As an integral component of the Congress each artist was asked to speak for a ten minute period about their past, present or future work. Because of the number of representatives attending, even the short period of ten minutes meant that the artist's presentations accounted for a major portion of the congress proper as is evidenced in the schedule presented at the beginning of the report.
Most of the artists presented photographic documentation of their work in the form of slides since the slide format had been requested. Some others presented videotapes and provided commentary during the presentation of the tape or allowed the videotape's audio track to speak for them. It became apparent that the difficulty of documenting one's work in media outside holography continues to present a complex challenge to all artist/holographers. Although video and sequenced slides can "track" the work they don't permit the real time interactivity which is one of the hallmarks of the medium. Likewise they do not convey any of the stereoscopic nuances that evolve from one's kinaesthetic intimacy with the image.
Despite these limitations, most representatives to the congress expressed a keen interest in the artist's sessions. Unfortunately the shear length of text generated by the transcription of these presentations makes their recreation here impossible since it alone requires nearly sixty some printed pages. In order to convey the tone of these sessions we have selected a brief section of each artists presentation to be reproduced here. The complete transcript is available under seperate cover as indicated on the final page of this report.
Paul Newman - United Kingdom
"I'd been working in photography to try and achieve a certain colour balance which I couldn't get, and I'd seen what I thought I was after with holography, starting playing with it. I started working purely with the diffractive form & I've been creating within that, mixing with all kinds of other media to create these images which I've refer to generically just as light forms. I'm interested in the dynamism of the light & the colour combinations that I can achieve. I'm looking for a very transient image. I want an image that is delicate."
Frithioff Johnasen - Denmark
"Many ways seems a very artificial and forced idea. Like many other things if life, when you reach out for it, it recedes. Personally, I oftern run into self-contradictions and dilemmas when I use the word art, that has come to mean everything or nothing. Everything may be art perhaps except art, which is a cliche. Before I became involved in holography I had found out that now and then I need a little suicide in order to stay alive, meaning not to petrify. I would make unsaleable objects or wierd installations, certainly more fun for myself that my art dealers and customers, but it worked as catalyst for myself. In 1984 holography became my suicide attempt. I had decided not to go steady with the medium."
Pascal Gauchet - France
"There was a very frustrating situation. There was nowhere in France that I could carry on the work that I had started in England. I went back to England for a while and worked at Goldsmiths College, hired the studios of Michael & Susan for a couple of days and even though it went really well and quite nicely I felt very frustrated not to be able to carry on the everyday experiments I was able to do while at the polytechnic. So I decided to actually build a studio workshop in Paris, which aim was open as possible, teaching and experimenting. The first work I did was exhibited in the Avignon Festival in 1984. It was a collaboration with Johnathon Collins who was my partner at the time, who started the atelier with me. This is called First Draft."
Setsuko Ishii - Japan
"From the beginning I worked in this field my interesting thing is contrast between holographic image and real thing or real image. When I showed this work, I'm interested in people's reaction. When people saw the hologram most people want to touch the hologram, because the image of the hologram the picture is very warm, and the image was feather and wool, and the feeling from the visual process and real feeling from the fingers, it's a completely different, and people realized the holographic character."
Ed Lowe - United States
"But when it actually came to making a hologram I didn't get a lot of help. I use holography in my work. What my work is primarily about is sort of like our perceptions of how we perceive things, our perceptions of joys, memories, dreams, the ethereal images that we see in our mind's eye. I use holograms because of the ethereal image, the constantly changing colours and the way the image disappears and reappears. It works like dreams or your imagination are. It's closer in nature than say, bronze or paint."
Melissa Crenshaw and Sydney Dinsmore - Canada
"Both of us come out of photographic backgrounds. At the time that we were making photographs we were working in a realistic documentary kind of way. This figure from the side - you don't see it when you look at it head on - but as you move around the figure there are whole volumes of light that become visible. The series is really based on classical perceptions of the figure, and how they relate to a more contemporary view of fashion and taste. So much of how we perceive the figure now is through fashion magazines, particularly women's fashion magazines, so we explored the areas between fashion and art-historical, or more historical perceptions, not necessarily by medium, but by form."
