Holography Museum in Danger
February 12, 2009 8:49 PM   Subscribe

There's only one thing to do. Use all that equipment to record a deperate holographic plea for help and then stick it inside a droid and pray it falls into the right hands.
posted by jonmc at 8:53 PM on February 12, 2009 [12 favorites]

Taping some danishes to your head couldn't hurt. Maybe it'll reach the President.

Help me Obi-Bama...Help me Obi-Bama..
posted by jonmc at 9:16 PM on February 12, 2009 [2 favorites]

It’s still there, the last holography museum in the U.S.,

There were more than one?

For a time, when holography held the public imagination, visitors flocked to it.

Holography held the public imagination?

Well, that was an interesting story (two museum stories on one day's front page? Awesome). I never knew holography was such an intense fad in the early 70s - it does go a long way to explaining the dorky "Help me Obi-Wan, you're my only hope" scene.

It goes a long way explaining something in another direction, too - in each of the two history museums I've worked at, there have been higher-ups who couldn't stop mentioning holography. In one, we'd talk about restoring one of the Victorian houses with some interactive multimedia, and he'd immediately leap to "Yes! And you're greeted by a hologram of Mrs Smith!" I think it's safe to say that younger staff were generally nonplussed by this idea. Any time you're actually trying to teach content, but you're finding the presentation technology more fascinating than the content, you have a bit of a problem. Besides which, who wants to go to a historic house and 'interact' with a hologram? But it comes up in my present job as well. It's the boomers - they love the holograms. Now perhaps I understand why.

Those issues aside, yes, it's pretty cool - the technology is cool, and the images are cool - no less for looking both futuristic and dated at the same time. And capturing movement, Harry-Potter-photo-style, is neat. But this is one of those prime examples of a place using the name "museum" that has none of the professional criteria you kind of want in a preservation and education institution. Everything's a problem - collections, information, finance, security, leadership, governance, program. I really hope that, by some mechanism, this collection goes intact to some place that could put it to meaningful use. THe Art Institute is a nice idea, but I'm not sure they'd want it. Instead, I could see this really working at a place like the Exploratorium, or maybe a museum of visual toys or projection/recording technology.
posted by Miko at 9:20 PM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

A person suffering from dementia who runs a holography museum may benefit from some holographic memory.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:22 PM on February 12, 2009

newspaperman haha. God, I love prose but I hate prosaics. I fail to reach a meaningful conclusion other than feeling bad across the board.
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 9:24 PM on February 12, 2009

There used to be a great Museum of Holography in Soho in Lower Manhattan... and yes, it did hold the public's imagination because we hadn't seen it on every credit card in the world, for example...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:10 PM on February 12, 2009

...and the story of how the woman owning the museum got screwed seems to be the typical American story these days...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:32 PM on February 12, 2009

I've been to that museum, and have very fond memories of it.

What a depressing story.
posted by kyrademon at 11:27 PM on February 12, 2009

Can't we just chop up the holography museum into lots of smaller holography museums?
posted by Pronoiac at 12:32 AM on February 13, 2009 [9 favorites]

Surely, there are laws against predatory lending? And, even if there are not, certain contracts could be deemed 'unconscionable' and therefore void, exempting Loren from repaying the loan.

Mr. Alexi G should be investigated for conspiracy to defraud an old, balmy lady.
posted by Azaadistani at 4:21 AM on February 13, 2009

Wow, that's an amazing and sad story.
posted by armacy at 7:11 AM on February 13, 2009

I bet they sold off the loan in tranches as a CDO (Collateralized Dementia Obligation).
posted by rusty at 7:51 AM on February 13, 2009

before she became so forgetful that some days she neglects to open the museum for business.
this explains so much. I lived right around the corner* from the museum for more than a year and never managed to get inside. they were either always closed when I showed up or they were supposed to be open but really weren't.

*=don't make the same mistake.
posted by krautland at 8:29 AM on February 13, 2009

There were more than one?

When I was in art school, a good friend of mine ran the Holography Museum in Los Angeles, he was studying fine art at Art Center and was going through a big holograph phase. The museum was downtown, right near MOCA. I remember exploring the museum after hours and always being transfixed by a life-size hologram of Dizzy Gillespie. If you stood one way, he held his horn to his mouth... then as you moved to the side, his cheeks filled up with air until you thought his entire face should explode. It was like he was right there, and there should've been music coming out of it. That holograph amazed me and I've always wondered what ever happened to it. I wonder where it is now.

The museum's long since gone and my friend and his wife are now Christian missionaries somewhere. I figure he's probably not making many holographs in the jungle... too bad because his passion for it was really pretty cool.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:55 AM on February 13, 2009

Honestly, holographs used to just *amaze* people, and for good reason. Keep in mind, generations before you didn't have childhoods where it was normal family entertainment to look in a mirror and actually see an invisible ghost sitting next to you and know it wasn't really there. This technology was really cutting edge and new.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:04 AM on February 13, 2009

Here are the larger holograms, many of them kinetic. A shark darts out of the darkness. A dinosaur skull looms, its jaw agape. A larger-than-life tarantula wriggles its tentacles.

Giant holographic tentacle-laden spiders? I think the stars are finally right! We cannot allow this portal to the Outer Realms be shut down, at least not until the Old Ones return.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:52 AM on February 13, 2009

This is a sad story. I love quirky one person museums and there aren't enough of them left. Not everything has to be professional; there's something to be said for the real and original idea of a museum, just one person and a collection of cool stuff. I remember the hologram museum in Soho too; another tiny, strange museum - I always loved it and so did my kids. We even all had hologram pendants - mine was an eye, oooh, scary - I wore it so much that finally the hologram wore away. I still like holograms. Weren't we supposed to get them along with our jetpacks?
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:22 AM on February 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

I went to this museum in Edinburgh back in the 80's and it was pretty cool. I was pleased to see it's still there.
posted by Biblio at 11:37 AM on February 13, 2009

krautland, I didn't live anywhere nearby but I did try to go once. It was closed despite what the door said. This was around 2000.

I'm not sure that Giannoulis did his best by her, but I don't think he was part of the conspiracy. He told her to get a lawyer, at least. There are tons of vulnerable elderly people who get cleaned out in one way or another, by their kids or someone else. It's rampant, really. We don't do enough planning for that sort of thing.

The kids probably regret not watching what their parent was doing more closely. I know I do.

Anyway, there certainly was an expectation in the 1970s that gee-whiz holographic television was right around the corner. OMNI and other pop-sci mags fed the fire despite a keen lack of actual progress. Ben Bova even wrote a thinly veild roman-a-clef about his work on The Starlost^ as The Starcrossed, a supposed 3D TV series. (And now you can see it ON tv, but not actually projected in your living room.)

And then software and credit cards started using so-called 2D/3D holograms for loss prevention and they lost their mystique. I'm not sure people even realize the real capability of true holograms anymore.
posted by dhartung at 3:03 PM on February 13, 2009

Alexi Giannoulias (the banker who approved the loan) is thinking about running for the senate.

"The political and commercial morals of the United States are not merely food for laughter, they are an entire banquet." Mark Twain
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 7:40 PM on February 13, 2009

miss lynnster: do you know the current accd graphic design chair? laurie&co are long gone and I'm not sure who's in charge now. I bet they'd be interested in helping the museum...
posted by krautland at 6:14 AM on February 14, 2009

Nope, I've been out of the ACCD loop for a super long time...
posted by miss lynnster at 9:01 AM on February 14, 2009

crap, me too.
posted by krautland at 3:40 PM on February 14, 2009

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