top of page

Relict: A Phantasmagoria (2023)

Two-channel experimental documentary expanded cinema performed with magic lanterns & hand-drawn animation projections.

[magic lantern projection, handmade 65mm film magic lantern slides, digital projection, pre-recorded audio, and fog machine]

Upcoming Performances:

April 15, 2024 | The Getty - College Night (Los Angeles, CA)

April 11, 2024 | Exploratorium (San Francisco, CA) | tickets

April 4, 2024 | UnionDocs (New York, NY) | tickets

March 29, 2024  | Ann Arbor Film Festival (Ann Arbor, MI) | tickets

cryptozoology noun

cryp·​to·​zo·​ol·​o·​gy | \ ˌkrip-tə-zō-ˈä-lə-jē  , -zə-ˈwä-\

The study of and search for animals and especially legendary animals (such as Sasquatch) usually in order to evaluate the possibility of their existence.

Relict: A Phantasmagoria is an experimental documentary performed with antique magic lanterns and hand-drawn animation.  Invoking the history of magic lantern phantasmagoria as an exercise in belief and perception, Relict considers the zeitgeist of pseudoscience, fake news, religion, and documentary ethics collapsed within contemporary cryptozoology.  


Adapting modern cryptozoological lore such as Bigfoot hunts and the Loch Ness Monster to hand-drawn magic lantern slides, Relict employs the visual language of magic lantern phantasmagoria through slides based on antique designs, including rackwork slides and dissolving views.  These pre-cinematic images are infused with the aesthetics of veracity in current nonfiction filmmaking, including CGI speculative animated documentary, thermal imaging, and interventions of rotoscoped documentary re-enactment.  Inspired by the magic lantern's historical role as a tool for scientific lectures, Relict wanders through histories of documentary animation used to visualize and legitimize monstrous creatures.  The performance is nested in a collage of soundscapes, including interviews with Dr. Brian Regal (Kean University), a leading historian of science on the politics of skepticism in cryptozoology; a recent creationist sermon; and excerpts of pseudoscientific wildlife documentaries.  

After the original WIP performances of Relict: A Phantasmagoria (2020) were delayed by the pandemic for a couple of years, Melissa completed fabricating the performance at the Camera Obscura Studio Residency in Santa Monica from Sept 2022-Jan 2023.

Relict: A Phantasmagoria (2023) features approximately 70 new magic lantern slides and premiered at REDCAT in August of 2023.  


Dick Balzer Award | UK Magic Lantern Society

Red Cabbage Award | US & Canada Magic Lantern Society Convention

Relict: A Phantasmagoria (2023) Performances:

April 15, 2024 | The Getty - College Night (Los Angeles, CA)

April 11, 2024 | Exploratorium (San Francisco, CA) | tickets

April 4, 2024 | UnionDocs (New York, NY) | tickets

March 29, 2024  | Ann Arbor Film Festival (Ann Arbor, MI) | tickets

February 2024 | Bob Baker Marionette Theater (Los Angeles, CA)

October 18, 2023 | Philosophical Research Society (Los Angeles, CA)

September 23, 2023  | ArtYard Live Animation Festival (Frenchtown, NJ)

August 24-26 2023 | REDCAT NOW Festival (Los Angeles, CA)

September 14, 2023 | Chicago Underground Film Festival (Chicago, IL)

July 2023 | Larry Spring Museum of Common Sense Physics (Fort Bragg, CA)

Excerpts performed at:


Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles

Automata L.A. | Dissolving Sights: Projection Exhibition

Relict: A Phantasmagoria (2020) Performances

Cosmic Rays Film Festival (Chapel Hill, NC)

Antimatter Media Arts Fesival (Victoria B.C.)

Cucalorus Film Festival (Wilmington, NC)

WIP Performance

San Diego Underground Film Festival (San Diego, CA)


Press: KPBS San Diego Interview

Geared Magic Lanten Slide: Bipedal Cryptids
Panning Magic Lanten Slide: Pope Lick Train Trestle




Melissa Ferrari

Magic Lantern Slides

Melissa Ferrari & Benni Quintero


Melissa Ferrari, Jessica Goh, Sammy Lamb

Sound Mix

Craig Smith

65mm Film 



Largo by Johann Abraham Peter Schulz.

Performed by Thomas Bloch on glass harmonica.

Courtesy of Naxos of America, Inc.


Brian Regal Ph.D.  Historian of Science.  Kean University.


“Cryptozoology in the Bible.” Pastor Jason Robinson.

Mountain Baptist Church. West Virginia, October 21, 2018. 

Courtesy of

Archival Audio from

Relict_PerformanceSetup at CUFF.jpg
bottom of page