A peek behind the scenes of everything HOLO. We’ll use this space to share updates and recent developments, to introduce our talented contributors and partners, and to publish personal commentary and work-in-progress.

Alexander Scholz
Filip Visnjic
Greg J. Smith
Nora N. Khan

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© 2021 HOLO

001 – Note: Hello World! (16/11/2020)
Welcome to HOLO 2.5 (beta), the brand-new online edition of HOLO magazine. Here, we’ll share, collaborate, and build community—both extending out of and expanding on what we do in print.
Shapeshifting across disciplines: “Macchina Inutile” is a flexible visual system designed for HOLO 2.5 by Martin Lorenz of TwoPoints.Net

We don’t think it’s odd to be celebrating an in-between issue as HOLO is all about interstices: first between disciplines, now between mediums. Welcome to HOLO 2.5 (beta), the brand-new online edition of HOLO magazine. How this site works—what it will do—emerges out of our work in print as well as our reading of the ever-shifting landscape of internet culture and web publishing. While we relish the thought of our magazine pages yellowing and aging like fine wine, we are thrilled to open ourselves up to bit rot and join the ephemeral, online fray.

What makes us think we have something to offer the web? Well, for starters, between the straitjacket of standard-issue behaviour on corporate social platforms and the homogeneity of most web-based media outlets, we see a lot of room for anything outside those prescriptive routines. We got our bearing in the digital art and creative coding milieu online more than a decade ago, and HOLO was launched as a companion publication to complement CreativeApplications.net and foster surrounding communities; we still cherish the vital international networks that our peers at We Make Money Not Art, Prosthetic Knowledge, and Beyond the Beyond, foregrounded, and the personalities and practices they surfaced. We miss the synergies that happened across those networks during that era.

That said, one can’t subsist on blogosphere nostalgia—and there is no point in doing anything in 2020 without radical optimism. We’ve put a lot of thought into HOLO 2.5 as a platform, a major goal for its design was to fuse our collaborations with cultural producers into Dossiers, web-based research publications that run in parallel with event and exhibition programming, they happen here in real-time and are then archived for posterity (e.g. take a look at our Digital Economies Reader). We are also excited to pull Stream, our fold-out art, science, and technology news ticker out of the magazine and into infinite scroll; other sections from the magazine including our in-depth artist features (from both our archives and a slate of forthcoming new profiles) will join it online soon. By late next year, where the magazine begins and this website ends will be a little blurry.

We are excited to introduce Dossiers, web-based research publications that run in parallel with event and exhibition programming. These thematic folios are a place for experimenting with editorial formats and to archive knowledge produced during festivals and residencies and in labs.

So, what do these changes for existing or prospective HOLO readers?

Existing HOLO 3 pre-orders: You don’t have to do anything! We’ll transfer your reader account to grant you full access to this site, and you’ll get a copy of HOLO 3 when it is published next year. Keep your eyes peeled on your inbox for further details.

Everyone Else: In the coming months we’ll roll out a reader system, and signing up will pre-order the copy of our magazine and grant you access to reader-only content here on the site; It’ll renew yearly, and cost the same as ordering a copy of HOLO did in the past.

This launch is just the first step, 2021 will see us ramp up our online publishing activities—we hope you’ll bookmark us and make us part of your regular media diet.

002 – Patch Notes: HOLO 2.5.1 (24/02/2021)
Since launching HOLO 2.5 in November development has been fast and furious, this update marks the launch of our Reader Accounts and Encounters. The former allows folks to sign up to order The Annual and access reader-only HOLO content, the latter launches our new artist features section.
  • Front Page: Encounter section added
  • Front Page: Dossier section updated
  • Encounters: Launched
  • Stream:  Passed 350-news item mark
  • All Content: New gallery block added
Reader Accounts
  • Accounts: Launched
  • Accounts: HOLO 3 preorders imported
  • Accounts: Retrieve Account page created
  • Accounts: Save Stream items feature added
  • Notification: Coming Soon section added
  • Notification: Reader account info added
  • The Annual: Now available
  • Item: 1 XXL Primordial Soup HOLO T-Shirt left, get it while you can
User Experience
  • Menu: Simplified
  • Front Page/Stream: Pinned posts feature added
  • Front Page: Better shop items and Dossier implementation
✖︎Bug Fixes
  • Dossier: Left sidebar ‘imprint runneth over’ float issues curtailed
  • Stream: ‘All bunged up’ WYSIWYG-induced blockages cleared
003 – Note: Become a HOLO Reader (24/02/2021)
Want to dive deeper into disciplinary interstices and entangled knowledge? Join an international community of artists, designers, cultural workers, and educators by becoming a HOLO Reader!
The total number
of articles
published across
the site—not bad
for 3 months

Three months into our launch, it’s hard to imagine that HOLO never had its own online home; a place where we can share, collaborate, and expand on what we do in print. The numbers speak for themselves: as of today, this website includes 476 pieces of content—75 entries in our first pair of Dossiers, 380 news items on Stream, and the first Encounter, our new monthly series of archival and newly commissioned artist profiles. Meanwhile, the production of our next print edition—the HOLO Annual (aka HOLO 3)—is well underway. Head over the production diary for updates; we’ll share a slate of exciting announcements there soon.

