Chapter

Holograms and Progress

Sean F. Johnston

in Holograms

Published in print December 2015 | ISBN: 9780198712763
Published online November 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780191781131 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198712763.003.0006
Holograms and Progress

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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

Chapter.  5282 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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