This week the web is buzzing with news that Tupac Shakur’s return to this world as a holographic computer-generated image at Coachella may have changed the way we think of the art of representing the dead for entertainment. If Tupac, aka 2-Pac or Machiavelli as he so referred to himself on stage this week, can return to our plane of existence as a ghost in the machine, what’s stopping the rest of our heros from becoming the living dead as well? Absolutely nothing, that’s what.
Tupac is a legendary human being, known around the world not just as a rapper, but as a celebrity that represents the whole of the culture he so virulently infected the world with in a wholly positive way. A concert like this, with Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg bringing on hit after hit to represent the culture they helped create as well, the crowd (in person and at home) were set up perfectly to receive a pitch like holographic Tupac. They’ve taken the pitch and have hit it out of the park on the web.
Talk nearly immediately broke out surrounding the idea that Tupac’s hologram would go on tour. A holographic music artist going on tour is no unheard of – the Gorillaz have done it for several years with fabulous results. Some of the same people that brought you the holographic Gorillaz you saw at the Grammys performing with Madonna created holographic Tupac.
Another situation quite similar to this in its implications is the CLU representation of Jeff Bridges in Tron: Legacy. This 1985 version of Bridges was acted by 2000s Bridges with sensors on his face, his ability to be 20 year younger version of himself made believable.
Now that Tupac has performed on-stage 16 years after he first departed from this world. The physical body of the performer no longer needs to be in the house for their contribution to the audience to be real. Expect Nirvana, The Beatles, and Jimi Hendrix to be going on tour soon.