SOUTH SHORE — The Chicago Museum of Holography is calling out the New Regal Theater’s holographic projectors as hologram imposters before they’ve even been installed.
Moshe Tamssot, who saved the Museum of Holography’s collections and is trying to reopen the museum, asked the theater and its partner, Hologram USA, to stop saying its projectors create holograms in its efforts to raise $150,000 to reopen the theater.
“It’s called ‘pepper’s ghost,’ it’s a turn-of-the-century illusion that has nothing to do with holography,” Tamssot.
The projectors the theater at 1641 E. 79th St. is planning to install project 3-D images on an angled screen that make it appear as if the image has materialized on stage. The technology was first invented in the 1860s and has been adapted recently to create illusions like the Michael Jackson appearing on the 2014 Billboard Music Awards five years after his death.
“They’re really crude, it’s not science,” Tamssot said.
He said the projectors have nothing to do with holography and damages the history of the science first developed by scientists in the 1960s that the museum is trying to protect.
"Hologram USA has always been clear that its patented technology is an HD update on pepper's ghost," said a spokesman for Hologram USA. "This popular usage is preferred by the public and the media as the easiest way to understand the impact of these projections."
Tamssot suggested the theater call it pepper’s ghost illusions or “fauxlographic” technology and drop all reference to holograms.
“They have an impact on us as a museum because we’re focused on bringing holography back to Chicago,” Tamssot said.
Jerald Gary, who’s leading the project to restore the New Regal Theater, said he wasn't sure Tamssot's comments warranted a change in how the projectors are referred to.
Both the theater project and Tamssot wished each other luck on their work to reopen shuttered Chicago institutions.
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