Laterna magika, which combines multi-genre theatre performances and film projections on several screens on the stage, emerged as a representative cultural promotional programme of Czechoslovakia designed for the international exhibition Expo 58. Its extraordinary success gave rise to an eponymous series of performances and subsequently a permanent theatre stage based on the same production principle. Due to its experimental nature, combination of several media, merging of fine arts and the development of new (especially projection) technologies and finally collaboration with many remarkable personalities, it became a unique phenomenon in the context of both Czech and international art. Besides the founders of Laterna magika, Emil and Alfréd Radoks, the collaborators further included directors Ján Roháč, Vladimír Svitáček, Ladislav Rychman, Miloš Forman and other distinguished filmmakers and artists – Evald Schorm, Jan Švankmajer, Radúz Činčera, Jiří Šlitr and Zdeněk Liška among others.
The research project Laterna magika. Past and Present, Documentation, Preservation and Presentation comprises the collection of archives from private and public collections as well as extensive interviews with contemporaries. An integral part consists in working with film material which was handed over to the National Film Archive in 2010; its preservation, description and digitization of parts selected by curators. The historical and cinematic field of research are supplemented with the creation of new multimedia data; experimental recording and animation of the movements of the dancers and 3D visualization of Laterna magika performances. The multidisciplinary nature of the works of Laterna magika is reflected in the composition of the research team which comprises experts in humanities as well as in technical fields. The principal investigator of the project running between 2016 and 2019 is the National Film Archive in collaboration with the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague, CESNET association and the Czech Technical University in Prague.
Presentation and interpretation of the work of Laterna magika as a multimedia audiovisual work in collaboration with contemporary artists.
The exhibition will be held in Brno in the spring of 2019 and in Prague in the fall of the same year. A detailed Czech-English catalogue will be published on the occasion of the exhibition.
New Digital Collection
Archives, interviews, multimedia and films will be interconnected and made accessible to the professional and general public at a single venue.
Studies in specialized periodicals and participation in international conferences.
The research is funded by the Applied Research and Development of National and Cultural Identity (NAKI II) programme of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic.