- Jul 22 2020
- Cassie Thornton is an artist and activist who makes a “safe space” for the unknown, for disobedience and for unanticipated collectivity. She uses social practices including institutional critique, insurgent architecture, and “healing modalities” like hypnosis and yoga to find soft spots in the hard surfaces of capitalist life. Cassie has invented a grassroots alternative credit reporting service for the survivors of gentrification, has hypnotized hedge fund managers, has finger-painted with the grime found inside banks, has donated cursed paintings to profiteering bankers, and has taught feminist economics to yogis (and vice versa). She has worked in close collaboration with freelance curators and producers including Taraneh Fazeli, Magdalena Jadwiga Härtelova, Dani Admiss, Amanda Nudelman, Misha Rabinovich, Caitlin Foley and Laurel Ptak. Her projects, invited and uninvited, have appeared at (or in collaboration with) Transmediale Festival for Media Arts, San Francisco MoMA, West Den Haag, Moneylab, Swissnex San Francisco, Pro Arts Gallery & Commons, Dream Farm Commons, Furtherfield, Gallery 400, Strike Debt Bay Area, Red Bull Detroit, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, Flux Factory, Bemis Center for the Arts, Berliner Gazette and more.
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This article is about the Parafictional Social Practice Art Project. For other uses, see Hologram (disambiguation)
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The Hologram is a post-economic social organizing system composed of post-secular social practices that distribute attention, value and health to all living beings. Initiated in the lead up to the First Global Pandemic of 2020, The Hologram appeared at first to be a viral art project, but soon revealed itself to be a new social technology that assembled voluntary participants into teams of four to experiment with new models of health and social care. It is widely acknowledged  that this social practice and storytelling strategy came to comprise the original building blocks for what has come to be known as the post-money economy (PME): an attempt to organize and value social and environmental resources based on their ability to produce common health and life, rather than private material wealth. 
Due to its viral nature, which empowers practitioners to adapt to local and collective circumstances, The Hologram and its derivatives have taken many thousands of forms, but almost all are marked by some or all of a suite of common features, notably the stigmatization of private property, the use of the health accumulation index, the autonomous coordination of socially necessary labor, practices of the non-transactional exchange of attention and care, and deschooling from competition.
Since 2020, the practice has grown into what most experts consider to be a fundamental element of social life , and it is popularly believed, especially among its practitioners, to be a tendency that has always been dormant in the human experience. Most practitioners agree that the Hologram was originally developed by estranged artists (a now-obsolete “job” category) mostly living in jurisdictions at the heart of former capitalist and colonialist empires (“cities” that had the highest rate of suicide, addiction and depression before The Great Isolation). Most origin stories hold that these artists were organized by a figure named Cassandra, though historians have questioned her influence and even her existence. Today, the practice has become a central element of the global solidarity social architecture (GSSA).
Holograms do not simply produce the illusion of depth but are truly three-dimensional.
Overview and history 
Starting in 2020 the Hologram emerged as a practice and is [as of the 2037 world practice census] embedded in the daily life of at least 25 million people . However, when one includes its many derivative forms and unofficial uses, as well as the natural spread of its social benefits, it is said to be “bigger than Beyoncé” and more accessible.
During The Great Isolation, when many people’s daily lives transformed from the post-industrial gig work habits through the quasi-fascist healthy life strategy , an artist now known simply as Cassandra initiated a series of small-group practices known as The Hologram, mostly among other precarious artists. In Greek mythology, Cassandra is cursed to utter true prophecies, but never to be believed, leading to the common rhetorical usage of the term to refer to someone issuing unbelievable warnings. In subtle contrast, today the term refers to an accurate prophesy that cannot be believed, but must in any case be adhered to in spite of disbelief to forestall potential calamity.
According to most practitioners and many historians, the historical figure Cassandra was an anxious and self conscious artist who, early in 2020, released a formula for social participation in “collective health” in the city of London, then the capital of a violent political formation known as a “nation-state” called the United Kingdom. Said to be twitchy and sweaty from having lived a socially complicated and transient life and waging an unsuccessful war against a system of exploitation known as capitalism, lore has it she would say things like “I wonder what a post-individualism feminist economy looks like, and if I can be trusted to imagine it?”  (with the voluntary abolition of the internet some decades later, almost all of Cassandra’s written records have been lost). It is believed that she moved to London in the days before the outbreak of the COVID19 pandemic in 2019. Historians surmise that The Hologram was meant to be something artistic and confrontational in step with the other art of the time .
In a passage widely credited to Cassandra, she describes the way “the Great Isolation granted the canvas needed for many people, who carried the burden of privilege like a pair of golden handcuffs attaching them to a comfortable captivity of reality avoidance, to re-draw their lives and their daily routines.” In what many consider to be divine providence, the Great Isolation was the time when The Hologram was first being seriously disseminated through workshops and public events on the internet, a now-obsolete addictive network of rudimentary computing machines largely controlled by a violent artificial predatory species known as corporations.
