New Hologram Center Opens In New York

One of the only holographic arts organizations in existence gets a (temporary) home in Queens.

It's hard to describe the kind of excitement we felt when we first heard a new holograph center would be opening in Queens this fall. However in retrospect, it actually went something like this: "holograms!!"

The thought of one of the world's most beloved optical illusions having at least a semi-permanent home where visitors could experience the true range of this medium was exhilarating to say the least. Naturally we set out to find out more about this mysterious organization that would be setting-up tent, at least temporarily, inside the LIC clock tower. Below are a few questions we asked Holocenter Director, Martina Mrongovius.

First off, will this be a permanent center? We hope so. Through arts organization No Longer Empty, Andover Realty donated us this space for 12 months. We have put a lot of work into its conception and execution, and really hope that Andover Realty will continue to support us in this location for the years to come.

What is the mission of the center?

The Center for the Holographic Arts (Holocenter) is an organization dedicated to promoting and developing holography as art medium. We work with artists to enable them to gain skills and produce holographic art. Meanwhile our exhibitions and educational programs give the public the opportunity to engage with this unique medium.

Ana Maria Nicholson, Into The Night 

The longer explanation is that the The Center for the Holographic Arts (Holocenter) is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and developing holographic artwork.

The Holocenter was founded by respected holographic artists Ana Maria Nicholson and Dan Schweitzer in 1998. As one of the only holographic arts organizations in existence, our mission is to ensure that holography continues to be a creative practice. Holography is unique in its capacity to bring virtual understandings into contemporary dialogues around media participation, technology and visuo-spatialinformation.  The Holocenter has four main objectives: production, exhibition, research and education.

As the current Director, I work with artists and holography studios around the world as a technical and artistic
consultant. Based in Long Island City, New York, the Holocenter facilitates exhibitions and educational opportunities.

Ray Park,The Coexistence - banana, 2011
180º Cylindrical hologram, 8 x 4 x 10"

Through our Artist Residency program we provide access to a number of holography studios, including our Pulse Laser Studio at Ohio State University. Our residency program is vital to the integrity of holographic arts. Many of the holograms in this exhibition – and seen in museums around the world – were produced during Holocenter residencies. In 2012 we launched an introductory residency open to all artists, as well as continuing our more advanced residencies are designed to foster the creation of holograms for exhibitions.

As well as our own exhibitions of holograms in New York City we facilitate and work with other museums and galleries both in the USA and around the world. Through exhibitions, symposiums, workshops and media publications we ensure the public are able to learn about holography and engage with this medium.

Sally Weber, Laccolith, 2006
Open Aperture Transmission Hologram, 26 x 27"

The Center for the Holographic Arts is dedicated to continued development of the medium of holography as an active and inspiring art form.

What made you decide on your present location?

I came to No Longer Empty's show 'How much Do I Owe You' and the Bank Vault reminded me of our previous studio/gallery on Court Square in Long Island City. So I asked the staff what was going to happen to the space after the show and we started working together.

The bank vault now is becoming an archive of holograms and the adjacent space is an exhibition area.

Mary Harman, Shelf Life, 2007

Can you tell us a little bit about the present exhibit "Interference:Coexistence'? What artists are currently on display?

The current show 'Interference:Coexistence' brings together classic holographic artworks from the fields pioneers (including Margaret Benyon's 'Tigirl', 1985; Rudie Berkhout's 'New Territories', 1984 and Dan Schweitzer's triptych 'The Gallery' 1982)  with exciting new works (including Ray Park's 'Coexistence- Banana', 2012 - a 180 degree cylindrical hologram and Paula Dawson's Digital holographic Print 'Hyperobject -Homeland', 2013 which was created with using a 3D robotic arm drawing tool).

The theme that runs through all the work is the unique way space and light can coexist and interfere in a holographic scene.

For those less tech-savvy and in the know, how exactly does a hologram get made?

A hologram is made by recording the shape of light. To do this we use laser light to illuminate the scene and a reference beam split off from the same laser to encode the light.

With a photograph light is focused onto the film, with a hologram the light is recorded as it passes through the 'window' of the film.

Making holograms is like working inside a camera. If you'd like more info you can check our website at http://holocenter.org/what-is-holography/

 Rudie Berkhout, Light Magic

What happened at your recent illuminating symposium?

A number of the artists talked about their works and we then got into a discussion about the future of holography, digital processes and the unique characteristics of the medium.

What are your current goals for the organization?

We want to establish a permanent museum and holography studio in New York City. This new space is a huge step towards this goal.

We are looking for sponsorship to preserve and document holographic artists works. We also want continue to work with the companies developing holographic technology to enable artists access to these processes so that we can all be inspired by holographic light sculptures. And importantly, we want to ensure that the next generation understand holography, that it is part of of everyone's cognitive toolkit and that we all have the opportunity to design holographic images.

Paula Dawson, Hyperobject:Homeland, 2013
Digital Reflection Hologram, 48 x 48"

Photo courtesy of Oliver Strewe

Below: holoscape from Nick Normal, a past Holocenter project, features a user-generated and activated photo-map-scape playfully exploring how collective experience can be mapped using holographs. Images were then tagged with #holoscape or #conflexfestival, print, then pasted onto cardboard stands within a diorama at Flux Factory as part of the ongoing Conflux Festival. 

Top image: (Above: Part of the Strata Series, Sally Weber)

'Interference:CoexistenceSeptember 6-28 Wednesday thru Saturday 2-6pm The Clock Tower in Long Island City Queens Plaza North : 29-27 41st Ave