Eduardo Kac, On holography, in: Ross Harley, ed., New media technologies, New South Wales 1993, pp. 122–39.


In other words, the computer is no longer a medium of writing but also of reading. And the same instruments that are in the hands of artists to make the work are in the hands of viewers to experience the work. The computer is an environment in which all the different arts converge. You have motion, 3D, interactivity, sound, text, image, animation, programming, and real time. You have to understand that in those days many people had two things in their homes. They had a computer and a separate terminal to go online. To me it was evident that those two things would become one object. So the computer would not only be that environment shared between the reader and the writer, but also a window into the network, which would make it a relational, dialogical window into the other.

T.H.: But why did holography become a paradigmatic medium for your purpose?

E.K.: In 1982 I created my first digital poem, but I felt that the computer in those days was still very, very limited, and even though the paradigm shift was clear, in the experience of the viewer it still somewhat resembled the typographic world. The flatness of the screen evoked the flatness of the page (today even more so with ebooks). Holography did not. What I did in holography could not, cannot be done on the computer screen or the printed page.

T.H.: Can you explain the experience that holography creates between the image and the viewer? How does it influence the image-making process?

E.K.: Well, the question is not holography itself but rather what I wanted to accomplish that I could not accomplish in any other way. I did not use holography as you find it; I did not use holography as a three-dimensional medium. I developed my own techniques in order to create a discontinuous syntax that produces no gestalt. There is no unity of form in the holopoem. I created a turbulent, unstable syntax of spacetime events. Never can you see the whole poem at once.

T.H.: So the crucial point was that you found a way to materialize a kind of absence, a kind of blind spot, in the very presence of the holographic image? I can imagine that a static image, which we can grasp, overlook and also contemplate in its stable and unchanging syntax, was not of interest anymore. But when I look at those holographic images, I wonder: does the viewer actually experience a significantly different kind of time? What do you think?

E.K.: General holographic images are not the point here because most holographic images you see ordinarily, like the ones on your credit card, strive to conform to visual standards. I wrote an essay in which I discuss this at length. [1]

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