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| 10/27/2008 12:00:00 AM

'Phantasmagoria: Specters of Absence' at USC's Fisher Museum of Art

Oct 27 -- Freelance writer Leah Ollman reviews art exhibition "Phantasmagoria", originally curated for the Art Museum of Colombia's national bank and now presented at the University of Southern California.

The original phantasmagorias were theatrical thrill rides, equal parts haunted house, communal séance and intense dream. Spectacles that played in Paris, London and beyond beginning about 1800, they used pre-cinematic rear projections, smoke and manipulated lantern slides to create illusions of figures advancing and receding, creatures materializing and dissolving.

Viewers knew what they were getting into -- the shows were entertainment, not scientific efforts to raise the dead -- but the experience tapped into primal human wonder about mortality and its residual traces, the immateriality of the soul and the foggy boundary between absence and presence.

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EDICIÓN 1829

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