Live fast, die young and leave a beautiful hologram

“For us, of course, it’s about keeping Jimi authentically correct.” So says Janie Hendrix, explaining the motivation behind her effort to turn her long-dead brother into a Strat-wielding hologram. Tupac Shakur’s recent leap from grave to stage was just the first act of what promises to be an orgy of cultural necrophilia. Billboard reports that holographic second comings are in the works not just for Jimi Hendrix but for Elvis Presley, Jim Morrison, Otis Redding, Janis Joplin, Peter Tosh, and even Rick James. Superfreaky! What could be more authentically correct than an image of an image?

I’m really looking forward to seeing the Doors with Jim Morrison back out in front – that guy from the Cult never did it for me – but I admit it may be kind of discomforting to see the rest of the band looking semi-elderly while the Lizard King appears as his perfect, leather-clad 24-year-old self. Jeff Jampol, the Doors’ manager, says, “Hopefully, ‘Jim Morrison’ will be able to walk right up to you, look you in the eye, sing right at you and then turn around and walk away.” That’s all well and good, but I’m sure Jampol knows that the crowd isn’t going to be satisfied unless “Jim” whips out his virtual willy. (Can you arrest a hologram for obscenity?) In any case, hearing the Morrison Hologram sing “Cancel my subscription to the resurrection” is going to be just priceless – a once-in-a-lifetime moment, replayable endlessly.

I think it was Nietzsche who said that what kills you only makes you stronger in the marketplace.

6 thoughts on “Live fast, die young and leave a beautiful hologram

  1. Timothy Lee

    I am reminded more of a great short story by J.G. Ballard found in the Venus Hunters, wherein, the tomb raider falls in love with a deceased woman’s projected data-file, begging the questions, “is VR making us Pygmalion?”

  2. Seth Finkelstein

    I wonder if “The Picture of Dorian Gray” reflects some sort of social anxiety of the era, where photographs were becoming more available, that the images reflect a person at a particular moment in time, yet that’s no longer the person as time goes on. Yes, the title object is a painting not a photograph. But I’m wondering if literary people then weren’t thinking much more about images versus reality, since technology was making that more apparent. And it was disturbing to them.

  3. Michel Sanchez-infante

    Looking beyond the bringing to life of dead musicians, these are the seeds of a technology to digitize any form of performance. Concerts, speeches, presentations, etc. And once made digital, it will be downloadable from your favorite ‘information wants to be free’ provider.

    Not only will it deny musicians another (their last?) means of monetizing their craft, but it will also spread the apparent disaster that has hit musicians, newspapers and movie makers to areas built around performance.

    As for the argument that people will still want the real thing: I think the low quality of Youtube videos and the average MP3 audio file (mostly played through little white earbuds or iphone speakers) shows that most consumers have a pretty broad idea of ‘the real thing’. Especially if goods can be had for free.

  4. Darryl Jonckheere

    Could this technology be used to get Axl Rose and Guns N’ Roses back together?

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