Tupac hologram coachella batman robin slap

The Virtual Insanity Before HologramPac

The safehaven indie rock fans come to expect at the annual Coachella Music and Arts Festival was outdone this year by the resurrection of Tupac Shakur as a life-like hologram. If you still haven’t blinked at the amazement of it all, move on already. Pac’s video for “Do For Love” in ’97 already remixed him as a cartoon and in claymation. Maybe clamoring over that would also mean ogling MC Hammer’s cartoon as well. We get it: rappers as ‘toons don’t have the realism of a life-like projection.

Before Coachella, holographic images have been on bigger stages on TV and film. Holograms are truly a ubiquitous part of daily life going unnoticed, down to the luminescent symbols of authenticity on New Era caps, Topps cards, and driver’s licenses. Take a moment to walk down memory lane to earlier incarnations of holographic imagery to remind you, that Dr. Dre’s ambitions are riding on the fumes of the past.

The Wizard of Oz (1939)
1939 brought a feature film from director Victor Fleming that was highly celebrated for its technical achievement. Using a then state-of-the-art Technicolor process, special effects, and six scores of munchkins, it was the hologram of the titular Wizard that captured audience’s imagination the most. Later the illusion is shown to be all smoke and mirrors, after the meddling puppy Toto reveals “the man behind the curtain.”

Star Wars (1977)
14 years after The Jetsons would first predict holograms becoming de riguer for intergalactic inhabitants, George Lucas’ original sci-fi/fantasy/adventure film makes use of the concept. The high-tech narrative device is employed to leave a 3D message for Obi Wan Kenobi, potential savior to the galaxy, and Princess Leia’s “only hope.”

Back to the Future II (1986)
When we revisit our hero in Back to the Future II, we get an imaginative yet kinda plausible glimpse into the not-so-distant future. In what we’re told is the year 2015, Marty McFly is swallowed by a giant holographic shark (ayo!) as part of a street marketing campaign for the upcoming holofilm Jaws 15, playing at the HoloMax Theater. We may now have the Air McFly’s (err.. Nike Air Mag’s), but if you’re trying to see hoverboards and hollowdecks you’ll still need those Delorean keys for now.

Gorillaz MTV Europe Video Music Awards Performance (2005)
Before the Grammy award performance with a coattail-riding digital Madonna ensued, the alt-electro-pop group Gorillaz would incorporate holograms into their act at the 2005 MTV Europe VMAs. The tech breakthrough allowed the two flesh-and-blood members of the group to perform as a band full of cartoon avatars. They subsequently used the gimmick on all their following tours.

Election on CNN with Jessica Yellin (2008)
The first 24-hour cable news network, CNN, has enjoyed what is now decades of media dominance due to their ability to quickly adapt to new technology. During the 2008 Presidential Election, a hotly contested ratings period, CNN pulled out all the stops including social media integration, a giant touch-screen video wall, and holographic correspondents Jessica Yellin and Will.i.Am talking to Wolf Blitzer in studio.

Hatsune Miku, Japanese Virtual Pop Star (2009)
While fickle fans perception of who and what is real and fake is often pivotal to an entertainers success on a larger scale, The Japanese-based Yamaha Corporation ignored authenticity to prove audiences might just be ready for a pop star made in a lab. Hatsune Miku, a virtual pop star with a wholly synthesized voice, performed for the first time before audiences at the Saitama Super Arena, which boasts a capacity of 37,000 people. Miku has since enjoyed a string of best-selling releases and endorsement deals with Toyota and Google.


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