WootBot


quality posts: 14 Private Messages WootBot

Staff

In case you're not as hip to the cutting edge of pop culture like us deal-a-day website copywriters, you might not have heard that Tupac Shakur, one of the most famous rappers of all time, made his grand return to the stage at last weekend's Coachella festival. It was his first appearance since 1996.

Because that's when he died.

But that didn't stop someone from constructing a pretty-realistic-looking hologram and trotting it out on the stage, marionette style, to rap alongside Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Here's the video, but in case you live under a rock, any video with Tupac, Dre, and/or Snoop is certainly NSFW:

 

 

People have reacted, overall, pretty positively. Despite the weird Neo/Messiah disappearing trick at the end, and the fact that they basically marched out a dead man to make him dance on command for their own entertainment. So why is this so gross to me?

"Hey, what about his albums and videos and whatnot?" you might say, "is it wrong to enjoy those now that he's gone? Is it morbid to pop in a Beatles CD since half of them are dead and unable to defend themselves?" Well, no. See, those things were made for the specific purpose of mass consumption. John Lennon meant for as many people as possible to hear that music when he made it; ditto for Tupac. But is it as acceptable to take a dead person's music and use it to sell shoes, cars, clothes, or electronics? It happens all the time, but it's still kind of skeezy to me.

The issue at heart, I think, is consent. Albums, music videos, posters, books, whatever someone creates and releases to the public was obviously meant to be discovered and enjoyed. Obviously we shouldn't put away our Elvis records in solemn memorial; Elvis would probably be thrilled to learn he's still a cultural icon. And the "songs in commercials" bit is icky to me, but one could make the argument that some tracks just transcend to a level of permanent relevance. They become part of the zeitgeist; they're part of the shared culture because they're so widespread that everyone knows the tune. And again, if everything's above board then someone - the artist, the artist's estate, or whoever now holds the rights - had to give permission and judge the use to be worth it.

But making a dead man sing and dance on stage 16 years after he's gone? That's gross to me.

Maybe Tupac was extremely ahead of his time and anticipated not only this technology but his tragic, untimely death. Maybe somewhere there's a contract with his signature that states, "make me a hologram." But I doubt it. And I'll give the people who did this the benefit of the doubt and assume they did this to honor a talented artist and friend and it's totally not a money-making scheme, but it raises some interesting points. Now that he's on a hard drive, how hard would it be do procure my own Tupac and take him on tour? What's to stop any act with the money from renting out digital Tupac and making him collaborate on their latest funk/folk/ska project? This isn't exactly Natalie Cole singing with her dad; this is approaching some Revelation Space Alpha Level Simulation stuff.

What do you think? Would you pay money to go see hologram Jimi Hendrix or take in a set from hologram Bill Hicks? Or is this too far over the line?

sandchigger


quality posts: 0 Private Messages sandchigger

I think a better question is "how far does this go?" Will we be seeing holographic Cary Grant dancing around with a holographic Marilyn Monroe in a new movie in a couple years? If so, how long until we see bootleg Marilyn on Marilyn pr0n?

taternuggets


quality posts: 21 Private Messages taternuggets

Yeah, I think it's crap. It's just people, including his family, wanting to cash in by exploiting his digital corpse.

However, It makes me chuckle when I picture the audience members looking at each other with that obvious question written on their faces... "Wait, didn't this guy die?"


Nothing follows.

mikemol


quality posts: 2 Private Messages mikemol

We have actors reenact historical and public figures, living and long dead, in both respectful and satirical contexts.

What makes Tupac immune to a type of performance we might expect to see Einstein, Charlie Chaplain or F. A. Hayek in? That he died a gruesome death? What about Abraham Lincoln or Vincent van Gogh?

tgentry


quality posts: 111 Private Messages tgentry

Staff

It's also not actually a hologram.

regentswift


quality posts: 3 Private Messages regentswift

why stop with a hologram?

why not actually dig him up and drag him across stage? i'm sure they could sell a few CDs that way.

tgentry


quality posts: 111 Private Messages tgentry

Staff

I wouldn't mind seeing Hologram Ronald Reagan come out sometime during the presidential campaign.

olcubmaster


quality posts: 30 Private Messages olcubmaster

Ladies and gentlemen, welcoming to the National Theater and the live performance by Firesign Theater in "I Think We're All On This Bus.

