BSO’s) concert season at The Great Hall at the University of Exeter was celebrated with two unique performances.

 

As well as an evening concert entitled ‘London Town’, featuring music by Elgar, Rachmaninov and Vaughan Williams, a brand new free schools concert sponsored by Investec Wealth & Investment took place during the day for over 1,300 school children from 20 schools across Devon. Event Exeter, the venue management team at the University marked the occasion by presenting each child with a bespoke musical themed notebook, to use back in the classroom as a reminder of the special event.

The University of Exeter and BSO cemented their relationship by signing a partnership agreement, confirming and celebrating their shared ongoing commitment to delivering world-class symphonic music to people living in the South West of England.

 

Geoff Pringle, Chief Operating Officer at the University of Exeter said “We are thrilled to be commemorating this remarkable anniversary by strengthening our relationship with the BSO. As one of the largest concert halls in the South West, The Great Hall is the perfect musical venue for people to come and enjoy wonderful performances from one of the best orchestras in the country.”

Dougie Scarfe, Chief Executive of the BSO said “The future of an Orchestra in the 21st Century is built on strong, positive and collaborative relationships, the signing of a partnership agreement with Exeter University, in the BSO’s 50th year of performing at the Great Hall, Exeter is testament to our shared commitment to delivering world-class symphonic music to people living in the South West of England. The BSO are focused on broadening the reach of the Orchestra with our venues, partners and funders, introducing the power of music to new and diverse audiences.’’

The excellent acoustics, moveable seating and fixed tiered balcony make The Great Hall a perfect venue for classical concerts and choir performances. With a maximum capacity of 1,400 seated and 1,800 standing, the venue also attracts a range of other live musical and theatrical events, as well as providing a great space for gala dinners, conferences and exhibitions.