National Museum of Psychology at Cummings Center

How does a worldwide pandemic during an environmental emergency shift not only our psychology, but also the tools to help us heal?

On view through May 27, 2023:
Cassie Thornton: The Hologram

Visiting Hours:
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday: 11:00am–4:00pm
Wednesday: 1:00pm–8:00pm

The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology at The University of Akron is home to the National Museum of Psychology. The Museum features permanent and rotating exhibits on the history of psychology as a profession, a science, and an agent of social change. During FRONT 2022 it will play host to The Hologram, a viral, feminist peer-to-peer protocol for healing by artist Cassie Thornton.

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, 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 allowed 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.

Cassie Thornton, The Hologram, 2038. Transformative time travel in an immersive installation. Multiple dimensions. 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. © Cassie Thornton. Photography by Field Studio.

FRONT exhibitions in Akron are presented by Richard and Alita Rogers, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, GAR Foundation, and the Akron Community Foundation.

73 S College St
OH 44325
National Museum of Psychology at Cummings Center