7 October 1976. The Ciné and Photo Research Institute (NIKFI), Leninskaya Prospest, Moscow. A demonstration of a 70mm holographic motion picture system:
The movie consists of a full-size girl coming right through that screen, holding a bouquet in front of her face so that everyone in the audience can move around in his seat and look at the bouquet and see her face. …The Brightness is amazing; it is comparable to an ordinary movie. …The strange thing…is that the screen can be viewed from both sides simultaneously. Actually half the audience can sit on one side, and the other half can sit on the other.
It is still too early to say whether this presentation will be written into the technological history of communications as holography’s founding moment, the equivalent of the Lumière cinématographe show in the Boulevard des Capucins on 23 December 1895. Alternatively, it could be that Victor Komar, the researcher responsible for this film, will be a Ronalds, a forgotten pioneer of an elegant but rejected prototype rather than a Lumière, an ‘inventor’. Either way, the pattern of competence and ideation, prototype and ‘invention’, socially driven diffusion and suppression is holding good for holography—just as it is holding good for the Internet. I have argued above that claims for the Internet’s radical exceptionalism to this pattern cannot be based on its history thus far; on the contrary, this history conforms with that of all other networks from telegraphy on. In the same way, I want to conclude by suggesting that the next possible quantitative leap in communications, holography, is also progressing in accordance with the model I outlined at the beginning of this book.