As Percy Shelley knew when he wrote Ozymandias, the iconic is defined by the iconoclastic. In its brazen or marmoreal defiance of mortality every civic statue to this or that ‘King of Kings’ already has encoded into it its own death as a negative potentiality waiting to be fulfilled. Those who made history through destruction are already constructing the process which will make them in their turn colossal wrecks. As Shelley knew too, passion and mockery are perpetual. I vote that Edward Colston gets winched out back on to the Bristol dock. But every year he gets dunked again, in a new exuberant ritual as regular as the seasonal tides and annual currents of ocean voyages.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, 1916.
My review of Ann Elias’s excellent Coral Empire: Underwater Oceans, Colonial Tropics, Visual Modernity is in the Journal of Australian Historical Studies, volume 51, issue 1, 2020.
Waratah Lahy is painting up a storm; Alec Hunter and Charles Martin are composing up a storm; Jenny Gall and our special guest vocalists are limbering up; and Elisa deCourcy and myself are working on new ways of dissolving even weirder slides, some of which would be getting on to 150 years old.
Buy your tickets now!
Or google ‘ACT Historic Places Suburban Apparitions’
Remember! there’s a free drink included in the price.
For lovers of: suburbia, skies piled high with reddening clouds, monsters under the bed, cracker night, that sound you got when you changed stations on the AM dial, insect wings buzzing on a hot summer’s day, going to the pictures without your mum and dad, old songs (really old songs!), dreams…
‘The Tri-Unial lantern illuminated with the Oxy-Hydrogen Light, in the Hall of the Balmain School of Arts’, frontispiece, Catalogue of Optical Lanterns and Transparent Views, with the newest forms of Bi-unial and Tri-unial Dissolving View Apparatus (Sydney: William MacDonnell, 1882).
Our book The Magic Lantern at Work: Witnessing, Persuading, Experiencing and Connecting has been published, we’ll be organising a launch at some stage. In the meantime let your librarians know.
The Magic Lantern at Work: Witnessing, Persuading, Experiencing and Connecting
1. The Magic Lantern at Work: Witnessing, Persuading, Experiencing and Connecting
2. The Magic Lantern as a Creative Tool for Understanding the Materiality and Mathematics of Image-Making
3. Spirits in the Fairgrounds: Métempsycose and Its After-Images
Evelien Jonckheere and Kurt Vanhoutte
4. ‘We Fighters on the Outposts’: Suffragists and Lantern Slides, 1889-1913
5. Magical Attractions: Lantern Slide Lectures at British Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meetings, c. 1850-1920
6. The Missionaries’ Servant: Babel, Funding and the Bible Society in Australia
7. The Endless Universe and Eternal Life: Clement L. Wragge’s Magic Lantern Lectures
8. Flights of Fancy: The Production, Reception and Implications of Lawrence Hargrave’s Magic Lantern Lecture Lope de Vega
Ursula K. Frederick
9. Anna Mary Longshore Potts and the Anglophone Circuit for Lantern Lecturing in the Late Nineteenth Century
10. Sidney Dickinson: ‘One of the Most Entertaining Speakers Ever Upon the Melbourne Platform’
11. The Difficulties of Witnessing: Armin T. Wegner’s Lantern Slide Show on the Armenian Genocide
Vanessa Agnew and Kader Konuk
In the early 1860s the wealthy family of Rouse Hill House and Farm, situated to the north west of Sydney, New South Wales, acquired a phantasmagoria lantern, several sets of hand-painted glass slides and a music box. This show is inspired by their use of the magic lantern at the house and in the surrounding districts for the next one hundred years. It uses fifty-five magic lantern slides projected through a pair of ‘dissolving’ magic lanterns from the latter half of the nineteenth century.
Taking a photograph from the 1906 Australian tour of William Holman Hunt’s painting The Light of the World as my starting point, I explore the special relationship colonial audiences had with magic lantern shows and related entertainments. I examine the sense of ‘transport’ that audiences felt at collectively witnessing images that had been ‘transmitted’ to them from Britain. I argue that their reactions were more complex than those felt in the metropole, and in many ways anticipate our own contemporary experience of globalized media.
Kieran Browne, AI chromatrope video screengrab
Volume 43, Issue 1, 2019, pages 60-83
Martyn Jolly & Daniel Palmer
Among the various new modes for making photographs that were explored by Australian photographers in the first decades of the twentieth century, three in particular – Pictorialist images, authentic records, and personal snapshots – had far-reaching implications for the institutions of Australian photography. Pictorialist photographs are now the foundation of many Australian art museum collections; photographic records produced at the time have become iconic in Australian public history, forming the backbone of many social history collections; and personal snapshots from the period are increasingly reproduced in social histories. Historians of Australian photography have discussed and analysed each of these modes1, but they have tended to treat them separately, or even in opposition to each other, and to concentrate on the distinct careers of individual photographers. This article looks at this crucial period, and these key photographic modes, from the point of view of the worldwide networks and systems for the distribution, exhibition, collection, and indexing of photographs. We show how these modes, far from being distinct, overlapped one another as each grappled with the same issues of nation, history, and memory, and as each articulated their nationalistic concerns through international networks and idioms.
The curators of the National Portrait Gallery are thoroughly professional. Vogue Australia has been a vibrant part of our visual culture for sixty years. That’s why it’s disappointing that this show never really gets off the ground. By the time we get to Julie Bishop’s shoes it seems to be over. Is it because, as has been mentioned, the Vogue Australia archive was destroyed in a fire in 1982? A national tragedy, but the work of those great photographers, people like Laurie le Guay, Patrick Russell, Dieter Muller and Grant Matthews, was still there in the pages as ink on paper. Visitors were looking at the wonderful covers through the glass cases, how I yearned they would have had more than a few brief opportunities to have those issues opened up for them to see the fashion, design and photographic riches I know are inside. But, although it was so close on the printed page this show didn’t seem to care all that much about the history of Australian photography. Or photographers. Or design. Or fashion. But I think ordinary visitors do, more than is sometimes realised.