Playing the part tonight of Peter Bergman is Peter Bergman's hologram.

Sugar 'em up and send 'em home

stingray69


quality posts: 4 Private Messages stingray69

Maybe he did have the forethought to put a hologram (and other hologram-like technology) clause in his contracts. Remember the Dave Chappelle sketch (NSFW)?

gcreedon


quality posts: 0 Private Messages gcreedon

Part of the reason you find it 'gross' is the idea of the "Uncanny Valley".

Wikipedia can be fun sometimes when they really scholarly studies that refer to zombies. Here for your pleasure:

wiki wiki

The uncanny valley is a hypothesis in the field of robotics and 3D computer animation, which holds that when human replicas look and act almost, but not perfectly, like actual human beings, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers. The "valley" in question is a dip in a proposed graph of the positivity of human reaction as a function of a robot's human likeness.

The term was coined by the robotics professor Masahiro Mori as Bukimi no Tani Genshō (不気味の谷現象) in 1970. The hypothesis has been linked to Ernst Jentsch's concept of "the uncanny" identified in a 1906 essay, "On the Psychology of the Uncanny."Jentsch's conception was elaborated by Sigmund Freud in a 1919 essay entitled "The Uncanny" ("Das Unheimliche").

FenStar


quality posts: 16 Private Messages FenStar

He doesn't care, on account that he is dead, so what is the problem?

Still single, can't imagine why.

abitterwoman


quality posts: 27 Private Messages abitterwoman

You know, I'm really torn on this one. While this video was a little unsettling, and the goal, more than likely was to cash in, I don't think disrespect was intended. While I obviously can't speak for Tupac, we all know he was an entertainer and loved his fans. I think a lot of people miss him and enjoyed the tribute. That hologram (or whatever it was) was pretty amazing. If Tupac was looking down and watching it happen, the only thing I can imagine him saying is, "Damn, I look good." I don't think the line has been crossed...yet.

"Computers don't make errors. What they do, they do on purpose."

tommeny


quality posts: 0 Private Messages tommeny

I think you've run out of things to talk about.

llandar


quality posts: 32 Private Messages llandar
mikemol wrote:We have actors reenact historical and public figures, living and long dead, in both respectful and satirical contexts.

What makes Tupac immune to a type of performance we might expect to see Einstein, Charlie Chaplain or F. A. Hayek in? That he died a gruesome death? What about Abraham Lincoln or Vincent van Gogh?



In your example, though, actors are depicting a person of historical note to give us a glimpse into what made them who they are (and, yes, entertain us).

I realize we're basically just arguing opinion and that can only go so far, but in my mind it's the difference between Bruno Ganz's amazing turn as Hitler in Downfall and creating a Hitler hologram so that people could boo and throw eggs at him.

antiavenger


quality posts: 0 Private Messages antiavenger

Earlier today someone compared this to Hatsune Miku. If you don't know who that is, wiki it.
Ultimately, that comparison is so spot on with me that I really agree with you Randall...

wootfast


quality posts: 3 Private Messages wootfast

Staff

Digital Domain's Tupac is a fun premise. And it took a bumpy ride through uncanny valley to get here.(they did Benji Buttons and that thing that looked like young Jeff Bridges in Tron Legacy)

I think they have finally got a good way to showcase what they can do. Like the switch from a live action Dr. Seuss films to CGI. Jim Carrey was both Horton and The Grinch.

The most important thing is to win over the crowd. So bravo, Digital Domain, I am all in for what the future holds for holograms. Even though its not a real hologram.

