In another very interesting work, Diaa investigates the properties of holography in relation to concept art. A basic tenet of concept art is that the idea behind the artwork is the artwork. An early simplified illustration of this principle in visual arts is One and Three Chairs by Joseph Kosuth, in which the real form, the visual form, and the verbal form of an object are presented side-by-side. This presentation demonstrates how the idea can be disconnected from the object in a visual art piece, because it becomes clear that replacing the original real and visual forms does not affect the artwork.
Using a carefully designed experimental setup and a formal analysis of his experimental results, Diaa demonstrates that a holographic recording “stores” a multifaceted representation of an object. He then argues that holography, due to its nature, necessarily transcends Kosuth’s model, and must hence be considered a post-conceptual method. To prove this, Diaa elucidates how holograms simultaneously (a) recreate a perceived “reality” that is sufficient to represent the real form of an object, (b) function as a pictorial representation of the object, and (c) encode the object into a “verbal” (numerical, to be precise) representation, in the form of a recorded interference pattern.
What I find the most fascinating about Diaa’s work is that it required scientific concepts and methodology to formalize theory-of-art statements. It is also interesting that, in both Diaa’s and Kosuth’s analyses, it is the verbal (or numerical) form that emerges as the most fundamental or irreplaceable. I am intrigued to learn more about these two aspects in the coming weeks.