Today, we’re excited to introduce Reader Accounts. As a Reader, you’ll get a lot more out of HOLO—from access to exclusive online content to a boxed edition of The Annual hot off the press:

  • The Annual: receive a boxed edition of the Annual (due this summer), free shipping worldwide
  • Encounters: access our monthly series of in-depth artist profiles (new and from our archives)
  • Updates: access Reader-only production notes and work-in-progress documentation from our (extended) team
  • Stream: access daily log of cultural commentary, emerging tech, and multidisciplinary art and design
  • Archive: access articles and features from past print editions, reimagined in a new online format (coming soon)
  • Special Offers: enjoy discounts for products available in the HOLO Shop and through our collaborators and partners
  • Karma: support independent publishing, help us pay great contributors equitably, and ensure we remain ad-free

Thank you for your continued support!

Already preordered HOLO 3? Please click here to activate your Reader Account. You’ll get full access to exclusive Reader content and The Annual mailed to you later this summer.

004 – Note: Welcome Nora N. Khan! (24/03/2021)
“I’ve drawn on my long, strange and winding travels through art editorial rooms, in and out of collaboration in art–technology spaces, to expand and hopefully deepen its scope.”
Nora N. Khan,
photographed by
Lyndsy Welgos

Despite our expanding online efforts, HOLO’s print edition remains at the heart of what we do. Reimagined as a rotating research framework—see our production diary for details—the HOLO Annual will explore disciplinary interstices with renewed focus and fresh voices in the mix. Every year, a guest Editorial Lead in close collaboration with a Research Partner will develop an agenda around pressing questions and invite a wide range of luminaries to respond. Today, we are proud to announce that Nora N. Khan will steer the 2021 HOLO Annual as Editorial Lead.

Nora N. Khan is a writer of criticism on digital visual culture and the philosophy of emerging technology. Her research focuses on experimental art and music practices that make arguments through software, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. She is a professor at Rhode Island School of Design, in the Digital + Media program, where she teaches critical theory and artistic research, writing and research for artists and designers, and the history of digital media. She’s also the curator behind “Manual Override,” the ambitious 2020 exhibition at NYC’s The Shed, that invited artists including Morehshin Allahyari and Martine Syms to “subvert the values of invasive technological systems.”

Nora first ‘blipped’ on our radar during her tenure with Rhizome, New York, where she shaped the internet and digital art imprint’s voice as editor and lead of its special projects arm. Over the years, we followed her thinking and commentary in top-tier art publications such as Artforum, Flash Art, Mousse, and 4Columns as well as several books. In Seeing, Naming, Knowing (2019), she parsed the logic of predictive algorithms and machine vision, and for Fear Indexing The X-Files (2017), she and co-author Steven Warwick binge-watched the entirety of the 90s sci-fi series and ruminated on its various phobias.

Left: A scene from Drumpilled, a virtual collaboration with Team Rolfes for Unsound 2020

Right: In her most recent book, Seeing, Naming, Knowing (2019, The Brooklyn Rail), Nora parses the logic of predictive algorithms and machine vision
In 2020, Nora was the New York Shed’s first guest curator, organizing “Manual Override,” an exhibition featuring Lynn Hershman Leeson, Sondra Perry, Martine Syms, Morehshin Allahyari, and Simon Fujiwara
A spread from Ian Cheng: Emissaries Guide to Worlding (2018, Serpentine), which Nora contributed to. The book unpacks Cheng’s trilogy of simulations about cognitive evolution, past and future, and the ecological conditions that shape it
A Wild Ass Beyond: ApocalypseRN (2018) is a collaborative installation Nora realized with Sondra Perry, Caitlin Cherry, and American Artist at New York’s Performance Space

However, it’s her idiosyncratic collaborations with artists in the HOLO-verse that really captured our attention: she framed Casey Reas’ machine hallucinations in Making Pictures with Generative Adversarial Networks, worked alongside Sondra Perry, Caitlin Cherry, and American Artist on the installation A Wild Ass Beyond: ApocalypseRN, and meditated on Ian Cheng’s mythical simulations in Emissaries Guide to Worlding. And then there are weird and wonderful collusions that are a little harder to categorize: a virtual influencer that chronicled Unsound festival (with Team Rolfes), a libretto script for an opera about fiber-optic technology (with Bill Kouligas and Spiros Hadjidjanos), and fictions for an mixed reality installation about microbes (with Tuomas Laitinen). This transdisciplinary savviness in experimenting with narrative and format matches great with our ambitions for The Annual.

“In just a few short weeks Nora’s voice has enriched our thinking, offering fresh perspective, generous reflection, and incisive curiosity. The HOLO Annual couldn’t be in better hands!”

Nora joined our team in February, after outlining a bold vision in response to a private call we circulated amongst several of our favourite writers and editors. “Serious journalistic research ‘reveals’ the works of a system;” read one line in her proposal. “Artworks investigate the logic of algorithms; critics narrate the reveals,” read another. It’s been non-stop brainstorming ever since. “I’ve drawn on my long, strange and winding travels through art editorial rooms, in and out of collaboration in art–technology spaces, to expand and hopefully deepen its scope,” she wrote in one of her emails. Similarly, under her leadership, The Annual will create (more) space for vital questions and expand the conversation.

We wholeheartedly welcome Nora to the HOLO team! In just a few short weeks her voice has enriched our thinking, offering fresh perspective, generous reflection, and incisive curiosity. We’re excited to support Nora realize her vision, knowing the HOLO Annual couldn’t be in better hands.

You’ll be able to read more from Nora very soon! Next week, she will take over the aforementioned development diary to, as she put it, “think in public,” as The Annual comes together. There, she’ll wrestle with vexing questions and converse with key contributors, documenting her process as we shape—and reshape—our magazine. After all, This Isn’t Even My Final Form.

This dossier is in progress. Please check back for future entries.