Curated by Alastair Frazer, this is the first exhibition to focus on the important contribution made by the Royal College of Art’s ‘Holography Unit’ to developments in new media art.
‘Holography Unit (the Royal College of Art 1985 -’94)’
The exhibition shows over 40 holograms produced by students, lecturers and technicians within the MA department- many of them internationally significant works- revealing a rare and unexpected period of artistic expression and experimentation found through the harnessing of emerging technologies.
The development of the laser in the 1960s began the journey for many of today’s technologies-
the unprecedented exactness in its production of light waves, suddenly opening up whole new areas for exploration.
For physicist Dennis Gabor, it importantly made practice of his theory of ‘Holography’ feasible.
The ‘holograms’ now produced were akin to a new type of photography-
able to render an uncanny ‘virtual’ 3D recreation, through capture of light wave interferences caused by a subject.
As popular culture of the 1980s began to harness and elaborate the huge technical innovations being made throughout physics-
especially into computing- a different future now seemed inevitable, with questions of the role of ‘the virtual’ ever more pressing.
In 1985, the Royal College of Art took the bold step of founding the world’s first Fine Art Holography department.
This new MA course was established to give art students unprecedented access to industrial technology,
in order to lead the way in exploration and development of a new art form- one that was perhaps able to communicate new things about the present.
‘Holography Unit’ provides the first look back over the unexpected life and work of the department,
with the exhibition of over 40 holographic works produced by over 20 artists at the Kensington premises.
This retrospective- the opening show in the Glue Factory’s programme- also brings together historical and anecdotal material,
as well as looking to the contemporary implications and developments of the medium.
a project by Alastair Frazer
supported by Creative Scotland
Accompanying event: Saturday 29th September- A presentation elaborating on the show, with contributions from invited guests.
Preview – The Skinny – Preview