In Camera Lucida
, Roland Barthes discusses the capacity of the photographic image to represent “flat death”. Documentation of an event, happening, or time is traditionally reliant on the photographic to determine its ephemeral existence and to secure its legacy within history. However, the traditional photographic document is often unsuitable to capture the real essence and experience of the artwork in situ. The hologram, with its potential to offer a three-dimensional viewpoint, suggests a desirable solution. However, there are issues concerning how this type of photographic document successfully functions within an art context. Attitudes to methods necessary for artistic production, and holography’s place within the process, are responsible for this problem. The seductive qualities of holography may be attributable to any failure that ensues, but, if used precisely, the process can be effective to create a document for ephemeral art. The failures and successes of the hologram to be reliable as a document of experience are discussed in this article, together with a suggestion of how it might undergo a transformation and reactivation to become an artwork itself.
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