You may have seen some of the holographic extravaganzas that have been staged around the world. Anime girls sing and dance, and a glowing, roaring dragon rears up out of a pond in a shopping mall in Tokyo every day at 10, 2 and 4. Holograms are the new wave of the future, until the arrival of a newer, flashier distraction from solving problems of human nature. The holograms are coming, to become passe and replaced by something that becomes old hat in its turn.
The image of rapper Tupac Shakur used at the Coachella Music Festival was not really a hologram, it turns out. That was a projection on a sheet of glass. Holograms are much more sophisticated techniques. A company called Digicon Media is planning a major hologram show featuring the image of Marilyn Monroe. This one promises to be at the very cutting edge of the technology when it rolls out. But problems will persist even if the technology becomes thoroughly perfected.
It’s one thing to have a star from the past dancing and walking around as a hologram, but how is the personality of that individual to be captured and used for anything else? It seems you would be stuck with recycling old movie clips, otherwise it’s just an image of the person singing modern songs or acting differently from how they ever would have in life. A living impersonator would be almost preferable (except that would have a human element, and we’re trying so hard to get away from all that.) If they ever solve the problem of duplicating what was inside the dead movie star’s head, and not just the outermost part, we may move on to a situation where old, dead stars are commonly “resurrected” holographically. The visual aspect will soon be perfected, on movie screens at least.
This new reality would add another constriction of the market for struggling new talent. And the competition for those young people is tough enough, or at least numerous enough. Adding the greatest superstars of history into the mix could not be helpful for moving the culture forward.
Any significant application of holographic performers is still some years off, but it’s coming. Since it’s only a business of dollars and cents for the people who make the decisions, there’s no doubt that whatever gooses the bottom line will be what gets done. As soon as resurrecting old pop stars is feasible it will be done. The entertainment industry has a solid track record for recycling. There is not a television series from the 1960s that hasn’t been released as a major motion picture, except maybe for My Mother The Car. Often it’s just the title that they cop, because the whole purpose is saving X cents on advertising by using a title that somebody somewhere has heard before. Even “The Sixth Sense” was a 1970s TV series, though very different from the Bruce Willis movie.
Echoes of the past are a part of the now. But we have to leave our own legacy as well.