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ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art offers a fascinating insight into holography
Edward Lowe, “Window Memory and Perception of the Future“, 1983-84, Mixed Media Installation, White-Light-Transmission Hologram, 254 x 264 x 365 cm
© Museum for Holography, Pulheim.

KARLSRUHE.- In holography – one of the most important methods of image generation in the 20th century – science, technology and art reciprocally fertilize one another in a special way. Subsequent to its discovery as analog, three-dimensional imaging technique, in 1948, by English scientist and Nobel Prize-winner of Hungarian extraction, Dennis Gábor, holographically stored information and images have entered into an entire range of fields in everyday life: in identity papers, banknotes and security systems, as well as in the advertising industry, in illusionist entertainment and, above all, in art.

While the invention of the laser in 1960 led, more especially, to the development of real and virtual “three-dimensional” images, the fascinating and creative attributes of holography first came to be used more frequently and thus rapidly developed from the 1970s onwards. One of the first, large-scale exhibitions of holography witnessed a highpoint in the artistic application of holography under the title “Mehr Licht” [More Light] in the Hamburg Kunsthalle as early as 1985. And, in 1986, tens of thousands of visitors were fascinated by the examples of holography on display at the exhibition HOLOMEDIA ’86, in the Städtischen Galerie in Prinz-Max-Palais, Karlsruhe.

But, whereas the technical, further development of holography and its familiar everyday application has almost gone unnoticed, since the 1990s, the artistic interest has clearly shifted to the field of digital image generation. Digital photography has become one among the many everyday technological devices: the contemporary world is no longer conceivable without digital images. Following this development, as a medium, holography has withdrawn into the background.

Three-dimensional imaging technology, however, is currently celebrating a triumphant comeback in cinema, in the form of the 3D film. Thus, increasingly, greater interest is evident in holography. This is owing to the fact that holographic techniques played and continue to play the role of a catalyzer, which points to new illusionist processes. The aesthetic sources of contemporary 3D technology, also goes back to holography. Ever since its founding in 1989, the ZKM | Karlsruhe has made decisive contributions to the further development of such methods in the field of digital imaging. With the institute’s productions, and with its guest artists, it has played an important role in the artistic application of those pictures that shape our world. Since the beginning of the 1990s, it has been home to one of the largest holographic collections in Europe. With a selection of art works, the exhibition, opening in July, 2013 – 65 years after the invention of holography – offers a fascinating insight into this collection.

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