In the years following the event, many psychologists argued that the Great Isolation was an important excuse for people to “discover and strive for what they really wanted, to cancel their plans so they could rest at home alone.” It is debated whether the Great Isolation was the cause or the effect of the Great Cutting of the Cord, the beginning of the end of what was once deemed The Internet.
According to the oral history shared by most factions and tendencies that ascribe their lineage to The Hologram, at the height of the Great Isolation, most social events and many meetings related to work and culture began to take place on the internet including the initial Hologram workshops. People from all over the world began to correspond during weekly meetups led by Cassandra. Thanks to its viral and adaptable nature, within a year of its launch it is estimated that 250,000 people were practicing some version of the Hologram. Starting in around 2028, Mondays (a now-obsolete and much-hated period demarcating one full rotation of the earth within an arbitrary cycle or seven such periods developed to expedite the exploitation of labour) were designated the day of Social Holography at Home (Shh) though much folklore suggests that similar days committed to collective forms of care have been common in human social organization throughout the history of the species. Today, the Shh remains a common cross-cultural name for an extended period when people stay at home and take time to catch up on their contribution to their Hologram network.
The success of the Hologram is often attributed to the effect of COVID19 virus and especially its appetite for killing older white men. During and after the pandemic the earth lost most of its warlords, both in the sphere known as government and the sphere known as “the economy.” This cull was shortly followed and compounded by a succession of failed rocket launches where the warlords of large corporations perished seeking to escape the ecological and social destruction that characterised the earth they had pillaged. Most historians agree that sabotage was likely a factor in some if not all explosions. In the vacuum left behind, the practice of The Hologram became seamless and ubiquitous on nearly every continent. While it started as something quite humble, advertised like a pyramid scheme (a secular and populist capitalist religious practice) and discussed on morning talk shows (a daily capitalist spiritual observance) the earliest written record we have related to the Hologram, by an anonymous writer, speaks of it as “women’s new work: a way to distribute the grief associated with the trauma of losing all world leaders. But quickly The Hologram morphed into a type of party-line, where women, trans people and revolutionaries of all sorts sat on couches, at home, all over the world as they discussed how good they felt with the erasure of power having taken place. The practice was used to ensure that health continued as the users of The Hologram prepared to defend and protect the new non-hierarchy that had arrived.”
How it works 
The Hologram is so common a part of the daily life routine of the people who use it that it can be quite hard to define where it ends and where the rest of their life begins . Original instructions, which were written by Cassandra before the internet ended, can be found in part in the Internet Archives and are reproduced here for the sake of authenticity and a sample of the quaintly archaic yet undeniably forward-looking language.
[Present-day readers are warned that, when reading the context, do not be offended by the references to the individual, to private healthcare, to ownership, and the boundaries between oneself and the other. You must remember that this was written before The Great Isolation, before the turn towards collective desires; the content was/is not intended to be offensive.]
“The Hologram is a simple social practice that you can organize to take care of your own health, and it will help you take care of other people at the same time. This practice does not replace going to get whatever kind of medical care you already have, want or need. But it will help you and your community to give better care, by distributing care work between groups of people to take the burden off of individuals.
Your health is multi-dimensional, like a hologram. Imagine if you had three people asking you about your health: someone concerned about your physical health, someone else asking you about your mental/emotional experience and another interested in understanding your social life? These three people would not be experts, they would be friends or acquaintances – …
Invite three people who you trust to make a commitment to meet with you every season, to be a part of your hologram. That would mean that they all would meet with you for an agreed upon time and ask you really good questions about how you are doing...
...They would help you see yourself by seeing you, in all your dimensions. They would begin to develop an alternative record about your long term health, they would see your patterns and help you see them too, and they would help you do co-research when you need to make a big decision, or accompany you if you need in person support at an important moment. These people are not experts...
No one wants to receive care from someone if the caretakers’ needs are not being met. That is why it is important that the members of your care Triangle are working towards finding three people to care for them, ... How can you be supportive of the people who care for you, so that they know that their own support system matters? Not just for you but for their whole community?
After you are comfortable receiving care as a Hologram, the real healing begins when you extend your energy to support someone else. The most important part of this model happens now: You need to make someone else a Hologram.” 
Sometimes referred to as the last laugh of capitalism, no one knows if The Hologram is actually as pure as it seems. Elder critics with pre-Great Isolation memory have labeled it a West Coast (referring to the former North America and the land that used to be known as California) Social Practice (an art form labeled by Ted Purves in San Francisco, CA) Cult. It’s central organizer, Cassandra, tested positive for internalizing the values and behaviours that she learned from her cultural heritage in the US of A where her death was always the most secure form of long term stability.
Cassie Thornton's book "The Hologram: Feminist, Peer-to-Peer Health for a Post-Pandemic Future" is out with Pluto Books now.
"The Hologram" was published first in print issue 120, "The New Serenity"