What are hologram-based concerts really like?

The technology behind these posthumous encores is complex; the truth is that holograms as many imagine them – exact 3-D digital replicas of humans, constructed from video footage – do not exist. Instead, as Martin Tudor of Base Hologram explains of their own process, “We start with a body double who works closely with our director to choreograph the performances and then we take the results of that and go to work on it digitally.” So while Mitch Winehouse insists that the tour will be a chance for audiences to see the “real” her, what they’ll actually be presented with is footage of a lookalike actress with a CGI 3-D mask on. Unlike Winehouse, who appeared to dislike touring, this digital spectre will be controlled and compliant. Recordings of the voice may belong to the original singer, but the physicality of the performance will be wholly manufactured.

Here is much more, by Olive Pometsey, via Ted Gioia.


Is that a problem though? Sure, when Michael Jackson first introduced the moves, they were unique, but nowadays good dancers can repeat his moves perfectly. And as time goes on 3D mask becomes even better. I personally both hate the idea, but also remain intrigued by it. It would be still cool to visit a Queen concert, because you can't witness that yourself no more.

These hologram-concerts are the best ways to experience something that is no longer possible. A macabre idea, but useful to some degree.

Let us hope that the simulacrum does not share Mr. Jackson's difficult-to-meet appetites.

Simulacra kids. Done.

Japan pioneered virtual idols a while ago. Honestly, I'm on the fence whether holograms of cartoon characters or dead people are creepier. Here's a concert that Hatsune Miku did in Los Angeles last year:


the first link is to another article on 'hysterical femininity'

'Recordings of the voice may belong to the original singer, but the physicality of the performance will be wholly manufactured.'

As compared to the traditional concerts of something like Milli-Vanilli?

After MV won a grammy, todd rundgren suggested the grammys add a category for best new hair and leave the rest for music.

What with routine lip syncing and autotune, does any of this matter?

Being introduced to the concept of simulacra as a framework for understanding culture saved my life, or at least my sanity.

“Being introduced to the concept of simulacra as a framework for understanding culture saved my life, or at least my sanity.“

That’s all it took? A half baked Baudrillardian insight? I’m tempted to call you lucky.

Yup. Sometimes less is more

Some of us got B school degrees you know.

Holograms should be cheaper than flesh and bone artists, right?

No catering, no plane tickets, no hotel bills. Assume everything (lights, sound, hologram) can be setup by a local crew....it's no longer a "tour" because no one travels =)

What if it becomes even more standardized as movie cinemas?. The projector, screen and speakers are not mounted and dismounted for every show. The local crew is not needed anymore. Even cheaper.

The cheapest part: no artist rights.

A studio dancer (what do they call the dance version of session musicians?) will perform scripted moves, to be overlaid with cgi, as choreography for a lip syncing performance.

So the only actual novel human performance is the dancer. Who will be annonymous and paid on scale.

Genius of capitalism.

Human mimetic and other ingenuity did not start with capitalism and it will presumably be around after capitalism has morphed into something else.

You mean: after parastitic capitalism has sucked it dry.

Yes, creativity and human performance will initiate in some new place or activity. And then some future capitalism will notice all the fun going on and swoop down from the trees.

Who knows, it is probably going on already. Electronic gaming athletes has already been blown up by monetization. But who knows, the next new thing may already be happening.

For readers not familiar with Amy Winehouse, she was a jazz singer with a very unusual voice, appearance, and presence. Duplicating that presence seems like a tall order, but I suppose it's possible. Even when sober (?), her voice, appearance, and presence seemed to defy it. I found her performance to be disconcerting, while most found it to be soulful and sexy. Part of her appeal was that one never knew what would come next. She died of alcohol poisoning at age 27 (alcohol being but one of her addictions).

it's like the difference between coffee at the local independent or starbucks.

