36 Views of the Holographic Self

1x12cm, pulse laser holograms in envelopes/prints/mirror, Tokyo, Japan, 1993

Theme: Based on Hokesai's famous woodblock print series '36 views of Mt. Fuji' where the same sacred mountain could be seen from different view points through different prints. In this holographic instance the ability for a laser hologram to produce multiple views of a single self portait is exploited. A pulse laser portrait of me (originally made at the Royal College of Art, London) was cut into thirty-six pieces, each showing the same portrait but each offering different view points. These were then placed in envelopes mark 'self' in Japanese and distributed and left around Tokyo. As an extension to the original concept, and because of the fortuitous locations found as I distributed the envelopes, I began matching them in pairs, e.g. the man sitting on the ground with a replica of Rodin's Thinker in the background matched with a billboard size image of the Mona Lisa. Or a row of Pachinko parlor seats matched to a row of motorbike seats. Or the advertisement of the moden Japanese man with a beer can in his hand matched with a tv image (in the hotel room) of a samurai with his sword in his hand. The distribution was photographically documented, printed and displayed mounted on mirrors so that the viewer would duplicate the experience with their own multiple self views while looking at the photographic series.

thinker mona

The pairing of the Thinker and the Mona Lisa images.

brushes mt fuji

Paint brushes in an Art store as a window display in the shape of Mt. Fuji and Mt. Fuji as seen on tv.

akihabara 1 akihabara 2

The electronics district of Akihabara was matched with a live telecast of the envelope and hologram inside an electronics store via their outside video camera. As always the reaction from Japanese onlookers was one of...we will bow and smile and hope the silly 'Gaijin' goes away.

samurai beer man

The new age samurai: biru (beer) man.

36 letter


In the hotel room enclosing the thirty-six 1x12cm pulse laser portrait pieces in their respective envelopes and writing the word 'self' in Japanese on the front. Each envelope was numbered from 1-36.