THE SEQUENCE IN HOLOGRAPHY
As far as my work in holography is concerned, I define myself
as an artist-engineer because I reate both images and systems.
As an artist, I try to use
the extraordinary imaging potential of holography.
As an engineer, I try to coax holography into becoming an ordinary
Imageur: 95%/5% Houston 91
Creativity can be restricted
if the technical aspect is exaggerated. Yet to make a holographic
image, you usually end up spending 95% of your time and energy
solving stupid technical problems. This is why, when I arrived
in Cologne, I continued the work I had begun in Houston in 1991
at the Anthony Foundation, determined to develop a holographic
video converter which I called "Imageur system". The
law that prevails in holography - that problems never go away,
but just accumulate - meant that to succeed, I had to spend 95%
of my time and energy solving stupid technical problems.
The system itself now works rather well, but I would prefer to
talk to you today about the other 5%, about what imaging in holography
Temporal approach to holograms
When I began my research in
images, I was intrigued by a very famous hologram of Lloyd Cross,
Kiss 2. I wondered what it was that fascinated viewers - its
three-dimensional aspect or the movement represented in the eyes
and hand of Pamela Brazier.
Space versus Time
Couldn't it be the case that the spectacular display of a
three-dimensional image overshadowed another aspect, one that
was perhaps even richer? Here I am of course referring to the
animated character of the image.
Moreover, since the viewer, as he moves forward and/or backward
to experience the image, has to infuse time back into the hologram
in order to read it, I didn't think it was such a wild idea to
try to consider the situation from a temporal point of view.
My research led me to define three types of time: the viewer
time, the camera time, and the time in which the recorded scene
A technique to place images in space
Defining a hologram is always
a risky business. But to say that holography is a technique to
place images in space doesn't seem to me to be going too far.
Sequence and multi-hologram
In the case of holograms with
multiple windows, like those produced by Imageur, a sequence
of 125 flat views is the image creator's battlefield. That represents
5 seconds of Pal video time.
Topology of multi-holograms
The term stereogram that is
in general use does not seem to be appropriate when it is a question
of animated sequences. I would prefer to speak of multi-holograms,
a more generic term which includes 3D images (or stereograms),
animated representations, and finally those that do not fall
in any category.
To illustrate what I mean,
I would now like to show you a video I made in Cologne.
The video sums up my own research on images, but this demonstration
is more generally intended to illustrate the potential contained
in this new type of video-holography. This is why I have included
several projects that were done in common with other artists,
for they provide proof that this holographic process is of interest
to everyone who creates images.
3D Stereoscopy, successive
points of view
We'll begin with 3D. In a traditional portrait setup, a camcorder
is used to produce WYSIWYG holograms. The camera moves around
the subject. To make a hologram, it takes 5 seconds of the monitor-timed
In this example, by moving
in front of the hologram, the viewer reproduces the movement
of the camera and discovers the successive points of view. The
time of the scene itself is frozen.
The sixty degree angle in the scene corresponds to five seconds
of filming time. Since the scene is frozen in time, it can be
read indifferently from right to left or left to right.
With respect to relief, it
is not a question of stereoscopic perception, but in fact a representation
that contains a depth of field, as you can see in these two slides
taken with a camera.
Clear-cut face, fuzzy cable. Blurred face, focused cable.
You can, of course, use a computer's virtual camera to do the
stereoscopic sequence. One of the advantages of Imageur is to
make holography directly compatible with electronic imaging systems.
Hyperstereoscopy and minimal movement
In this traditional 3D image, you can see, in addition to the
animation on the screen, relative movement in the scene which
is due to the fact that the camera moves twice as fast as the
viewer. Here, the camera's time differs from that of the viewer.
Respect for style
Here another example where the scene time is frozen. The camera's
time is the same than viewer's time.
3D again. And now ladies and gentlemen, for those of you that
are die-hard high-tech fans, here is the making of Folie.
High-tech, bugs and a lot of hard
Equipment similar to a portrait camera except for the fact that
the camcorder is replaced by a three-dimensional digitizer.
Once the volume has been recorded, the data is loaded into the
computer for manipulation.
It is possible to modify the lighting, texture and, of course,
position in space.
Notice the strange bugs under the nose. When I created the image,
I had to correct the problem frame by frame. So you see that
high-tech and hard work are not incompatible.
Transcription of electronic images
Here, let me open a parenthesis. I think it is significant that
there was a real interest manifested at the school in Cologne
in the fact that electronic imaging equipment could be used to
make a hologram.
You need to understand that for the students at this school,
which has top-notch video and computer equipment, devoting oneself
to traditional holography implies both a slight masochistic streak
and a definite risk.
The risk lies in the fact that they
must use their limited time at the school to the best advantage,
in light of their future professional activity.
Thus if they rule out the specialization implied in the processes
traditionally used in holography, it is another story when holograms
become a new type of transcription or visualization of their
Holograms become for them a materialization, an objectification,
of electronic imaging. End of parenthesis.
Solidity and fragility
What interests me in Folie is the contradiction between the sculptural
aspect of the portrait and the fact that it is only a skin of
light as you can see in the lower left-hand corner of the picture.
So much for 3D
Imposed time and viewer time
Time in a hologram is not the same as time in a movie. Animation
is not in function of 24, 25, or 30 frames per second. In a hologram,
time is controlled by the viewer.
The viewer no longer perceives the different points of view,
but different moments in time.
He has an eye in the present and an eye in the future.
Maybe holography implies new artistic
If holography implies new artistic approaches, it also means
that viewers must change the way they look at things.
The difficulty viewers have in making this change is to my mind
the principal obstacle to a general acceptance of holography
in this century.
