Last week in Afghanistan's Hazarajat region, two massive Buddha holograms filled in the space left behind by the Bamiyan Buddhas, a pair of 1,500-year-old statues that the Taliban destroyed with explosives in 2001. Beamed from a $120,000 projector setup designed by Chinese documentarians Janson Yu and Liyan Hu, the holograms were displayed for over 150 onlookers, including LA Times reporter Ali Latifi, who snapped this picture of what might biggest digital ressurection since Tupac. Thus far, the holograms are the most successful in a series of attempted restoration projects for what were once the tallest Buddhas in the world (standing at 165' and 120' tall, respectively), including a laser light installation proposed by Hiro Yamagata in 2005. With numerous threatened historic sites in the region, technologies like holograms, 3D printing, and virtual reality are increasingly becoming viable ways to preserve cultural landmarks.
Lu and Hu have donated their projecting system to the cause of the Bamiyan Buddhas, and if the holograms continue to shine in Hazarajat, it could attract the tourism industry that locals and international organizations have been working to rebuild for years. See the new Bamiyan Buddhas in footage from CCTV and AJ+ below.