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This Animated Hologram Grew Out of Cave Paintings and Humans in Revolt

Holograms, animation, and mythology collide in artist Etienne Guiol’s installation ‘A I M’.
Image courtesy the artist

Holography is as aesthetically, technologically, and chronologically distant from ancient paintings as any art form, but the artist Etienne Guiol and his compatriots at BK I Digital art company fuse the two media his new work A I M. In an evocative teaser video, the French artist shows his holographic animation of a character throwing an object in an abandoned factory. The work is visually stunning.


Guiol tells The Creators Project that he is in love with the movement of throwing, and he wanted to approach it through his preferred language—drawing. Since he learned to draw, Guiol has been working with charcoal on various surfaces and with various applications. He likes charcoal as a tool and media because it is, as he says, “natural, ancestral, and used since the beginning of art” in caves.

“After my studies (at an art school in Lyon, France), I began to work on operas and dance shows, and I wanted to put my drawing on stage with projection,” Guiol says. “That was the mix for me, between traditional art and contemporary vision, contemporary material.”

“During my work I discovered that the first holograms were used on stage for visual effects with Pepper’s ghost,” he says, referring to the holographic technology that used two rooms, a mirror and lighting to create an optical illusion. “Holograms are the technical continuation of video projection—it’s natural.”

Guiol believes that making a surface transparent is the goal of the contemporary image. So, the idea for the A I M installation was a contrast between what Guiol says is the “virtuality of the image and the volcanic set.”

To create A I M, Guiol did a number of studies with a model, video, 3D modeling, anatomy, and dancers. Using a tablet pen he created 2D animations to find the right type of animation, rhythms, and the number of images necessary to create the act of throwing an object. Ultimately, Guiol settled on 25 images.


“I choose different [versions] of people throwing around the world,” Guiol explains, selecting images of people in France, the US, Tunisia, Germany, Thailand, and China, amongst other locations. “Based on the 25 images, I drew 500 original charcoal drawings.”

Guiol animated the drawings in After Effects, while collaborator Paul Lecomte created the sound design and music. The set featured 661 pounds of volcanic materials, mist, a plastic panel, a holographic screen, Damien Schahmaneche’s 3D holographic beamer projectors (controlled by Arnaud Pottier), and 3D mapping inside Resolum Arena.

“This movement became an obsession because I saw it all day on the media during the different revolutions, especially the Arab Spring,” Guiol says. “At this time I began to draw some figures throwing. Step by step, I accumulate drawings, seeing how this action is continually present in human history, from David and Goliath to the Palestinian conflict, from Greek art to Banksy’s art.”

Guiol, who plans to present it in galleries and at art fairs, hopes A I M helps viewers think about our contemporary world—about virtual vision and “volcanic reality”. “This action is iconic, mythological and completely tragic,” he adds. “For me, art has to be a reflection of this world, and this movement is that through the time.”

Click here to see more work by BK I Digital art company.


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