Ken Jacobs performance: Nervous Magic Lantern

6 April, 2014 - 20:30


A pioneer of American avant-garde cinema, Ken Jacobs (US, 1933) is still (at 80 years old) one of its most prolific figures, having enthusiastically embraced digital filmmaking in the late 1990s. From the seminal Tom, Tom the Piper’s Son to the Nervous Magic Lantern performances and his recent digital and 3D explorations, Jacobs is an essential filmmaker whose work is an uncompromised declaration of love for cinema.

in collaboration with Vooruit


Nervous Magic Lantern

Ken Jacobs & Aki Onda

The Nervous Magic Lantern, a manifestation of Jacobs’ ‘paracinema’, is an ecstatic, ephemeral, hallucinatory, three-dimensional viewing experience, which he evocatively describes as ‘cinema without film or electronics’. Combining aspects of his earlier Nervous System apparatus with a traditional magic lantern projector, Jacobs creates an illusory dreamworld, where the spectator is immersed in abstract, rotating visions. With this performance, Jacobs returns to cinema’s roots, underlining the importance of precinema in his work. Before the invention of celluloid, audiences were mesmerised by the Phantasmagoria – a lamp, lens and painted slides; today, Jacobs transforms hand-crafted collages into impossible and unforgettable visual phenomena. Ken Jacobs and Aki Onda first collaborated for a live projection event at BOZAR, Brussels, in 2007, and have since performed together on a number of occasions. Onda (JP, 1967) is an electronic musician, composer, and visual artist who currently resides in new York. He is particularly known for his Cassette Memories project – works compiled from a ‘sound diary’ of field-recordings collected by the artist over a span of two decades.