...also ditto on Hatsune Miku. Youtube Channel: "Kids React to:" asked a poignant question about this last October. Jump to 3:25

cselk


quality posts: 0 Private Messages cselk

Not that different than Nat King Cole performing post mortem with Natlie Cole.

Paverbart


quality posts: 1 Private Messages Paverbart

Not a rap fan, never really have been but that was pretty cool. To those asking what this could lead to or if it's OK, I have one name to throw out there...Elvis.

apoor


quality posts: 2 Private Messages apoor
tgentry wrote:It's also not actually a hologram.



+1 tgentry. I wish people would stop calling every rear-projection effect "a hologram" just because they can see through it. It's not even close to the same thing.

Alfred Poor
HDTV Almanac

bogus


quality posts: 11 Private Messages bogus

What about Elvis impersonators or Freddie Mercury night at the local karaoke bar? I don't really agree or disagree with holo-pac but this is basically just a continuation of decades-old practices.

What *is* wrong about this is that somewhere, some sleazy lawyer is getting free money by licensing Tupac's "image". American IPR law is a total joke but the near complete destruction of the concept of public domain is the greatest travesty of all. 15 years is more than long enough for a dead artist's backers to get their money's worth, now it's just base corporate welfare.

maxrfb


quality posts: 8 Private Messages maxrfb

I seem to recall there was a very similar uproar a few years ago when they inserted a Digital Fred Astaire into a Dirt Devil commercial
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0h1lw7mxIw
And a digital John Wayne into at least three Coors commercials
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPsc2uotAKo and
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAhiYgHkxuk and
http://youtu.be/j0UyzI-Isig.

And then the uproar died away.

wow. I actually bought a Robot Elvis.
What was I thinking?

00000100


quality posts: 9 Private Messages 00000100

I hear people saying that it's not a hologram. What is it? Regardless of how you feel about the cultural impact, I am very curious about the technology.

loatu


quality posts: 1 Private Messages loatu

Miku Hatsune info. Since a completely holographic japanese idol is already out there.

This is just a continuation of the progression we're seeing. Artists these days make most of their money in touring, so why wouldn't a music production company look to cut costs by completely eliminating the human body that they used to have to pay millions to get to show up. Now they can just play a movie and call it good. Unless of course people decide it's not worth paying to see a hologram "in concert". (Though clearly Japanese people flock to see Miku Hatsune. The other obvious benefit of using holograms is that the image can be whatever you want. Instead of paying $400 to go see decrepit 70 year old "rock stars", they could just do a hologram of the same stars when they were in their prime. Photoshop effect already takes place in pictures and movie, why not in concerts? Female pop stars generally are only popular as long as they're pretty and a hologram can be the "perfect girl" that people want to watch for 100 years. There's a reason that the wiki page above cited shows her birth day/month but not year, and she'll always be 16.

Do I agree/not agree with this trend? I honestly don't much care. Businesses are gonna do what makes them money. They generally don't care about "should" vs "shouldn't". So if this keeps happening and people keep shelling out for it, it will keep happening. If they don't, then it'll stop.

myuen02


quality posts: 1 Private Messages myuen02

I think my main problem with it is from an artistic standpoint. Have artists become so lazy that they need to trot out dead artists in order to stay relevant? I like Pac as much as the next guy, but I expect modern artists to innovate and create their own new thing without pandering to fans in this manner. Sure it's risky and people might hate it, but isn't that the purpose of art?

The technology is actually pretty simple. It's just a projection and some two way reflective foil; not really a hologram a la Star Trek.

See this diagram:

theant


quality posts: 7 Private Messages theant

a note for anyone still looking, the embedded link at the top of the blog post has been "blocked due to copyright claims"... if you search for tupoc on youtube though, you can still find other copy's of the video in question.

18echo


quality posts: 0 Private Messages 18echo

I was about to say that doing this crossed the line, then you mentioned Monroe..

Line? What line? Full speed ahead..