HOLO 2 – The Future is (Out) Now

From the paradoxical nature of our impending quantum (computing) future to the enduring mystery of the Big Bang – the ideas explored in HOLO 2 could not be any bigger. We think it shows.

It’s no surprise that insatiable curiosity mixed with, at times, stubborn determination yielded another beast of a magazine – at 236 pages, HOLO 2 is not only bigger than our first outing; it surpasses it in many ways. We’ve never worked with so many contributors across such great distances (about 12,000 km between Casey Reas in LA, Fanqiao Wang in Shanghai and Mitchell Whitelaw in Canberra – we truly span the globe). In our effort to contextualize the present we dove even deeper into the past (in search for true randomness we look back to beginning of the universe, and we met face to face with 92-year old digital art pioneer Vera Molnar) and we brought art and science a little closer together as well (by having software artist Casey Reas chat with theoretical computer scientist Scott Aaronson). “Technology has already blurred absolutes to great effect,” we muse on disciplinary “superposition” in our editorial note. And both the wealth of fields covered – astronomy, data science, human-computer interaction, psychology, social engineering – and the breadth of talents involved in creating it make this magazine equal parts documentation and product of nascent transdisciplinary practice. Welcome back to the frontiers of 21st century creativity.


236 pages of ‘emerging trajectories in art, science, and technology’. Order your copy now and it will ship this week.

Granted, our return to the “(not-so-distant) future” has been quite the journey. Some of the milestones are captured here on CAN. Other (war) stories are still waiting to be told. Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll share additional insights into the production of the magazine – the idiosyncratic machinations that grew a ‘glitch crystal’ from 2 million human-generated random numbers for our cover, for example. We’re also eager to continue the many conversations started in this issue – with our featured artists, fellow contributors, and with you out there. For the moment, now that the feverish work is done, there’s nothing more satisfying than sharing our good news and a few glimpses into our second issue.


 ↑ All photos by Jennifer Endom

“My work is not the fear of facing this vast immeasurable universe, but how incredible it is that we can come face to face with the Big Bang.”

Katie Paterson (UK), featured artist

 ↑ Into the artist’s studio: from the ‘sweet spot’ in Ryoichi Kurokawa’s Berlin studio, to Jürg Lehni’s electronics-laden workbenches in Zurich, to Vera Molnar’s sunny attic study in Paris – HOLO 2 encounters seven influential artists at work.


“I started working with heartbeats when my wife was pregnant with my twins. Being a nerd, I asked for two ultrasonic machines to listen to them simultaneously—their heartbeats were incredibly different.”

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (MX/CA), featured artist

 ↑ Always bet on green: this issue’s thematic inquiry into ‘chance, (un)certainty, and true randomness’ tells the strange tales of random number generation in WW2, a predictive analytics industry in contemporary Silicon Valley, and chance as a catalyst for complexity (natural and artificial) in creative practice.

“Einstein’s objections to quantum mechanics were rather nuanced; he saw some of the core conceptual issues that trouble people to this day.”

– Scott Aaronson (US), theoretical scientist, in conversation with software artist Casey Reas


 ↑ An exercise in randomness: each copy of HOLO 2 comes with a PRNG (paper random number generator) for you to assemble. Not quite a timepiece and not quite a compass, this ‘cryptoclock’ can dial up random numbers around the clock.

“Our need for random numbers foregrounds the fundamental limits of our knowledge, scientific objectivity, and the fallibility of human perception.”

Paul Prudence (UK) on the history of random number generation

 ↑ Big spaces, big thinking: research institutes like CERN and SETI are shrines to science. We turn a critical eye on these institutes’ residency programs to see how their particle accelerators and supercomputers inform artistic practice, and ponder what the hosts gain from these collaborations.


“Accessing virtual space alone while wearing a headset describes a technical situation that entrenches a very particular vision of the modern subject: someone who is perceptually atomized and experientially isolated.”

Geoff Manaugh (US) on the implications of VR


 ↑ The future unfolds: robot choreography, cryptocurrency intrigue, and a new gene-editing technique poses an ethical dilemma – a lot can happen in 365 days. Our sprawling timeline compiles a year’s worth of art, science, and technology news as text and over 2,500 (computationally arranged) images.

↓ Want more? Great! To order HOLO 2 (or a subscription) visit the CAN shop via the button below.


236 pages of ‘emerging trajectories in art, science, and technology’. Order your copy now and it will ship this week.


While we worked steadily on our second issue, we occasionally popped up for air and to share a status report; review our journey through these posts:

The Grand TourAn Illustrated CountdownBack to the (not-so-distant) future

Finally—Thanks to our partners

HOLO 2 wouldn’t be possible without some truly amazing supporters. This issue’s partners are the freshly-minted interdisciplinary research-focused ACT Centre in Gwangju (South Korea); ELEKTRA, responsible for the yearly audiovisual performance and installation-focused ELEKTRA festival as well as the BIAN digital art biennale in Montréal; Minneapolis’ venerable Eyeo, organizers of the very beloved festival of the same name and the interactive installation-focused INST-INT; FRAMED*, the manufacturers of the recently released “interactive canvas for the twenty-first century” digital art display; onedotzero, the storied London-based cultural producer who deal in event organizing and commissions on a global scale; the high profile fine art printing specialists at RECOM ART in Berlin; Tokyo’s peerless Rhizomatiks creative collective, who are currently reinventing projection and stage design; and the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe (Germany), one of the foremost art and technology institutions in the world. It is an honour to work with these organizations!