The Magic Lantern and its Cultural Impact as Visual Mass Medium in Belgium (1830-1940)

B-Magic project is a history of the magic lantern —a precursor to the projector— as a mass medium in Belgium.
The magic lantern was the first mass medium for visual communication, and the first to challenge print as a means of information and communication. It offered people from all walks of life—from the educated to the illiterate—information on nature, religion, science, technological advances, and foreign countries. With visual stories projected on a screen, audiences often numbering over 1,000 could be informed, entertained, taught to, and engaged with. This research project intends to rediscover the various functions that magic lantern shows fulfilled for Belgian audiences, and more specifically their use to convey knowledge of all sorts, as well as values and behavioural standards, within different social groups.
The project is coordinated by the University of Antwerp and involves researchers from UCL, KUL, the university of Utrecht, and ULB (Research Centre on film and performing arts, Faculty of Letters, Translation, and Communication).
Created on August 13, 2018