The exhibition includes a rare public showing of "Hand in Jewels,"an 18- by 24-inch laser transmission hologram by artist Robert Schinella. Commissioned in 1972 by the jewelry firm Cartier for its Fifth Avenue display window in New York, the 3-D diamond bracelet dangling from an elegant hand, projected out over the sidewalk and astonished passersby.
The holograms on view in the MIT Museum's Massachusetts Avenue windows include four works from the museum's collection, the largest and most comprehensive collection of holography in the world, and two others on loan from private collections, including "Hand in Jewels", owned by Marian Javits, widow of the long-time New York senator, Jacob K. Javits. Some of the works are technological achievements; others are influential artworks that advanced holography as an expressive medium. The interdisciplinary history of holography reflects the culture of MIT, and several artists — including Stephen Benton, Dieter Jung and Harriet Casdin-Silver — created significant work while working in holography at MIT.
Seth Riskin, the MIT Museum’s manager of emerging technologies & holography and spatial imaging initiatives, curated Luminous Windows 2010. He explains that “a hologram is not an image, like a photograph. It's an optic, a piece of material that manipulates light. The image is created when light from the hologram enters the eye. This optic, the hologram, is a record of where light comes from in space, and when it's 'replayed,' when light is projected back through it, it generates the light wave interference patterns that stimulate the scene in the brain. Holography is the "real" virtual reality, and it represents the human brain and the information power of light interacting to create the experience of space.”
The opening of the exhibition coincides with the Second Friday free evening program at the MIT Museum. The exhibition will officially open following a 5:30 p.m. illustrated talk, “Debunking Hollywood's Holograms,” by MIT Media Lab researcher V. Michael Bove Jr., co-author with the late Stephen A. Benton of the book "Holographic Imaging." Bove will compare movie and TV special effects depictions of holograms in Star Wars, CNN and elsewhere with the real thing, and demonstrate state-of-the-art moving holograms being developed at MIT.
In addition to the talk and the lighting of the holograms, the Museum will offer refreshments and light painting activities for all ages from 5:30–7:30 p.m.
The curtain goes up on “Luminous Windows 2010” every evening from sunset to 2 a.m. through March 14, 2010.