NEWS, LECTURES & EVENTS


Registrations are now open and currently set at 280 Eu, the same cost as in 2023.
This rate will be valid until AUGUST 2024 (one year to the conference), after which a small surcharge will be applied.
Registration includes all the lectures and events from 21 to 24 August, the welcome party, the gala dinner and the closing show.
Lunch on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 and the special event on Sunday 24 are not included, registrations for these events will be opened later on.
Cancellation is free until December 2024, except a 5% processing fee commission. From January to April 2025 cancellation costs are 50% of the registration fees, from May 2025 no refunds will be possible.




The Official Poster of the event is ready !
We hope that you like it and that you will like as well the full conference.
                See you in August 2025 !

We’re working actively at the program and we do have a lot of interesting ideas already on the table! Do you want to take a glimpse to it?  Follow the updates below...

Pauliina Räsänen (Finland)

Paulina is an illusionist and PhD researcher at the The School of History, Culture and Arts Studies, University of Turku. Her research interest is the feminine viewpoint to the history of circus and magic arts. After flying on the trapeze in Cirque du Soleil, Räsänen co-founded ArtTeatro Ltd, a Finland based circus and magic production company.


 During the Conference in Riga Paulina will speak about her research:
 

Celebrated but Forgotten:
Female Magicians in the Northern Europe in 1880s-1890s.



Celebrated but Forgotten:
Female Magicians in the Northern Europe in 1880s-1890s.

During the Golden Era of Magic, many female magicians became international stars of magic on Northern European stages. Viennese Sidonie Roman (1850*-1950*) and Danish Pauline Schmidt (1865-1944) traveled on their own across Northern European countries of Finland, Sweden, Russia, Norway, France, Poland and Denmark captivating audiences with their novelty illusions and magical feats. Despite their impressive careers and groundbreaking contributions to the art of magic, these women have been overshadowed by their male counterparts in the annals of history. Through an examination of their lives, careers, and achievements, I aim to shed light on the agency of traveling female artists, who shaped the new womanhood ideals at at the threshold of the modern era.




 

Dace Pezzoli (Latvia)

Performer, former teacher, sand painting artist, head of Museum and Theater of Illusion MYSTERO, Dace is also researcher of Latvian history of magic.

Together with former Riga Circus Director Lolita Lipinska, Dace collected information about Latvian magicians from XIX till XX century beginning, the result have been partially published in short videos (translated in English and Russian language) that are free to watch in the web page of Mystero.

In her lecture 

Tales of a Latvian travelling magician:
San Martino de Kastrozza 

Dace will finally unveil many little-known anecdotes about the life of "Professor San  De Kastrozza".

During the last 20 years Dace collected as much as possible information about the life and the repertoire of Julius Skrastiņš and this lecture is the result of this research. 

Tales of a Latvian travelling magician
San Martino de Kastrozza

San Martino de Kastrozza real name was Julius Skrastiņš (sometimes mistakenly wrote as – Krastiņš); he was a Latvian magician, born in Valmiera in 1877 and died in Braunau, Austria, in 1946, where is actually buried.

In 1891 a young Julius met in Riga Bruno Schenk  who take him in his troupe as his assistant and student.

From that moment Julius Skrastiņš understood what to do in his life and never look back. His career and success grow rapidly and bring him around the world in front of head of State as the King of Spain, the Shah of Persia or the Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.

De Kastrozza (also mistakenly known as “De Kastrocca”) toured extensively in all Europe especially in Estonia (where he met his wife Emilia Anete, his partner in the show as Miss Iris De Kastrozza”) and in Finland, where he was often resident for long periods, for that reason, today, there is still confusion about his origin and is often confused as Finnish or Estonian. However he was born and raised in Latvia, where he often comes back to perform between 1910 and 1937 and was very popular and well known.


 

We are proud to announce the participation of a panel of experts from the University of Bologna, Italy, to introduce the project "UseFool", a very interesting research of which you can read below !  The researchers will debate in a panel titled:

                                 "THE ARABIC MEDIAEVAL TRADITION: IT’S JUST LIKE MAGIC!" 

         ERC Project UseFool
Knowledge and manipulation of nature between usefulness and deception in the Arabo-Islamic tradition (9th–15th c.)

UseFool brings together a corpus of previously unexplored Arabic technical sources that illustrate how to exploit the properties of natural substances in order to entertain and deceive.
The project considers for the first time the technical knowledge of nature as applied by merchants, charlatans, craftsmen, and entertainers in the streets, markets, and other public and private urban spaces of the Arabo-Islamic Mediaeval and early modern world. 
Erudite scholars and street performers alike were engaged with the knowledge of nature and its numerous applications. UseFool investigates the parallel development of this interest in the different social and intellectual groups engaged in the transmission of this knowledge and involved in its practice. 

Lucia Raggetti
A Rabbit from the Turban.
The Natural Science of Magic in the Arabo-Islamic Middle age.

