The “Magic” of New and Antiquated Technologies

My research proposes to investigate inherent the “magical” properties of visual illusions and to question how 19th century technologies or devices correlate, engage, and inform contemporary and digital forms of technology. In it’s most basic sense, magic is the feeling one experiences during an event that is both beautiful, strange, and out of the ordinary. It is the attempt to connect all that is beyond reality through the creation of a moment wherein our understanding of reality is called into question. It requires a willingness to suspend disbelief and sacrifice realism.

Once considered scientific and technological advancements, displayed throughout Europe in “Scientific fairs”, optical illusions such as Pepper’s Ghost and the magic lanterns of the Phantasmagoria would now be considered basic “optical tricks”. Within my research it is my intention to recreate these antiquated illusions using a combination of both new technology and old methodology in order to determine how the methods and technology of the past has informed and produced the technology of today. Along side this material research is my interest in the viewer’s sense experience and perception. Is our current interest in visual and sensorial illusions an echo from the past? What is it about the experience of magic that is seemingly timeless?

Anastasia Ferguson, originally from Saskatoon Saskatchewan, Anastasia moved to Montreal in 2009. In 2011 she was accepted into Concordia’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, where she completed her BFA in Film Production. She is currently an MFA candidate at Concordia University specializing in Intermedia.