Cassie Thornton

born 1981, Chicago
lives in Berlin

FRONT 2022 includes a presentation of artist Cassie Thornton’s The Hologram, a viral, feminist, peer-to-peer protocol for healing. In Thornton’s exhibition, visitors are invited to visit the year 2038, where they will look back at the pandemic and how it created the conditions for the birth of The Hologram as a widespread system. When it was first conceived in 2016, The Hologram was meant as parafiction or rumor. Thornton gave talks, workshops, and wrote about The Hologram as if it was already a real system for distributing care, with a specific set of guidelines and practiced by many people around the world.

As a 2020 experiment, Thornton wrote a fictional Wikipedia “entry from the future” in which she imagined looking back on The Hologram project as if it had succeeded as a tool for
peer-to-peer health within a worldwide anti-capitalist social movement. In this article, Thornton tells the story of her dreams: that in just a few years The Hologram enabled widespread health and stability for its growing, decentralized cohort of users, creating the circumstances for the emergence of new grassroots ways of organizing society that do not rely on capitalism, patriarchy, racism, and incarceration.

In real life, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of people have begun to participate in The Hologram. Because the project slowly and steadily grows through the people who use it, the artist believes that it will soon be even more necessary, more widely practiced, and more socially transformative. As a striking example of an artistic speculation that takes root in reality—shifting actual behaviors and structures in the world—Thornton’s project suggests how artists can speak with power, both today and in the future.

National Museum of Psychology at the Cummings Center

Cassie Thornton The Hologram, 2038, Commissioned by FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art with support from The Akron Community Foundation and in partnership with the Drs. Nicholas & Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology at the University of Akron.

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