As VR experiences, immersive digital environments, and massive-scale installations bring us closer and closer to the uncanny valley, holography sometimes seems to be sitting on the sidelines, waiting for societal tastes to come around to its retro-futuristic aesthetic. As the project director for the Center for Holographic Arts, I used to welcome hundreds of daily visitors to its Long Island City gallery, and then, later, its summer venue on Governors Island. I delighted in watching people’s awed reactions, letting them take it all in before explaining anything about how the pieces were made.
But the holographic arts are complex, and eventually everyone wants to know how they work. Here’s Holocenter director Dr. Martina Mrongovius illuminating the process of holographic creation and the history of the nonprofit that is dedicated to preserving and promoting this unique art form.
Since its 1998 origins as a holographic portrait gallery in the basement of PS1, the Center for Holographic Arts has attracted lots of curious visitors. Some of the more famous ones left behind their likenesses in 3-D, including Keith Haring, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Walter Cronkite. Dr. Mrongovius maintained these archives, eventually putting them and many more beautiful works on display, through a grant from No Longer Empty, in the grand lobby and historic bank vault of a Long Island City clock tower.