Hologram by artist and poet Miguel Cullen

Hologram is a pioneering ‘video-book’ which revolutionizes the format of literary works. It comes with a charging socket and an embedded light-weight video module in the inside cover, which plays four video-poems out of a creatively decorated screen.

With the inclusion of videos in his poetry collection, British Argentinean writer Miguel Cullen furthers the possibilities of the book as an object, moving away from his father’s books that populated his childhood. More recently, Cullen’s poetry explores occluded, unsafe, sometimes sexual nuances, examining the dual meaning of vulgarity and vulnerability. He draws on themes of intimacy, sexuality, Latinx/Black cultures and then contrasts these images against a backdrop of the Western visual arts, particularly the Old Masters.

The videos were created in collaboration with internationally acclaimed artists, including Scottish photographer and filmmaker Ivar Wigan, who has worked with the likes of Louis Vuitton, and Supreme, and award-winning Argentine video-artist Agustina Comedi, whose films Silence is a Falling Body and Playback were described by Nan Goldin as her “favourite ever films.”

Cullen’s poems in Hologram feature celebrities, mythological characters and historical figures – from Frida Kahlo to Timothée Chalamet. Much of the first part of the book (“Guest List”) deals with themes such as sexuality, class and celebrity, but leavened with playfulness and an exploration of the moving image, collages and colours.

In his Maradona poems, Cullen fleshes out his fascination with the famous sportsman and fellow Argentine. He defies the reader’s expectations by platforming an LGBTQ+ perspective, seeing the footballer from the eyes of a gay person, “like a flamingo”, “thighs quivering”, “I take a pitada from his cigarette”, “the smell of butchers, uncured leather, come from my botines.”

“Stragglers”, the second section of Hologram, traces themes of addiction and mental health in teetering, long-line poems that beautifully copy, mimic and act the supposed “delusions of mental illness”. In a unique take on mindfulness, Cullen “rummages” at the tap root of the subconscious, in a search for the instinctual, which can bring up ready-made dream-tableaux and strange, underground life.

An original, current, artistic and innovative must-have item which pushes boundaries of the medium.