Originally published in the catalogue of Eduardo Kac's solo exhibition Holopoetry 1983-1990, April-June 1990, Museum of Holography, New York, p. 5.

On Kac’s computer holopoems

Joan Truckenbrod

Computer holography emerges in this exhibition as a new form of artistic expression. Holography allows artists to create elusive three-dimensional environments that have a unique visual presence. Blended with color fields these holograms become elegant visual statements. Computer graphic systems, on the other hand, allow artists to create visual representations of totally imaginary objects or environments –– worlds completely created by the artist and visualized with the aid of computer three-dimensional modeling systems.

The synthesis of computer graphics and holography is a dynamic vehicle for artists who can now make “real” their fantasies and imagined spaces. Through the use of computer graphics and holography these imaginary projections take on the sense of reality –– the characteristics of reality that holography projects. The other exciting dynamic of computer holography is the artist’s ability to create transformation or change in the three-dimensional object or space. In traditional holography the object maintains its integrity from any perspective or angle that it is viewed. Using the computer to create the holographic image, the artist fabricates an object or space that is dynamic, that transforms as the viewer changes position. Thus the piece becomes a kinetic work of art.

Eduardo Kac’s artwork creates a new context for communication using computer holography. Text is normally deciphered in a linear manner with meaning assigned in response to the order of the letters. These holograms might initially create a sculptural appearance, but upon examination the viewer discovers that the letters change their order when viewed from different perspectives.

Through the use of straight holography or through the combination of pulsed holography with computer holography, Kac creates a unique synthesis of imagery and ideas. In some of his works, like in “Omen”, he creates a smoked-filled space and then injects a series of floating letterforms. Meaning changes in time and space. Movement through the hologram induces new meaning. Ordering of the letters and the consequent meaning of the word is dependent upon the orientation of the viewer. This artwork is the horizon of a new form of artistic expression.

Joan Truckenbrod is a Professor in the Art and Technology Department at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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