The first is hit or miss, and that's the point. Because when it's great, it's great. And what's great about it is neither commoditizable nor replicable. because it originates with the mung on the floor and the mood du jour of the barista and the way the light comes in the window that day. And when you find a place in that sweet spot you keep coming back and back until its ruined by hipsters who found it on yelp or it gets gentrified out of existence by a new tech company headquarters.

Starbucks, on the other hand, is the lip-syncing autotune simulacra. Which will gladly replace the barista with a hologram. And customers will adjust.


Yes, A Clean, Well-Lighted Place. Long ago my family owned a Holiday Inn. You know, the motels that all looked exactly alike, a room in one Inn identical to a room in another. Why do people prefer sameness, in motels, in baristas, in restaurants, in about everything. We owned the Holiday Inn (one of the first) long before America had been homogenized. Even writers today find a formula and (along with copycats) stick to it. I mean Dan Brown, he who has sold millions of books. Really! Winehouse was sui generis. Watching her performance I wondered if she attracted a crowd because of her talent as a singer or to see a train wreck. Sometimes I wonder if we elect presidents in hopes of seeing a train wreck. Well, a train wreck is more entertaining than Holiday Inn or Dan Brown or Starbucks. Disruptive, which is Cowen's preference.

The Winehouse biopic suggests that her father pushed her over the edge when others were trying to take off the pressure of touring. The most macabre part of this story is that he is apparently the one raising her from the dead in this more compliant form.

People accepted long ago that what you saw on a photograph might not be real. A 1940 audience would know that what they saw on a movie screen was not real.

Is this virtuality so different? Or should we be startled when the long-dead can pass as real in everyday social interactions?

I may be influenced by a short story I just read called "The Light of Other Days"* which centered around something called "slow glass." If a hologram "works," it's only because the person was never actually "real" to you.

*But then I didn't read it, did I? I was actually knitting. It was read aloud to me, by (probably?) a dead man with a very hypnotic, very "midcentury" voice. Some guy who used to read sci-fi stories on public radio in Wisconsin in the 70s.

I haven't thought about slow glass in easily 4 decades, having read the story in an anthology.

Which oddly sort of brings to light the idea of slow glass, updated to a digital age where images do not involve glass at all.

--but can cults of dead celebrities go after each other with the venom and the righteous indignation that animates our (sigh) cults of "live" celebrities?

--and by the by: how might concert attendees appraise "holographic spontaneity"? Dead celeb holograms are permitted NO false moves, right?

--or has spontaneity completely evaporated from human discourse even prior to the advent of dead celebrities?

Was it spontaneous or staged when Cardi B threw her shoe at Nicki Minaj at the Fashion Week party?

When suspicions of "staged spontaneity" overwhelm us as a consequence of injecting theatrical conventions into all of life (theatrical hyperbole proper to the stage exported to all newsrooms, from newsrooms to political conventions, from political conventions to seats of government, from public concert halls to private squabbling homes, et cetera et cetera et cetera), "spontaneity" becomes all the more difficult to distinguish and assess.

Perhaps the shoe could inform us conclusively.

Howard Dean gets authentically overeager once and he's toast.

We only like expressions of spontaneity if they are scripted.

Different generation of voters and different landscape. People now want more authenticity. Social media makes this possible whereas before everything was filtered through mainstream media. Little of Trump or AOC is scripted. Mistakes are their own and make them relatable to their respective bases. Hillary comes off as a scripted robot and talks like a press release.

lol. I can already hear deadheads arguing over which hologram performance of Terrapin was the most sublime.

"Man, Jerry was really dialed in last night."

People will go, have a good time, say it was great, and then forget the whole thing completely within the week

Speaking of high-tech wizardry: where are all the holographic tattoos hiding?

Skin tinted with colored inks is one humdrum thing, no matter how skillfully applied: but a 3-D tattoo--WOW!

I challenge any hologram to match the Led Zeppelin performance these guys put on:


I'm looking forward to hologram Woodstock in 2029. Or at least to saying I went there. (You'll see YouTube video with "me" right there in the audience. I'll be the really young kid with the sign, "RMN repent, the end is near.")

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