Technology 3 min read

French Presidential Candidate Attends Rally as Hologram

AePatt Journey /

AePatt Journey /

At the same time that Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a candidate to the 2017 French presidential election, physically attended his meeting in Lyon, his hologram did the same in Paris, 280 miles away. This is an unprecedented act in politics that could save time, money and streamline political campaigns.

In the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections, each candidate spent hundreds of millions of dollars, yet still, some voters were not able to interact with their candidate on the campaign trail. Maybe holograms could solve that problem.

Jean-Luc #Melenchon sent his #hologram to attend a political rally.Click To Tweet

Holographic Ubiquity for Politicians

Sunday, February 5th, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leader of “Unsubmissive France” and French presidential election candidate, projected himself with a snap of a finger in Aubervilliers, near Paris, 280 miles away from Lyon where he was actually speaking.

Mélenchon began his meeting in the flesh before 12,000 people in Lyon. Then, in front of thunderous applause, his holographic double appeared, moving smoothly on stage, before the unbelieving eyes of 6,000 supporters. Coachella would be proud.

Despite a muffled voice, the far-left presidential candidate spoke for an hour and a half without a glitch, with “the new frontiers of humanity” being the theme of the meeting.

This is not the first time holograms were used in politics. In 2014, Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and current Indian PM Narendra Modi both delivered speeches at political rallies using holograms. However, these were recorded projections from studios. Mélenchon’s double meeting is a first because it was an almost real-time satellite retransmission (a 2 second delay is all that separated the rallies).

Technically, this is not a real hologram, but a 2D image projected to create the illusion of 3D. Jean-Luc Mélenchon was filmed by cameras in Lyon; then his image was projected on a film stretched over the stage, creating a 3D illusion.

Real 3D holograms, where we get to see the characters from all angles, are not yet mastered.

Political Hologram Could Actually Help

The Indian holographic meetings used the Eyeliner, a patented 3D holographic technology of the company Musion. You may recognize the system from the resurrection of Tupac Shakur on stage or Mariah Carey’s holographic performance in five different cities at once.

Mélenchon, a fan of new technologies, said in his meeting that a new continent has emerged: the digital continent. Compared to a simple retransmission via screens in other rooms, holograms, in addition to touching more people, adds a dimension of interactivity, and the feeling of being really there.

When we know that Hilary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s campaigns together raised then spent more than $2.3 billion USD, the implementation of digital technologies offer affordable tools to curb spending.

It frees politicians from the rigid constraint of traditional politics. They can campaign in many places without risking safety, fatigue, or overspending.

Edgy Labs Readers: Is this just a slippery slope where ultimately the Wizard of Oz will rule the world from behind a curtain? What other problems do you see arising with this technology?

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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