WAVEFRONT Issue Summer 1985


Bernd Simson and Al Razutis

Wavefront with its associated North West Coast Holography Society was spontaneously born out of the vested interests of a small group of established holographers in Vancouver. This group of holographers (described in the article on founding of the society) establishes a solid base for a successful center. As well as corporate support from within, holography will help provide funding, giving a nondependence from other sources, such as government. This may be a hindrance to future government support as it may appear as support to commercial sectors as opposed to a nonprofit organization (note though, it was entirely the private sector that made this society and journal possible). I hope this is enough of a base from which Wavefront can grow into an international journal, complementing Holosphere with a different perspective on holography.

We have in Vancouver a unique combination of a highly developed and successful commercial group and a highly respected and recognized artistic group. This society and journal formally brings these groups together to support each other in building up holography.

My part will be in editing the commercial and technical sections (while AL Razutis does the arts). Articles slated for future issues will include where to get surplus equipment and parts, new holograms in the consumer marketplace, custom works being done, patent problems, who's who with companies and holography in the major centers. Regular sections will include techniscoops, pseudoscoops and newsbriefs - these being short paragraphs on information we catch wind of at Wavefront (if you have something, simply phone or write it in ). Pseudoscoops we hope would become a more casual reporting - perhaps the news before it becomes news.

I will be very sensitive to corporate issues and news, with particular regard to patrons. Patron support and sponsorship is one of the major sources of funding for Wavefront and the society. To encourage this much needed support, I will publish patron profiles and publicize patron works. Beware though, the journal's independence can not be bought - we will report negative as well as the positive news. Sponsors of this inaugural issue were Holocrafts, Global Images, Light Impressions and General Holographics.

What makes a newsletter is the input of its membership. I hope we can create an 'easy to publish in' newsletter. Work need not be perfect to publish here - we can and will edit your contributions. The importance is to send us the news, articles and other contributions - don't wait. Regarding gallery, exhibition and commercial news, we will be depending on you to send or phone us information - the publicity is yours if you want it. You need not be a member to get the publicity.

The emergence of this journal comes at a time when holography in the arts is again put to a test: either it must carve out a space for itself in the contemporary arts (now dominated by what is termed "neo-expressionism", a painterly romanticism that combines kitch and psychopathology) or wait yet another decade to be 'discovered' in the wasteland of post- modernism. While holography may be a legitimate art within itself (that is to say, outside of the usual fine arts museums and gallery interests) this is nothing more than according it the status of orphan of the arts. For it has yet to be acknowledged (like performance or 'video') as being part of the arts 'scene'. Well, like it or not, it's time for holography to go "big time".

Commercial holography is already flourishing; wild rumours are circulating as to embossed megaprojects; the military is wild about 'heads up'; some at Lake Forest say that fiber optics will revolutionize it all; and copyright-patent battles ensue. A few articles appear from time to time in arts publications, a feeble yet welc- ome sign that there is some hope in merging with the arts. HOLOSPHERE continues to be a single voice attempting to cover all of the areas - technology, education, arts, history - and yet it can cover none of these areas adequately. We Rope to emerge as an ally to HOLOSPHERE and others in providing a forum for discussion and/or debate in arts and technology of holography and more importantly to provide concrete support for the growth of this medium/art.

Many of us have been starved for critical and aesthetic material containing more than just 'who is doing what' in exhibitions. Holographic art has always contained rhetoric and didacticism - the first attempting to 'convert' the viewer/reader to the medium's future importance with near religious Fanaticism, the second attempting to constantly re-educate the viewer/reader in geometric optics, photochemistry, laser physics etc. Since 1976, when Hilton Kramer summarily trashed both the art form and its various pretences in the N.Y. Times, the medium and art has been both insular and guilty of perpetuating its own artificial 'star' system in terms of a created 'history' orbiting around a few satellites of holographic art activity . It is obvious to all of us now that these strategies have done little else than perpetuate a few select careers; holographic art is in as precarious a position now as it was in 1976 or as it was in the late '60's when there was even fewer interested artists. And curatorial subjectivism, a value system based on the personal tastes of a few curators, is what we have standing in for aesthetic theory - a subjectivism that is also guaranteed to result in a "history" of holography.

As co-founder and co-editor of WAVEFRONT, I see a need to engage the arts within the broader spectrum of human activity (to include epistemology and philosophy, perceptual science, political and economic studies). If that desire to broaden may at times tend toward the polemic. It is only symptomatic of a fierce commitment to the survival and growth, without compromise, of this art. And while I may be outraged at the economic and political conditions affecting artists in this field - artists whose work is largely outside of the institutions, universities, and research and development centers tied to commerce and military interests - I am not proposing to valorize poverty as some kind of misplaced heroism. The rising and escalating costs of materials make complacency a ridiculous proposition. If material (optics, plates, lasers) costs continue to escalate, then the only "artists" practicing holography will be corporate-commercial or university (research) types, or those who have finally decided to do "heads up display" for the military or Walt Disney. The others will be long gone, along with their sandboxes and promises of fiber optic redemption. These difficulties affecting us all make for a political and agit-prop climate, a climate that avant-garde interests in the arts have long known, and a climate that will be supported in this publication as well.

There are theories to be developed, accomplishments to be identified, histories to be added and a relentless self- examination to be conducted. We welcome your contributions and support.