Work shown in the exhibition:
JACKSON MAKES IT TO MANHATTAN
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In 1989-90 I had a Fulbright Fellowship, during which I had an A.I.R. at the Museum of Holography in New York. New York City was then the capital of art holography, but after visiting a few of the labs I was greatly disappointed with what I found there. Holograms were being made that had no real meaning except visual interest. Many also seemed to be getting by on the principle that 'If you can't make 'em good, make 'em BIG'.
I had arrived with the idea of making large scale fashion images as I had done before in England but I decided then that I would attempt instead to use holography as a documentary medium, recording events and scenes that I found in everyday life. Holography and photography had been my chosen media for some years, and at this time I started to experiment with combining the two to make holographic stereograms (holograms generated using a series of photographic images). To me there is nothing as visually fascinating as a stereogram,with which one can incorporate the element of time into a work. My recent holograms use a chronological sequence of 36 exposures, shot in quick succession which in the finished stereogram give the effect of time passing as the viewer moves his eyes from left to right. The work is essentially an interactive experience for the viewer, but during which he remains in control, deciding for himself the speed with which the image is revealed and explored, frame by frame. Using only 36 exposures does mean that the image is slightly jumpy and loosely restricts me to landscape as opposed to portraiture, but the pixillation effect gives a 'hand-made' look to the work which I really like. Otherwise it could be too uniform and sterile.
In my work I try to use as subject matter things that are not obvious for use in holograms. I avoid all sci-fi imagery and try to use images from real life. I also try to make the presentation and framing an integral part of the work, making a positive out of the negative factor that a hologram cannot be seen all the time to its best advantage. Incorporating other media also means that the work is not just a hologram and perhaps helps to cancel out some of the prejudices and preconceptions which people often have about holograms. Using only a hand-held 35mm camera means that I can be totally spontaneous, unlike other stereogram methods which involve long setting-up times and possibly a crew to operate the camera. During my time in America I first began the habit of carrying my camera with me everywhere I went, enabling me to sow the seeds of a new piece exactly at the moment a scene strikes me.When I first arrived in New York I stayed on Staten Island, where getting to the city every day involved a spectacular boat trip with one of the most impressive views in the world.
That trip is absolutely synonymous with most people' s idea of arriving in America, as it is very close to Ellis Island, once the main immigration port of the U.S. Of course after about two weeks the magic had completely worn off...
I first took the bus down to Atlantic City to meet a friend. The Greyhound bus cost about $15 but if you took it direct to the casino door they handed you about $14 in quarters as you got off. I think I was the only WASP on the bus and definitely the only one who was not going for the purpose of gambling. The other passengers were talking about the last time they went, some had lost, some had won, all were obviously hooked. As you approach Atlantic City you are travelling through beautiful New Jersey parkland, this then slowly changes into parking lots, then into a slum town, lurking behind a seemingly endless string of brightly lit casinos and hotels. It was this contrast between the glittering facade and the sordid reality behind it which was the inspiration for the hologram.
Twin Towers is a work of contradictions. The hologram has an obvious architectural theme but the roles are played by fashion models. The Statue of Liberty has swapped her torch and manifesto for a watering can and a porno mag. The Empire State Building is playing baseball. In the same contradictory style the title is another landmark.
Information on this page has been taken from the catalogue:
3 x 8 + 1, 25 Holographic Artworks from the Jonathan Ross Collection.
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