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The University of Southampton

Southampton artist wins global holographic art competition

Published: 16 December 2008

A holographic artist from the University of Southampton has won an international art competition to have her worked displayed at the MIT Museum in Boston, USA.

Pearl John beat off global competition to have her latest hologram ‘The Good Medicine Cabinet’ appear in the ‘Luminous Windows: Holograms for the 21st Century’ exhibition. The exhibition, which is on show from dusk until 2am throughout the winter, features contemporary, 3-dimensional holographic artworks displayed in the windows of the Museum.


Her work will appear alongside exhibits by five international artists that represent artistic and technical advancements in the field of display holography. Pearl’s holograms and installations have been previously been exhibited in Japan, Europe and throughout the USA.

Pearl, who is the Light Express Coordinator for the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Southampton, comments: “I’m delighted to have had my work chosen for the exhibition at MIT, it’s a great honour. I’ve been working with holograms since I was 15 and some of the artists I’m exhibiting with today were my role models when I started. I’m still passionate about making holograms and hope that I pass on some of my enthusiasm when I work with schools.”

After graduating from the Royal College of Art with an MA in Holography in 1992, Pearl taught holography in the USA for five years and helped develop the curriculum on the world's first dedicated three-year Photonics (laser technology) course aimed at high school students in Columbia, Missouri, USA.

Pearl currently works with local school and college students, inspiring an interest in science and photonics in particular.

She is the co-ordinator for The Light Express Roadshow - a free travelling educational laser light show, which visits schools and colleges across the South of England. The Roadshow features a dazzling laser light display created by powerful lasers not generally seen outside research labs, and a series of fascinating visual demonstrations that explore the physics of light and the science behind the internet.

The show is aimed at GCSE and A-Level students, where it links well with a number of topics in the National Curriculum. Pearl demonstrates some of the breathtaking optical engineering that is striving to keep pace with the demands of contemporary telecommunications. There are a range of hands-on experiments to illustrate the physics of light. The Light Express does around 30 shows a year and visits at least 14 schools in the South.

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