One of the interesting musical [let’s call it that] events of the past year, was the one that took place last August, during the German Wacken Open Air Festival. This was the first holographic show in heavy metal. It’ s been of course preceded by several others from other genres: From Elvis – hologram – “duet” with Celine Dion, to Tupac, Easy-E and of course Michael Jackson. Meanwhile, the phenomenon has found numerous applications in fields beyond show business. One example: the Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, who toured the country as a hologram, three years ago, during his campaign.
What evoked some thoughts here, was Ronnie James Dio (Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, DIO), deceased in 2010, who was revived with the help of CGI (Computer – Generated – Imagery) to interpret, together with colleagues, the hit song “We Rock shaped”. The experience, described by eyewitnesses, was shocking. One could point out that the world of big concert venues has always been fictional, a realm of illusion. Crowds always flooded the Grand Stadium to glorify, not the talent, but the Magic Force that the artist, being successful, embodies. With the stage being upgraded in Reichstag, the fan, overwhelmed by audiovisual effects designed to incite his “participation”, lives the mystical experience of unity through subordination. The staggering sizes make communication impossible between the “viewer – dot – in – the – crowd” and the “artist – dot – on – stage”. The [giant-] screen acts as the mediator here, as in everywhere, “sanctifying” the event, turning it into “history in the making.”
The free fall of record sales is the other face of the dominance of live events. The organization of concerts is becoming the main task for record companies nowadays. Just as the little neighborhood stores are displaced by Shopping Malls, the humble live club is being displaced by the Grand Stage. Along with it, any alternative voice is threatened. But, furthermore, if the musical phenomenon is diminishing to the live event, perhaps then the future of the live event is addressed to …holograms only.
For this mix of generations, a generalized holographic invasion would be macabre. However the foundation’s already been set. If record sales today are mainly reissues and special editions, why shouldn’t this phenomenon also apply into the concert territory, which is already run by record companies? In other words, who would resist the temptation to “resurrect” a Hendrix, a Bowie or Cobain in concert? Who wouldn’t be at least curious to attend them «live»? The possibilities are endless. How many would resist the temptation to attend concerts the Beatles never gave, the ones from ’66 to ’70? Who would not want to follow the …White Album tour;
After all, perhaps all of this has happened / is happening on …another dimension: A belief that’s, half-jokingly, gaining ground is that the entire universe itself is a hologram, a computer simulation that may coexist with other universes – simulations [if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. One might suggest that the same goes for computers / algorithms]. Stephen Hawking said recently: “in the future, there will be no difference between virtual and real reality”. Indeed, the term «virtual reality» is characterized by an inherent potential of its first part to dominate the other. Nothing seems to stop moving to this direction, fulfilling the prophecy of a man who …doesn’t have much to expect from reality, nor reason to separate it from virtual.
The merging of the two, reality and virtual on screen, is but the herald of singularity, the merging of man and machine, about which one can read in the books of Ray Kurzweil, a prominent among high IQ idiots. In a nearby future, like the one our thinker – inventor evangelizes, as we sink in the delusional universe of nanobots [which, by interacting with biological neurons will produce virtual reality from within the nervous system] we will be permanently divorced from reality by request.
Then, as we swim in the waters of oblivion – a sea of Zeroes and Ones – our universe will be consisted of …autonomous points, synthesized and decomposed, according to “our” will.
But, apart from clinical psychopaths, the only people who find it difficult to distinguish reality from fantasy, are toddlers, having the luxury of looking at the world from the safety of an uninvolved viewer.
In any case, the return of the dead, a classic symptom of the postmodernity, gives the essence of our times. The parade of zombie films and tv serials is part of the same project. As a consequence, for the free-from-the-constraints- of-reality next mix of generations, what would be more natural than a full holographic reviving of anything that can be revived, along with fresh virtual super-stars, straight from the depths of pop workshops?
In Japan there is already such a case: HatsuneMiku, created by statistical preferences has «original» songs and 2.500.000 followers on Facebook …People flock en masse to watch “her” “live”.0
The fact that people can’t let go and don’t want to let go of their idols creates a market for holographic concerts and deep fake videos. Stages become digital Ouija Boards conjuring spirits and raising the dead to entertain us at or calling. It might threaten the extinction of the manifold Elvis impersonators who seem ever present among us.