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Clara Podlesnigg
Doctoral candidate, second cohort (2020-2023)

Holograms and their Promises – A Pragmatic Approach in the Contexts of Platforms and Popular Culture

Three-dimensional, dazzling and semi-transparent images floating in space: this is how the hologram has inscribed itself in pop culture. As holistic representations that transcend the screen, holograms have always claimed to be new and disruptive. My dissertation posits that when the hologram emerges, it is never trivial. The thesis is concerned with the ubiquity of the idea of the hologram as a forever concept. In particular, it contributes to the question of how the dynamic between the scientific and the illusionary is expressed in compact moving image content. A media-pragmatic approach to platform economies and creator cultures offers a concentrated view of the hologram as an attraction. Using case studies ranging from YouTube tutorials and museum objects to advertising and special effects productions, live concerts and reality TV, the significance of the hologram in the context of current media transformations is examined. As a promising future technology – according to a central thesis of my work – the hologram can never be completely pinned down to a specific use or purpose, but always remains as an imaginary model that can be reused, reformatted and reperformed.

Fig. 1:
Screenshot Patent Application "Hologram pyramid", 2017.
Fig. 2:
Screenshot An Evening With Whitney: It’s Not Right But It’s Okay YouTube, 7 March 2020.


Clara Podlesnigg was a research fellow and doctoral candidate in the research training group “Configurations of Film” at the Philipps University Marburg from September 2020 to February 2024. Since March 2024, she has been working on the completion of her doctorate and the development of a follow-up project as part of a grant. For the summer term 2024, she will be a lecturer in film studies at Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz. She studied theater, film and media studies as well as Scandinavian studies at the Universities of Vienna and Umeå, and completed the international master’s program Cinema Studies at Stockholm University. She spent one year as a research fellow at the Filmmuseum Düsseldorf, acting as a curator at their archive and cinema, and afterwards worked at the German Film Institute (DFF) and the Hessen Film and Media Academy (hFMA).