The Mediaeval Arabo-Islamic culture offers a unique case study 
for the exploration of illusionistic magic and in the premodern world of entertainment. 
The uniquely abundant textual corpus: 
-four different handbooks and countless literary echoes- 
allows to explore different perspective on magic for entertainment: that of the master of courtly ceremonies, the one of the officer appointed to control public life and markets, or the learned performer who could enchant princes and enthrall common people equally. 
Between the lines of manuscripts and through the replication and re-enactment of the procedures, one sees that a deep knowledge of nature animates the tricks, and this is where history of science and history of magic meet.

Sara Fani & Marianna Marchini  
Magic on the Tip of the Pen. Impossible Surfaces and Inks for Special Effects

Making and using ink for writing was a commonly shared experience in the premodern Arabo- Islamic world, a practice based on an empirical knowledge of natural substances. 
Almost any ink, however, has the potential to turn into an extraordinary experience. 
In the case of black ink, it is enough to tweak the order of the phases and the writing will seem to appear from thin air;
while coloured inks are presented as a technical wonder in themselves. 
Moreover, the writing surface offers another angle to exploit the wonders of writing.

Marco Baschetti & Marianna Marchini
Let’s Egg on!   History, Tricks & Secrets of Arabic Mediaeval Egg Magic

Between its association with a synthesis of the cosmos and its culinary role, eggs are one of the magic tools that invariably occurs in premodern Arabic handbooks on illusionism and magic tricks.
Either in a dedicated chapter or listed among other special effects, eggs play a major role, possibly for their large availability. The range of tricks is definitely wide, from the roly-poly egg to the soften ones that can pass though rings and bottle necks.
A special case is represented by the tradition of writing on eggs, which is attested already from antiquity and travelled through many centuries and different cultures till our time and in Central Europe was introduced only in the late XVI century from Giambattista Della Porta in his Magiae Naturalis.
The Arabic episode of this story, along with its replication, gives the occasion to solve the technical riddle of inscribed eggs.

Meet the experts of UseFool:

Lucia Raggetti
Professor of Arabic science, PI of the UseFool Project, her expertise focuses on Arabic manuscript sources dealing with the knowledge of nature, about which she published
widely.

Sara Fani
Assistant Professor of Arabic, expert in Arabic paleography, codicology, and early prints. She widely published on Arabic manuscripts, inks, and Arabic technical literature ingeneral.

Marco Baschetti
 
PhD candidate working on the pseudo-galenic tradition of uroscopy in Arabic,
its Greek roots and later reception.

Marianna Marchini 

Assistant Professor of photo-chemistry, she is a pioneer in the
interdisciplinary research that unites humanities and hard sciences.

Walter Maffei (Italy)

 

Walter Maffei is a professional magician and actor from North Italy.

Since childhood he has been fascinated, literally, by the magic of movies, with time this interest developed in a particular collection of information and video clip and, later on, in a perpetual research of the anthropologic aspect of magic in modern culture.
In the lasts years he received numerous international awards and his articles and glossary have been edited on books and magazine for magician in Italy.

In his lecture
           Magic & Movies:
A short story of a long relationship
 Walter Maffei will explore 100 years of the cinema/magic perfect combination.

 

 

Magic & Movies:
A short story of a long relationship

 

From George Melies till our modern days, Cinema and Magic have often crossed their paths.

Have you ever thought about how many times we have seen an illusionist or a magician in a film?
Since the cinema was born, until today, we can count thousands of cinema scenes in which the protagonists are magicians. Many movies have even had the character of illusionist as the main role. 

For several years magic tricks and illusions have even been used as “special effects” in movies, long before the modern CGI was introduced.

In a short compilation of movies extracts Walter Maffei will illustrate a short history of this connection with a bit of humor and storytelling.

The first visit is confirmed! 
Welcome to the
  SPLENDID PALACE 


Splendid Palace is one of the most magnificent and long-standing European cinemas that has brought joy to film lovers with excellent quality art since 1923. 

Since the very beginning, the cinema stood out due to an excellent film repertoire and perfect service. During the silent film era, a wonderful orchestra provided the visitors with an immersive experience into the films’ universes. 

Splendid Palace was a trailblazer in many aspects. It was the first cinema in the Baltics to screen sound films, and in the 1930s, it became the premier venue for showing Latvian films. The cinema was very successful – statistics show that from 1923 to 1940, the cinema was visited by 6 million viewers. 

  HOUDINI movies:

"The Master Mystery"


Step back in time: once you enter the Splendid Palace doors you will feel like to be back in the '20.
For this reason, during the visit of this magnificent building, we will organize the projection of a selection of the Houdini movie "The Master Mystery" with live music from a piano to give a full feeling of the silent movies era and, of course, the magic of Houdini.
Besides, during the day, there will be other activities that will connect movies with magic, as the conference of Walter Maffei (see above in the news) and others at which we are working.
You can read more about  the Cinema building in the web page:  www.splendidpalace.lv/en 

A market of antique props, poster, memorabilia will be organized during Saturday and Sunday. If you are interested in a space let us know.