Kim Uchiyama and Ken Buhler

September 5-October 20, 2024

Acts of Projection: Magic Lantern Shows and the U.S. Civil War

November 7, 2024-January 17, 2025

During the U.S. Civil War, the Northern public had a surprising outlet for processing traumatic events: magic lantern shows. These multi-media spectacles were built around the projection of colorful designs in darkened theaters and assembly rooms. Such displays were accompanied by sound: music, narration, or other audio effects. While nineteenth-century magic lantern shows often featured famous works of art, travel narratives, or stories from the Christian Bible, they also began to present war-related imagery after the outbreak of conflict in 1861. Acts of Projection encompasses both the material artifacts of lantern shows – hand-painted slides and period projectors – as well as actual projections to simulate the original viewing experience. 

Acts of Projection examines two interrelated definitions of the term projection: using light to cast designs on a surface and the psychological concept of externalizing internal anxiety. It includes a site-specific work by the artist Johnny DiBlasi in order to demonstrate the continuing relevance of the projection format.