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Simulacra For Real Y’all

posted Apr 15, 2014, 7:32 AM by Ellen Pearlman


M.I.A. and Janelle Monae in Concert in New York - Who Is the Hologram?

M.I.A. and Janelle Monae sang in real time on different coasts in the U.S. (New York and LA) with each appearing as a hologram in the other’s set. I wrote about this with Tupac Shakur at the Cochella music festival in 2012  in Planet 3D. According to a Tweet from both singers listed on the YouTube site, 

#MIA   #janellemonae  Singers MIA and Janelle Monae have shared the stage during separate concerts on opposite coasts of America through the magic of holograms.

MIA performed in New York with a 3D projection of Monae while Monae sang on the West Coast with MIA’s likeness. Both artists have ideas for how they might use performance holograms beyond their bi-coastal duet, which was sponsored by Audi to launch its A3 model.

The high-tech duet required more advanced 3D projection and video mapping technology than Tupac Shakur’s hologram debut at the annual Coachella music festival in 2012. MIA and Monae performed together in person to help create the holograms, but each saw the results for the first time onstage.

“I wish I were in the audience because I’m sure it looked cooler from the audience, but it felt great,” Monae said after closing her 40-minute set at Quixote Studios by singing with a hologram. “I felt MIA’s spirit up there.”


Janelle Monae with M.I.A. in Los Angeles


The creative director Peter Martin  at the New York event tried to be sensitive to the differences of the two performers, casting Monae as very black and white and MIA as neon day-glo. This hologram uses integrated video mapping and 3D projection mapping subtly layering  animated graphic content for a first ever 3D bi-coastal event. However, its expensive and not easy to work with.

This opens up a whole network for future simultaneous broadcasts as the thing representing itself becoming the marionette of the future. Just remember to beam me up Scotty.