About us

Magic Lantern Studio is a multidisciplinary art studio based in Fitzroy, Melbourne. It was conceived in 2009 by Gonzalo Varela and Lucy Parkinson after having worked together in numerous artist collectives in Europe. Its initial incarnation as a shop which indulged a mutual love of pre-cinema technologies and puppets, was eventually eclipsed by art projects of a similar ilk. Now Magic Lantern creates commissioned artworks for the public in the form of murals, sculpture and large and small scale puppet shows and theatrical scenography, drawing from a pool of trusted collaborators on a project by project basis. (Please refer to our collaborators page for direct links).

Our education program encompasses puppetry, theatre, scenography, painting and animation through pre-cinema technologies. We offer workshops through schools, local councils and festivals, and periodically host the workshops of specialist practitioners at our premises in Fitzroy.


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Lucy Parkinson – Artist Biography.

In 2018, Lucy graduated from Masters of Contemporary Art at VCA. Recently, Lucy creates painted wooden dioramas re-visioning cosmologies in light of new scientific knowledge, combining source materials hetero-chronically and drawing attention to the commonalities beneath perceptual bias.

Intangible heritages, transferal of ideas, ritual structures, myth, theology, time, astrophysics and the adaptation of old stories to new knowledge, provide fertile territory for her exploration of “Ontological Storytelling”. Physics and Storytelling operate at the edge of the unknown, attempting to render reality tangible and create a foothold for the deeper exploration of reality.

Lucy is particularly interested in how Quantum Cosmology continues shifting the parameters of the perception of reality, opening it to realities that are subjective, unstable, emergent and entangled. For her, it inspires the composting of old stories to grow new meanings and decolonizes space-time-thinking, often revealing frameworks more appropriate for intuiting quantum reality and the ambiguity it proffers.

Being the mother of two young boys, Lucy is drawn to the importance of storytelling in shaping perception. Her son’s curiosity about black holes, multiverses and monsters, are a major inspiration for Lucy in her creation of speculative fictions. She hopes her dioramas contribute to probing inherited knowledge, provide dialogue between the arts and sciences and create logical worlds, which serve to contemplate our embeddedness, interconnectedness and entanglement with nature, matter and one another.

Lucy deploys elements mined from stories, myth, ritual and scientific mapping techniques to create unexpected juxtapositions and re-readings, which subvert the inherited assumptions of the original narrative structures. She uses folk and historical source materials: Magic Lantern Slides, stereoscopic images, performance documentation, illuminated manuscripts, cult cinema and ancient sculpture. Historical compositions reveal shifts in ways of seeing and isolate the repetitive and primordial obsessions of man.


Gonzalo Varela – Artist Biography

Gonzalo Varela Studied Art at the University of La Plata, Argentina, where he later went on to teach. He is a multidisciplinary artist, working in large scale puppetry, paint, sculpture, film and sculpture to create hypothetical worlds which contemplate love, trust and yearning.

Recently Gonzalo has been perverting narrative tropes to create hallucinogenic experiences which combine, sound, multimedia, large scale puppetry and special effects. In 2018, he wrote and directed “The Man Who Cannot Sleep” for White Night, and received a Green Room award for puppetry for “Life is a Carousel”, a show he wrote and directed for La Mama in 2017. These works were both realised in collaboration with Lachlan Plain from Sanctum Theatre. His large-scale puppetry involves archetypal characters and scenography which are frequently displaced in space or time. This enables him to isolate the timeless obsessions of the human heart against its transient influences, such as technology and surveillance.

In his painting practice, Gonzalo is guided by “La Mancha”, or stain. Like a Rorschach test, the stain suggests forms emanating from the unconscious. In his process, Gonzalo elaborates upon these unconscious forms, tweaking and delivering them into the world of the conscious

Gonzalo Varela Extended Resume