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Holograms: CNN vs. Tupac… Where does this take us??

17 Apr

Technological advances are constantly occurring at an incredibly rapid rate.  As soon as one advance is made, the search for the next great advance is on – and is usually made easier and faster by the one that just occurred (I use easier and faster here knowing quite well that it is not actually “easy” or “fast” – a lot of hard work and hours are put into every new gadget or advancement).

It wasn’t too long ago that the internet was fairly new, laptops were expensive and slow, cell phones were big and bulky (and certainly didn’t have the internet or apps), and televisions were big tubes being broadcast with mediocre quality.  It’s now hard to imagine a world without iphones and droids where constant internet access is at your fingertips (ok – I can imagine it, because I don’t have a smart phone…), ipads and tablets fit into purses and bags (nope – don’t have one of those either), and we can watch television in HD quality (yes – I do have that, though I don’t currently have cable…).

One advancement in technology that was billed as a big deal happened back during the 2008 presidential election coverage.  CNN, in its ever-present quest to have the most (and most unnecessary) bells and whistles to augment their news coverage, announced that they had a huge surprise up their sleeve.  This turned out to be the first hologram image on television.

Pretty cool, right?  Well, the concept is cool, but let’s be honest – could they have done anything more boring or unnecessary than show us a holograph image of a reporter that we could have just seen on screen?  They basically created a live image of her reporting and turned that into a hologram.

Well, regardless, we at least found out the technology was there.

Now, here’s the really cool and impressive thing that just happened a few days ago at the 2012 Coachella music festival…

Tupac was resurrected.  Through hologram, of course.

Tupac’s life (how/when/if it ended) has always had some lore around it, so the fact this technology was used to bring him back on stage to perform with Snoop Dogg was a brilliant idea.  The quality and life-like essence, made this brilliant idea almost eery – again, especially with the cloud of mystery and uncertainty that had already been tied to Tupac’s death.

It truly looks like Tupac was onstage, and the fact that Snoop came on and was “interacting” with him made it look even more authentic…

Brilliant idea.  Well done.  Pristine quality.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the people in attendance were blown away and completely awed (and probably a little confused or freaked out) by Tupac’s “performance.”

But one of the most interesting things for me (and in brief conversation with a friend) is the consequence of this performance.  Where do we go from here?? 

What does this do to our concept of live music?

Will/should we bring back other individuals or bands to “perform” and if so, who?

Will there now be simultaneous performances with the artist in one location but also being “hologrammed in” (I made that up) live to other venues where people would pay to watch?

These are some of the initial questions that have come to mind and that are interesting to think about moving forward with this kind of technology.  Sorry CNN, but your titillating coverage of the election didn’t quite wow me or get me thinking in quite the same way as this recent performance at Coachella (plus, I didn’t have a blog four years ago to write about it)…

What’s your take on any of these questions or any other consequences this may bring about? (For movie, theatre, performance, etc.)

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7 Comments

Posted by on April 17, 2012 in Media/Movies/TV, sociology, Uncategorized

 

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7 responses to “Holograms: CNN vs. Tupac… Where does this take us??

  1. Buddy

    April 17, 2012 at 11:42 PM

    I think it would be cool if they made holograms of historical speeches. However, I doubt holograms will be a common occurrence until they become more economical. I heard that this particular hologram cost over 100k and didn’t last long. Although, I never thought I could afford a smartphone 2 years ago. 5 years from now I will probably be interacting with a mike hologram.

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  2. trokspot

    April 17, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    That actually would be really cool. I wonder who would have the authority to decide how/when/where to use certain historical speeches.

    They could be used to commemorate certain events, inspire people, educate, create divisions, start revolutions, etc.

    Crazy to think about

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  3. Jeff

    April 18, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    Trok brings up a good point. Maybe the great jazz-poet Gil Scott-Heron was right: “The Revolution will NOT be televised” (1974, emphasis mine), but rather it will be holographically projected into our living rooms.

    Tupac-at-Coachella brings in some interesting ideas concerning corporality and live performance. Is Tupac’s performance any more (or less) live than, say, Ashley Simpson lip syncing on SNL? Also, what, if any, are the connections between the two examples? The completely mediatized (see Auslander 2008) CNN hologram intended for an at-home audience vs. the mediatized live performance of of Tupac in front of thousands?
    Tupac’s introduction is the most interesting part of the whole thing. He interacts with Snoop, Dre and Coachella’s audience. The festival started 3 years after his death. It’s not a mere (re)creation of events (as is really the case with the above Simpson example). It’s a whole new event. So, I think the real value is seeing how Hologram Tupac was experienced (especially by Snoop and Dre) as Tupac or as “something else.” That is, how does this performance blur the borders between reality and (re)creation?

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    • Pete Wentz

      April 18, 2012 at 11:41 AM

      My wife spells her name “Ashlee,” bra.

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  4. trokspot

    April 18, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    Yeah, that’s interesting stuff. I especially agree with you about the “interactions” with Tupac and Snoop and audience… that was obviously not something that was just “RE-created” but rather “created” from scratch (also one of the things that makes it more impressive than CNN – among lots of other things).

    The “live” example with Ashlee (apologies to Mr. Wentz) lip syncing is also really interesting. I think maybe that gets to something concerning “authenticity” more than “live”? (I don’t know what/how people use these terms concerning this stuff.) It seems to me that although Simpson was clearly live, her performance (at least vocally – there’s more to a performance than pure vocals – especially with some bands/singers) may be considered less “authentic” than it otherwise might have been??

    I’m not sure if that disctinction makes a lot of sense or is useful, but maybe something to consider…

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    • Jeff

      April 18, 2012 at 12:09 PM

      This brings up even better questions. Does Pete Wentz troll the internet to find ways to make himself relevant again? Also, didn’t he and Ashlee get divorced? What’s the protocol on calling someone your “wife” after that?

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  5. trokspot

    April 18, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    Also, I’ve been thinking more about these speeches from various leaders and wondering about its effects…
    Would it lead to a sense of heightened consciousness/community among various groups?

    i.e. If we actually saw Dr. King give a speech would it be that much more powerful than simply hearing it thus leading to a more consciousness about race relations in the US (i.e. remind us that we still don’t live in a “colorblind” world)?

    Or maybe have someone like Jim Jones “come back” and see what kind of havoc/revolution/following that would potentially bring with it?

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