[ISEA2011] Paper: Pier Luigi Capucci – Simulation beyond perspective: The discourse of holography as a tool for imagery, art, media studies and science


The 50th anniversary of the L.A.S.E.R. invention fell in 2010, while in 2011 is the 40th anniversary of the Nobel Prize awarded to Dennis Gabor, the Hungarian scientist who invented holography. Holography can create an accurate visual simulation, with total parallax: a replica made of light which has the visual properties of the real object but is immaterial, intangible.

A well-known visual simulation technique is the Renaissance perspective, which represents the three-dimensional physical space onto a bi-dimensional one. Although the perspective was invented in the XV Century we are still immersed in (and influenced by) this way of representing and interpreting the world. In fact the perspective was inherited by photography, cinema, video, computer photorealistic images, virtual reality, 3D videogames, the metaverses… We live in a perspective-based culture. But, although the perspective is presented as an “objective” visualization technique, its objectivity is theoretically and technically based on the “point of view”, that is on the most subjective and personal element of the discourse production.

Holography gives more freedom to the observer: he can choose the viewpoint, his spatial position and he can successfully change his own visual perspective, like in front of a real, material, object and scene.

The media can produce, reproduce and transmit bi-dimensional images on flat supports. The media system has a high coherence degree and the images share similar morphostructural rules, so they can be transferred from one medium to another without any fundamental information loss: bi-dimensionality and image-support coincidence appear to be at the basis of this high level of translatability. Conversely holograms can’t be displayed through the usual media without loosing their peculiarity: they require new displays, new visual media, new genres of communication, even if they hybridize with the existing media.

In a near future holography-based techniques will open up new possibilities in the visualization domain, allowing new visual worlds. In the meantime holography can be a useful technical and theoretical tool for reflecting on how our everyday mediascape works.

  • Pier Luigi Capucci, NABA, Milan, Italy; University of Urbino. Since the early ‘80 Pier Luigi Capucci has been concerned with the communication’s studies, the new media and the new art forms, and with the relations among arts, sciences and technologies. Currently he is professor at the NABA – Milan, and in other institutions. He is a supervisor of the M-Node PhD Program of the Planetary Collegium (University of Plymouth). He published the books Realtà del virtuale (Reality of the virtual), on virtual technologies and the relations between culture and representation; Il corpo tecnologico (The technological body), about technologies and the human body; and Arte e tecnologie (Art and technologies), about art, sciences and technologies. He is the founder and director of Noema (noemalab.eu), a website devoted to culture-new technologies interrelations and influences. On these topics he is also the founder and director of the book series <mediaversi> (www.mediaversi.it), which has an international Scientific Committee, and of “Nuovi Orizzonti” (New Horizons), a section inside D’Ars, the oldest italian magazine on art and culture. He extensively published in books and magazines, organized exhibitions, managed projects and participated to conferences. He has been working in european projects on technological communications. 

Full text (PDF) p. 340-344