Artists at INTRA / What's On

Creatures of Light & Darkness

Magic Lantern art exhibition, with hand painted slides, digital performance projection, and antique lantern

An exhibition of magic lantern apparitions by Nicole Mollett and Frog Morris is lighting up our January windows at INTRA. This exhibition and collaborative performance project re-purposes pre-cinema projection equipment to create live art. The show mixes antique glass slides with modern imagery, humour and live audience interaction, a playful take on the dark and twisty moods lurking in corners at a murky time of year. The exhibition continues until Wednesday 26 January 2022.

Long before the invention of cinema, travelling entertainers would use devices known as ‘magic lanterns’ to enthral audiences with projected illusions. People who had not seen projection before may well have believed these lanterns to be magic and they were often used for trickery as well as storytelling. This ancient apparatus of lenses and lamps once conjured up strange moving phantasms in darkened rooms. And so it does again.

With the invention of cinema and increasing familiarity with moving image projection, these devices were instead sold as optical toys for children. But were they really magic? …

Live performance – 20th January 2022
A 20 minute outdoor live performance begins at: 6pm, 7pm, and 8pm.

Roll up! Roll up! Ladies and Gentlemen! Boy and Girls!
What curious creatures lurk deep under the surface of the river?

For one night only, Nicole Mollett and Frog Morris will perform a 20 minute live Magic Lantern show inspired by mythical sea creatures and the maritime history of Chatham Intra and the River Medway. They will use original Victorian devices combined with original music by local musicians Hand of Stabs, to create a moving painting of magical beings and otherworldly apparitions. 

Discover how moving images were once made by hand, with glass, paint and an old tin lantern. Your hosts will use this ancient wizardry to conjure up fantastical tales of monsters, forgotten places and satirical humour. You will not believe the wonders that await!

The projections will be viewable from outside, on the windows of the Intra Arts gallery. We advise visitors to wear suitably warm clothing. To guarantee your place on the porch, a cup of hot chocolate and to help us to keep everyone safe, please pre-book a time slot on Eventbrite (free).

The Magic Lantern performance is a commission for the High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) programme led by Medway Council and funded by Historic England.

The exhibition of hand painted slides and related artworks will be visible before and after each performance. One of the performances will be broadcast to Instagram live, so that people can also enjoy the experience from their own homes.

The Art of The Magic Lantern has been touring South East England since 2014. The company has performed and held workshops all over the UK including the Whitechapel Gallery and The Barbican.
To find out more about Nicole and Frog’s magic lantern collaborations, please visit their website:

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