i got into Eyes, Lies & Illusions for free, by pretending to be r.sinker not m.sinker and thus in the education&outreach racket. This wz a good thing, cz it’s a bit lame for ‘9, sadly. Werner Nekes’s collection is exhaustive but that actually means a lot of repetition w.minor variation, and – ok this sounds fucked-up but it’s true – we kinda moved a real long way on in the technology of phantasmagorickal visual wonder trickery and trumpery, and it wz really quite dull and disappointing, except maybe for praxinoscope collectors and similar obsessives and specialists (the final section inc.lots of stuff by Eaeadweaeard Muybridge, ie the birth of cinema; earlier elements being distorting mirrors, peephole boxes containing perspective illusions, shadow lanterns etc).

Some of the items were very charming, but the pile-up of scarcely varied similarity (instead of one such-and-such there wd be a line) was boring, and half of the things didn’t really seem to DO anything, an eye-opener only in the sense of how easily visually pleased and gadget-deprived earlier centuries were: not their fault obv (also i imagine the brightness of the original colours had faded a lot) => the loveliest things i think were the 16th and 17th century books abt optics, vast detailed tomes in which, precisely bcz visualising technology wz so limited (b/w woodcuts or lithographs), you had to do the work with words… tho of course you could not flip through these books as they were in glass cases

also the what-the-butler-saw “exotic dancer” said “one cent” on the machine but only worked if you put a POUND COIN in it!!!! Anyway only go if yr really REALLY already into this kind of material and FOR GOD’S SAKE DON’T TAKE KIDs unless they are even more into it than you.

(best overheard remark: “it wasn’t really an art class but they did have access to felt tip pens”)