Michael Wenyon and Susan Gamble - United Kingdom
". . . in 1987 we were given the opportunity to work for a year in the oldest scientific institution in Britain which was the Royal Greenwich Observatory. This is a piece called Newton's Rings and it's using an optical effect with which we're recording using holography. The hologram is a sort of field of Newtons' Rings, which would be considered an abberation by commercial holographers who would want to clean out such an image from their hologram. The background is an image of the library at the Royal Greenwich Observatory where we found ourselves reading such books as Optiks by Newton and looking at early scientific experiments in optics. We consider the craft of holography very much to do with optics."
Harriet Casdin-Silver - United States
"I am much more into psychological and sociological elements, than into technological light, than many of you are. I feel this work particularly, and some of my past work, is using hologrpahy in such a way as to show images, to project what's inside me in a way that no other medium can do. That's my own feeling. You all have your own opinions. But I also feel that I want very strongly to communicate and if I can't do it with hologrpahy I'll do it by whatever means possible."
"I always feel a little boxed in to holography, because before holography I was very much into installations, or as we called them then, Environments. I feel that our world now is so magnificent, but also so horrendous. I know with holograms it's very difficult to say anything strong about the world. Initially when I started I thought 'oh my god! this is such a powerful communications medium.' That's why I jumped into it. But it's taken a long time to be able to work this medium into a means that does talk."
Ana Maria Nicholson - United States
"I started working in holography with pulse and so naturally I was attracted by the figure, and I really didn't do any transfer work until '84 - '85. It was like - going from a transmission, laser transmission, to reflection hologram - was like going from a field, open and where you're free, to a prison, in many many ways, because the limitations of the space were to me so profound. But on the other hand what I found is that it focused the attention on the face, and this is what I really became fascinated with, the marvel of the human face."
Sally Weber - United States
"From the beginning I was not interested in making an image. My background was really as a sculptor and I came from a variety of materials and scales, if you will, working from jewelery up to fairly large size environmental and fabric structures. When I came into holography I was looking for something that I could work with light as a very tangible medium and some thing to try and get it into space and feel a passage of time through light, so that the observer could walk through and experience."
Andrew Pepper - United Kingdom
"That was also very important for me because I was taught holography by artists. Because they've worked in the field & they know the field and they produce their own work & they are artists, they have a very particular sensibility of being able to teach the process in a way that is accessible to artists so it really was very informative."
Rudie Berkhout - United States
"I'm really happy. The whole event has been very special for me so far. What I've felt is a lot of love, and that to me is the most wonderful thing of the event, is to feel the friendship and that we are here together, and sharing this. That's really been inspiring for me, and I thank you all for being in my life, for a long time, you people, and it's really wonderful to have this get-together. (applause) Maybe we should do a prayer now. (laughter)."
Paula Dawson - Australia
"And so this entire period was to do with the way in which the past permeates the present through objects, and how powerful those objects can be as memory repositories. At the time I made this work I was very interested in mnemonic memory and the traditional methods of mnemonic memory training and how the Greeks actually used public building sites as the places where they used to teach students to record the information over the top."
Marie Andree Cossette - Canada
"This one is called Memories Spatial, which translated would be Spatial Memories. Here in between reality and palpability I place the imaginary elements of a story yet to be invented. When the viewer looks at this hologram, after a ceratin time he will see coming outside of the plate another element which is completely transparent, and have a different structure than the one that is coloured."
Doug Tyler - United States
"I chose to do something just a little bit different today, and that was not to emphasize the holograms, but show you some of the work that I did before I did holography, and then show you some of the work that I have done while I was doing holography. One of the things I've been fascinated with over the past couple of years is the connectedness that I see in different people's works and the relationship that develops between them."
Susan Cowles - United Kingdom
"What I have here to show you tonight is a series of recent works which I've done over the past year. My work has always been concerned with drawing. I don't really come from a painterly background but the work is moving into trying to combine painting with holography which is a very strange marriage, and it's been a difficult one for me. When you see the work tonight I do not claim to have succeeded. These pieces are transitional for me. I'm working on very large scale drawings right now. But I'm trying to work on ways of technically incorporating holographic images."
