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David Francis mans the magic lantern.

The Mechanical Age

Saturday, September 30, 2006
7:00 p.m. The Magic Lantern and the Mechanical Age

Presentation by David Francis and Joss Marsh
Judith Rosenberg on Piano

Please note: this program will be presented in the Museum Theater at the Berkeley Art Museum, 2621 Durant Avenue between Bowditch and College.

David Francis has charmed and enlightened audiences internationally with his presentations of vintage magic lantern slides, projected glass-plate images that were a precursor to cinema. The heyday of the magic lantern was the second half of the nineteenth century, a time when the railway, the ocean liner, and even the bicycle opened up the possibility of local, national, and international travel. Some traveled for leisure, while others visited distant lands to fight for queen and country. Britain, the largest producer of lanterns and slides in the world, was an industrial society that reveled in inventions and took easily to the camera, the telephone, and electric light. In tonight's program, Francis teams with Joss Marsh to demonstrate how the concerns and interests of the era influenced the images seen on the lantern screen, and how magic lantern technology was itself an important part of the mechanical age.

• (Total program time: c. 120 mins)