The Library of Birmingham’s exciting Discovery Season continues this weekend with Flatpack presenting Box of Light, a celebration of the magic lantern. Before the cinema, there was the magic lantern; a fabulous device that used glass slides to create moving spectacles and transport audiences around the world. Birmingham was at the centre of this pre-cinema world, producing thousands of lanterns for export. There are many of these magic lantern slides in the Library of Birmingham’s archive.
Box of Light will see a weekend of performances, screenings and activities for all ages. A few highlights:
Box of Light Variety Show – An evening of entertainment featuring acclaimed lanternist Professor Heard and the Physioscope, a Victorian experiment recreated for the first time in a century by Roderick MacLachlan. The finale of the show is provided by French artist Julien Maire, whose Open Core performance includes a live dissection of a video projector;
The Icebook – a stunningly beautiful intimate performance using miniature projections and paper cut-outs – liable to sell out. Book quickly!
The Ascent of Mont Blanc – Mike and Theresa Simkin will show a unique set of extremely large, hand-painted Victorian magic lantern slides describing Victorian entrepreneur Albert Smith’s ascent of Mont Blanc in 1851, based upon paintings and drawings by travelling companion William Beverley.
Box of Light takes places from 25-27 October at the Library of Birmingham.