Georges Dyens - Canada
"This one is called "Hommage To The Vital Forces of Quebec" and it's quite political or social involvement. It's symoblized by a big cube of 12 feet high which has exploded. We see the base of the cube and in the middle of the cube is an energetic (?) column containing the hologram, which represents the precise moment of the explosion of the cube, and all the parts of the cube are scattered towards the 18 regions of Quebec. It's along the Saint Lawrence River. That is a detail of the same installation . And what is interesting in this installation is that the sculpture during the day is more important that the hologram, and the hologram is more important during the night, so it kind of breathes. There is a balance between day and night viewing of this art work."
Sam Moree - United States
"This is my New York Characters I'm into. This is just a flat piece of metal, and I have holograms within the pieces, with the eyes and the mouth, and I've painted on the surface of the metal, and I've put different coloured plastics in front of the holograms also, so the eyes flash on and off as you walk in front of it. It's a very 'New York' hologram, New York sculpture. This is a fertility god, and there's a hologram head. This is one in progress, because I've got a clamp on them which is not going to be there."
Julio Ruiz Garcia - Spain
"Undoubtedly every artist has got an obsession. For me, and I think for many hologrpahers it is the mystery of the light, colour and space. These are the transfixion of the sensation fo thinking. Holography is the answer looked for by a lot of these artists. Now I work in very big size and this is the project this size, but in the future I try to do it in 3 x 5 metre."
Dieter Jung - Germany
"So just to give you a few traces about my work. In the '70s I was doing an art portrait series of known and unknown persons and these portraits were hovering in vertically and horizontally oscillating lines. This structure was like keeping the image behind the plane, and sometimes it was coming out and one just saw the structure, as it were caught in the mesh of the structure, so the phenomena of appearance and disappearance, of presence and absence struck my mind. It was a big discussion I had with Giacometti in the early '60s, and it was part and is part of my vision in holography.
Claudette Abrams - Canada
"One morning, many years ago when I was very poor and had very litle furniture with tattered blinds on the windows, I woke up and saw the camera. The slashes in my blinds were functioning as pinholes to focus and project the reflected light from the street scene below into the body of my apartment. This experience led up to my explorations in holography and in many ways has served as a point of departure from my work in multi-media installation."
Betsy Connors - United States
"The first holograms naturally were moving from the same situation that I was working in using the miniatures. I did get to do a number of these. But it was clear to me after doing them that it wasn't where I was going and in fact the interest in moving into another medium had to do with I think breaking away from the frame and moving out of what seemed to be such a contained space so the interest I now have is really to work in what a lot of people are working in, the environmental or installation more."
Becky Deem - United States
"The idea of split existence is an issue I have addressed at various times over the years. It comes from a background of having grown up in the country which gave me a respect for the forces of nature and a concern for and balance with that system through an awareness of self as related to a greater whole. In 1979, I completed Venus. . . the work was intended as a tribute to the creative forces in nature. Not as male or female or either or but as the unification of both, and here I think the implications of the Rhamboid box with the hole and the cylindrical image are obvious in their reference. As individuals we can recognize both male and female aspects of self and expand that to our creative relationship with the planet at large whether or not we consider our roles as active or passive."
Fred Untersehrer - United States
"My constant work is an exploration, my intention is not specifically to come up with fixed pieces, but to look and to explore different aspects of the medium. One of my heroes right now is Gerhard Richter, who has managed to carry on several directions in his work simultaneously. . . . the intention of this work is very anti-precious, anti-slick, anti-symbolic, anti-representational, anti-high gallery."
Doris Vila - United States
"I had some time out at the then Global Limited's Lab in Vancouver and these are pieces about 10" high by about 4-4" long, the span of my arms, and there are about 16-18 exposures per strip. It's a single strip of film. These are not collaged, I made a little roll film device making one exposure changing the color in the object, advancing the film, color object so the train of thought was carried in my head and so these series of icons existed only for that moment. I was not interested in the physical object but rather in the interelation of objects that thread, as if it were a phrase in a conversation, it's not this word, that word that's important but the link, the web of thought that connects them. Rather than making a hologram of an object I am interested in holograms of an idea or a thought."
