M. Melissa Crenshaw & Sydney Dinsmore

Violence: Choice/What Choice?

In the mid 1980s, Sydney Dinsmore and Melissa Crenshaw collaborated on a series of pulse figurative holograms that evolved into a seven-year artistic collaboration that generated several art works dealing with several themes.

Holographic Embodiment at the HoloCenter on Governors Island
August 31 – October 27, 2019

Violence: Choice/What Choice?, 1989, pseudo-color reflection hologram, 12 x 16”

Violence: Choice/What Choice? is a series that highlighted the repressed memories and the flashbacks that recur in people who have witnessed or been the victims (now called survivors) of violent acts. In the 1980s when this work was conceived and produced, the focus was on sexual assault and domestic violence. The theme was based on the experiences that Crenshaw observed while working as a crisis worker embedded with the Evanston, Illinois (Chicago area) Police Department in the 1970s.

30 years after this hologram was created, one would have hoped that such an image would simply be a sad reminder of a time in the past. Instead, we seem to have devolved into a society where violence has become part of the fabric of everyday life. This is a powerful image, technically executed with precision and great care to fuse the overlapping content. Hopefully, it will cause one to pause and consider that as long as we have such violence in our midst, we have little choice but to manage it emotionally as best we can, with compassion for one another and to work hard to understand why this is happening.

This work was funded in part by a Canada Council Holography Production grant. The two pulse laser master images were created with technical assistance by Fred Unterseher and Rebecca Deem in Germany. The white light, color transfer hologram seen here was produced by the artists at the Global Images Holographic Studio, LLC in Vancouver BC where Melissa Crenshaw was Director.