This chapter introduces the principal themes of the book. Holograms were the culmination of 150 years of visual technologies, during which imagery became increasingly scientific, accessible and spectacular. Those earlier technologies reshaped visual grammar and conditioned later cultural engagements with holograms. They were introduced to wide audiences at a unique point of cultural consensus when professionals, enthusiasts and consumers had a shared optimistic vision of inevitable progress. The chapter poses questions about how the technical characteristics of holograms were linked to cultural attractions, and relates them to specific disciplines, including cultural history, visual media, anthropology and science and technology studies.
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