Phillipe Boissonet - Canada
"In this piece I wanted to explore a little bit more the relationship between the hologram and the viewer. How the viewer can move all around the hologram, how they can stand up or down while he is looking at the hologram. . . I always try to render to my figures a certain impression of anonymity, artificiality. I like the rainbow colors of the transmission hologram just because they are really artificial - unreal. And I'm not interested in holography because it's supposed to render a very hyper-realistic impression of the real. I'm mostly interested because despite this tendency to try to reproduce the real in holography, there is always a gap - a difference and this gap is for me a very important way of showing that the effect of simulacrum is not possible even in holography. And to show this tendency today to artificiality, reproduction, duplication, false things, and things like that."
Brigitte Burgmer - Gemany
"I made a second one, this African version. I think it's more the profile of an African woman. I quess you know (?) and this theory about perception and how the brain is working. I'm always interested in this subject. . .
Ed Wesly - United States
" One day I found this piece of automobile grill in the gutter and I said 'ahhh, I could do something with this.' And then there was a hologram. It's just a bathroom block that's all, nice rainbow colors after you look at it properly, and it matched up with this piece of automotive grill and I said 'aha, my own personal Sally Weber,' and then I made a little base that reminds me of some of the things that Dan Schwettler has done. And then the three little astronauts that have been hanging around for years, I put em front and I go 'wow, cool' and then all the sudden the symobl or the imagery just hit me. Because what it is , is I titled the Space Shuttle Memorial, seven stories for the seven shuttle astronauts and three columns for the three Apollo astronauts who died on the launch pad in '69, and one big monolith for the great grandaddy of the space program, Werner Von Bram. So for about 25 kilobucks I figure I can make something like that about 9 feet tall; for 25 megabucks something like on this scale, 7 stories tall to go on the mall in Washinton; for about 25 gigabucks we could put something big enough in space that could be visible at twilight and you'd see a nice little rainbow floating up there, or then for about 25 terrabucks, which I guess is the whole budget of the whole world, we could put somethign on the moon which we can see from earth."
Margaret Benyon - United Kingdom
"I work at home most of the time, and my living room is actually my working wall space. And I think that the fact that I have based myself at home has some bearing on how I show my work. This was my installation at Artec last year in Japan and as you can see it's not really fitting in to easily with public domain work. It is private work brought right from my living room into a public space. And actually involved some embarassment on my part. I have the feeling that the emphasis always in getting work into the public domain sets up a pace, a way in which you look at work which actually for me is not very satisfactory. I'm now going on to the second part of my life, the last part. And I wish to slow down, I wish to sit down, I don't want to run in front of work. . . I think that holography exhibits in particular set up a kind of consumer frenzy. It's very similar to the supermarket, you know it's somewhere where you get things and acquire things instead of actually looking at work and looking for what it says."
John Kaufman - United States
"If I see two sides to my work, one is that where there is the illusion of materiality and you play off of that. You start working with contradictions where you have materials entering each other. . . The other side of holography that I find important which is the color, the emotive aspect of color. Like Margaret, I find that my work is personal and intimate. It requires a ceratin amount of contemplation, I think. I don't work with installations or other larger presentations. I really do think in terms of individual images."
Dan Schweitzer - United States
"I wanted to bring some kind of humanity to it (holography), so immediately I began working with figures. . . . The other thing that occured to me wa a cinematic approach to the medium. I felt that holography was a little bit, to my way of thinking, more like film than it was photography at that time, and I wanted to toy and get a whole , like a talbeau, for those of you familiar with theatre, to try and communicate an overall concept in the shortest possible moment, kind of a slice of life."
Kazuo Hatano - Japan
"The inspiration for this work which I named 'Blue Talk' came to me just before dawn during a stay deep in the mountains, gazing at the moonlight reflecting off the surface of the rocks there. I wanted to transpose this natural image to the environs of a domestic living space. . .I have for quite some time now had a great interest in creating works that combine hologrpahic image with other media. And, I have experimented quite a bit with different variations on this central theme. This piece for instance, named Rain Forest combines photographic and holographic image. I have also created works in combination with etching plates, painting and writing equipment. . . Through these experiments I feel I have been able to realize a new direction or a new potential for the hologram outside of its usual manifestations. . . In closing let me add that perhaps the most important elelment of my work comes from within. From the spiritual space within my frame of mind."