Chris Rogers writer on architecture and visual culture

Fragments of a hologram rose: Re-seeing Blade Runner

“The postcard is a white light reflection hologram of a rose […] Holding it carefully between thumb and forefinger, he lowers the hologram toward the hidden rotating jaws. The unit emits a thin scream as steel teeth slash laminated plastic and the rose is shredded into a thousand fragments […] Parker lies in darkness, recalling the thousand fragments of the hologram rose. A hologram has this quality: recovered and illuminated, each fragment will reveal the whole […] from a different angle”
 
    - Fragments of a Hologram Rose by William Gibson, first published 1977

BR - Esper (new)

This is the original photograph found by Deckard in Leon’s apartment, and is thus the starting point for the first Esper film-within-a-film analysis sequence to be shot for Blade Runner. The exceptionally rich, ‘painterly’ quality of the room setting is obvious even at reduced size and quality

This sequence was never actually used in any version of the film. A new version was subsequently shot with another photograph that is similar but simpler and features a different actor representing Batty. It is this second sequence that appears in all known versions of the Esper scene. So complete was the substitution that scenes of Deckard - not played by Harrison Ford - handling this second photograph and of the Esper machine processing it were made and intercut with the original footage, to ensure the second photograph appeared throughout. Exquisitely, this can only be confirmed by painstaking freeze-frame examination of the Esper scene itself, which reveals that the photograph Ford himself places in his mouth when about to walk over to the couch is the original, shown above, and not that in his hand micro-seconds earlier when 'he' picks it up from the piano (Cinefex)

BR - Esper Vermeer  (ibiblio.org_

This is Jan Vermeer’s The Love Letter, painted around 1669. The degree to which it matches the original Esper photograph above is astonishing, right down to the shoes on the black and white chequered floor (ibiblio.org)

BR - Esper Hoogs #1
BR - Esper Hoogs #2

These photographs were shot directly through the two peepholes of van Hoogstraten’s A Peepshow with Views of the Interior of a Dutch House in the National Gallery in London. Again, the similarity of atmosphere compared to the Esper photograph is notable; note the mirror on the wall and the floor, and the room-within-room effects

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