Obsolescence, Forgotten: “Survivor Holograms”, Virtual Reality, and the Future of Holocaust Commemoration
Keywords:Holocaust, Hologram, Embodiment, Virtual Reality, Immersive Narratives
“Survivor holograms” and a VR rendition of the Majdanek concentration camp are two recent examples of the urgent effort to preserve the experience of Holocaust survivors in the “post-witness era.” These innovations, however, deny the tension between the premise of immortality associated with immersive technologies and their inherent planned obsolescence. By closely studying the USC Shoah Foundation’s Dimensions in Testimony, this essay explores how 3D digital projections and room-scale VR construct new regimes of mediation and immersion. This is achieved by developing an understanding of obsolescence as physical (the fragile body of the survivor), technological (non-compatible hardware, software, and algorithms), and narratological (turning testimonies into fragmented soundbites). Taken together, these categories demonstrate that technological solutionism cannot prevent embodied testimonies from sinking into oblivion, and force us to ask what form of memorialization might resist entropy.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2021 Neta Alexander
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.