Kerry Laitala - 2009, 11:00, 16mm, San Francisco, CA

In 1646, Kircher published Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae, on the subject of the display of images on a screen using an apparatus similar to the magic lantern as developed by Christian Huygens. Using this apparatus as a tool to enchant, spellbind and spook, Paul de Philipsthal, Robertson and other conjurors dazzled spectators with their unique bag of 18th Century tricks, raising up the spirits of recently deceased and reminding the viewer of the “fate that awaits us all”. “Spectrology” calls upon conjurors of the past and their secret repertoire of magical devices to simulate a modern rendition of the phantasmagoria. The medium of cinema is harnessed to entice the viewer and ruminate on the mesmerizing presence of various illusions made anew.

Laitala grew up in the wilds of the Maine coast, while developing a chronic passion for old things. She attended Massachusetts College of Art studying Photography and Film and received her Masters degree from the San Francisco Art Institute in Film. Laitala has received numerous awards such as the Princess Grace Award in 1996 and subsequent grants in 2004 and 2007. She has also won a 2007 GOLDIE from The Bay Guardian and has twice won the a Golden Gate Award from the San fancisco International Film Festival. Her work has been screened internationally and in the celestial ether which connects us with the music of the spheres.


Artists' Television Access is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, all-volunteer, artist-run, experimental media arts gallery that has been in operation since 1984. ATA hosts a series of film and video screenings, exhibitions and performances by emerging and established artists and a weekly cable access television program.