Revolution in the relationship between
the viewer and the image
Contrary to other image media, two successive viewers may not
see the same thing. I am not speaking of perception, but simply
Talking about the cinema, Franz Kafka once said: "I am a
visual man. The cinema disturbs the seeing process: the eye no
longer captures images, it is rather images that take the eye
captive." This is the difference, the gap that separates
the passive viewer from the active viewer. The active viewer
must, of course, make an effort to extract the sequence from
the hologram, but in return, he remains in control of his viewing
time, and this is something I consider a definite advantage in
this era of frantic commotion.
This image was created for people (whom you probably know and)
who wonder what purpose holography might possibly serve. More
readable than a series of photographs, easier to display than
a video, this hologram is the best way to show what high tide
really looks like. This was also the first time I used an original
document that was not intended for holography.
After Tempest and Tide, a third representation of water flowing,
here five seconds of a river on its way downstream. Represent
the vibration of light. An adventure in impressionism.
The line between figuration and abstraction becomes blurred.
The fact of having captured time makes it possible to study cinematographic
sequences at leisure. You can visit a sequence, like this excerpt
from the Eisenstein film Ivan the Terrible, to analyze its construction,
the relationships between characters, etc. Here note, in addition
to the moiré of the camera, that this hologram has a different
meaning if it is read from left to right or from right to left.
This hologram was made from a television news program (Antenne
2). Here, time has a logical direction, that in which the buildings
collapse. This second version points up three essential differences.
Twice the time, that is to say 10 seconds. The image is negative
(the explosions are in black). There is a third difference. If
in the first version, the building collapse when the viewer moves
from left to right, the opposite occurs in the second version.
You have to choose. I arbitrarily opted for the western tradition
of reading from left to right.
Night and day
Here, contrary to Crash building, there is no logical temporal
direction. Night and day could also be entitled Day and night.
Since is was not impossible to read the hologram in one direction
or the other, we can here speak of symmetrical time.
Another point. To make the hologram, I had to compress three
hours of filming time into five seconds. Visually, the high point
of the sequence, when the offices light up, represents ten minutes
of the total time. If I had compressed the time uniformly, this
highlight would have almost completely disappeared. I therefore
compressed this ten-minute sequence less than the others, and
as a result the time of this hologram is not linear.
A bit of relativity.
When movement creates space.
Although the camera did not move during filming, this sequence
becomes three-dimensional once it is transformed into a hologram.
Here it is the scene which moved in front of the camera. The
movement of the crowd in opposite directions makes it possible
to redistribute it in the foreground and in the background.
This should make holographers take another look at the cinema.
The same principle applies to this morphing sequence to which
the hologram confers an additional dimension - depth. In this
case, we can see that a single photograph is the basis for the
final holographic image.
Inversion of spatial reality with this 3D TV in a flat universe.
Hologram with symmetrical time. It can thus be read in both directions
without any logical impediment. In addition, the meaning remains
intact whatever the direction.
Another self-portrait. The idea was to bring together as many
expressions as possible in the same portrait. Using the portrait
camera, I did what I could during the filming to justify the
For the viewer, it is a complex image. Since it was filmed stereoscopically,
each eye sees from a different point in space. In addition, since
the scene was animated, each eye perceives a different moment
of the animation. In the final analysis, the viewer's eyes are
spatially and temporally out of sync. If Folie can be considered
as a spatial sculpture, Grimace can be defined as a temporal
sculpture. Contortions of time.
Untitled now has a title: Subliminal.
The idea was to juxtapose images that had no spatial or temporal
link. The point these 21 images have in common is purely thematic:
each image contains a different representation of the heart.
The result is a patchwork of images which are perceived rather
than seen. A subliminal vision.
The holograms which you have seen are as attractive and uncertain
as prototypes always are. It is obvious that the color, resolution
and size will, of course, improve. That depends on how much is
DE VISU COMMENTARY
Before concluding, I would
like to talk about the hologram called Impossible 2, which I
consider to be indicative of the ambiguous relationship between
space and time in holography. Another title might be Ortho/pseudo.
The viewer who is on the left sees a convex volume in the center
of the square. When he moves to the right, the volume becomes
To make this hologram, I first created
the convex image on a computer. Then, by moving a virtual camera,
I produced a stereoscopic sequence.
But here I only moved the camera 30°,
half what is usually done in normal filming. I then duplicated
The order of the frames in the second sequence was then reversed.
Finally, the second sequence was placed after the first, as you
can see in the drawing.
The result is a palindrome in the sense
that the distribution of frames is identical from right to left
and from left to right. It is as if there were a temporal mirror
in the middle of the sequence.
Reversing the order of the frames and thus the time of a stereogram
is the same thing as inverting the volume. That is why the volume
is inverted for the viewer who moves across in front of it.
The viewer time and the camera time
are here dissociated. During half of the viewer's movement, he
accompanies the camera. At the half-way point, the camera makes
a U-turn, whereas the viewer continues to move forward.
there are two ways for the viewer to interpret this image. Either
he considers it an animated sequence, in which case it is plausible.
Or he considers it a 3D representation, an approach which squashes
coherence, because it is not stabilized in time.
Holography is often accused
of producing images of dead universes. Injecting time into holograms
is a way to give them life.
The result is imaging which is more meaningful than formal.
Undoubtedly more contemporary and a witness of its epoch.
Working on this new transcription of
time means exploring a universe of relativity in which movement
engenders space and creating the conditions for an intimate visual
Question accepted ideas about space and motion.
Working on captive time implies new
A new grammar for subjects that are already known or will become
A new way to discover emotion.
This is the direction I believe we
are moving in.