The main idea behind the installation was to create a way to integrate the original Magic Lanterns into today’s society. Old traditional lanterns depended heavily on a large lantern base, different lenses, the venue where the show took place, the lantern slides and most importantly the reaction of their audience. Magic Lantern shows were advertised as massive gatherings and enabled a large number of users to witness the same story and the magic it contained at the same time.
We wanted to preserve a few of the characteristics of the Magic Lantern while building our own lantern, such as the ability to move both small and large groups of people, and to get a response out of them; just as the original lantern would do. Lastly, we wanted to combine both a analogue- and digital approach to transform the Magic Lantern into an installation that would use the core concept of the Lanterns from back in the day, but also to use modern day technology such as smartphones and digitally mixed audio to interest a wider group of people.
After an extensive and thorough research period, we managed to find the core of what exactly would drive our own lantern. Traditional lanterns used light, lantern slides and reflective glass to project their story. Our own Magic Lantern uses a own light source and specially designed lantern slides, which can be manipulated by using 3D anaglyph glasses. No projections are made with our own lantern. The user is free to walk around the lantern in full 360 degrees.
The user is required to use the 3D glasses and to cut off one side of the glass so that he or she is able to see the full story they want to listen to. The red and blue within the 3D glasses define the two different stories that are told; the original story of Cinderella and a mock-up, darkened version of the story containing adult themes such as rape, forced marriage and a lack of gender equality. The user is free to choose which story he or she wants to listen to by using their own smartphone and headset.
The construction of the lantern enables every single user to experience the story they choose in a different way. Due to the use of different colours within the lantern slides, specific parts of the lantern slide will show, or completely disappear depending on the colour of the glass you are watching through. Through this approach, we were able to create a Magic Lantern that both embraced the original idea of what these lanterns can do, but also managed to upgrade the lantern to the 21st century.