Optical chamber of wonders

Laterna Magica, Altonaer Museum

The current exhibition is based on the museum’s stock of 450 magic lantern pictures. It considers the question as to what stories can be told with this set of pictures. Magic lanterns work according to the same principle as the camera obscura, just the other way round. Inside these projecting devices from the 17th century, a source of light is shone through a lens to the outside. On the outside there is a holder for attaching glass pictures through which the light is shone to project images onto a wall or screen.

The second room of this exhibition transforms an installation by the Hamburg artist Tim John into a walk-in paper theatre which also involves the “Eidophusikon” cloud theatre. The “Eidophusikon” (from the Greek: copying nature) was invented by the English landscape painter and stage designer Philip James de Loutherbourg in London in 1781. It works like a mechanical stage without actors to present an accurate depiction of a moving landscape using pictures, light and sound.

It offers a particularly interesting comparison to the Paper Theatre where the technology of the Eidophusikon has been implemented in miniature. Due to its sophisticated light effects the Eidophusikon is considered to be a precursor of the cinema, but in fact it went out of fashion soon after it had been invented. This once lost art-form has now been reawakened to amaze and astound you in the Altonaer Museum.

presentation of the Eidophusikon: Samstag und Sonntag um 15.30 Uhr


02 tim john  papiertheater installation 2  2006  foto ulrike pfeifferTim john  optische wunderkammer  altonaer museumTim john  papiertheater installation  altonaer museumLaterna magica schiebebild.zugfahrt.deutschland um1900.foto altonaer museumLaterna magica schiebebilder.aschenputtel.deutschland um1900.foto altonaer museum.bearbeitetKruenitz johann georg oekonomisch technologische encyklopaedieTim john  papiertheater installation (detail)  altonaer museum

photo: Ulrike Pfeiffer

Altonaer Museum