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HologramsA Cultural History$
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Sean F. Johnston

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198712763

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198712763.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 December 2021

Holograms and Progress

Holograms and Progress

(p.83) 6 Holograms and Progress

Sean F. Johnston

Oxford University Press

While Chapter 5 explained how holograms evoked the ancient cultural appeals of mystery and magic, this chapter traces popular attraction to forecasts of the future. Holograms exemplified the power of the new postwar style of muscled scientific research. Several ingredients combined to represent holograms as the future: fascinated technologists exploring a wholly new field; optimistic promoters accustomed to incremental improvements, and overwhelmed by new and unexplored opportunities; a receptive public primed for novel media experiences; and, more generally, a zeitgeist confident in the inevitability of techno-scientific progress. By the mid-1960s, wider publics were being tempted to speculate about the implications for the near future. Opportunities to experience holograms remained limited, but popular accounts multiplied. Mass-mediated forecasts about the steady progress of holograms, unconstrained by reality, suffused modern culture. As the latest scientific invention spring-boarding from other recent innovations, holograms promised consumer wonders in the rosy long-term.

Keywords:   promoters, futurism, prediction, forecasts, progress, exaggeration, innovation, consumerism

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