Ed Atkins

Ed Atkins
Born 1982 (age 3334)
Nationality British
Central Saint Martins, B.A.
Slade School of Fine Art, M.A.
Notable work Us Dead Talk Love (2012)
Style High Definition video and text

Ed Atkins (1982) is a London, UK based artist best known for his video art and poetry. Atkins lectures at Goldsmiths College in London[1] and has been referred to as "one of the great artists of our time" by the Swiss curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist.[2]

Early life and education

Atkins was raised in a small village outside Oxford. His mother was an art teacher at a public school and his father was a graphic artist.[2] He earned his bachelors degree from Central Saint Martins and later graduated from The Slade School with a masters degree in Fine Art.[1]


Through a practice that involves layering apostrophic text[3] with high definition video, Ed Atkins makes work in which "The suck and the bloom of death and decay are channeled through technological tools at the height of contemporary image management".[3] Atkins' video oeuvre is composed largely of stock footage[4] and CGI avatars that are animated using motion capture[5] and dramatic, commercial sound.[6] Many of these videos feature a computer generated avatar as an isolated protagonist, whose poetic soliloquies intimately address the viewer. This protagonist, often surrounded by generic stock images[7] and cinematic special effects, has been noted as capable of procuring the uncanny valley effect.[8] In Us Dead Talk Love (2012), a 37 minute two-channel video work, the avatar speaks on finding an eyelash under their foreskin, a confession that sparks "a meditation on authenticity, self-representation, and the possibility for love".[9]

Atkins consciously produces the majority of his work on a computer.[4] From this laptop-based process and the works' foregrounding of video technology, he is known for his probing of the material structure of digital video. Often citing structural film artists such as Hollis Frampton as an influence, it is apparent that Atkins is interested in the technological possibilities of new media.[1] A prolific writer, Atkins' video works are often derived from writing.[10]

Atkins has had solo exhibitions at the Tate Britain, the Chisenhale Gallery, MoMA PS1, the Serpentine Gallery, Palais de Tokyo, and Kunsthalle Zürich. At the Serpentine Memory Marathon in 2012 he premiered DEPRESSION, a performance work that uses projection, digitally altered voice, and chroma key mask to simulate the cinematic techniques of his videos.[11] In conjunction with the Serpentine Extinction Marathon of 2014, Atkins produced www.8007274, a domain that invites users to sign up for a one-sided decade long email correspondence.[12]

Further reading


  1. 1 2 3 Bianconi, Giampaolo. "Artist Profile: Ed Atkins", Rhizome, 21 January 2013. Retrieved on 29 April 2015.
  2. 1 2 Andrew Russeth (May 20, 2016). "An Artist Who Explores the Deep Creepiness of Facial-Recognition Technology". The New Yorker. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
  3. 1 2 Luna, Joe. "Against Immortality as Such", JRP-Ringier, Zurich, 2014, p. 9-10.
  4. 1 2 Biesenbach, Klaus. "An Intimately, Duplicitously Reflexive Experience", Flash Art, November–December 2013. Retrieved on 29 April 2015.
  5. Ed Atkins Interview for British British Polish Polish exhibition at Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Retrieved on 29 April 2015.
  6. e-flux announcement for Atkins/Naumann exhibition at Kunsthalle Mainz
  7. Ed Atkins Q&A by Richard Whitby, Map Magazine, July 2011. Retrieved on 29 April 2015.
  8. Bell, Kirsty. "Ed Atkins’s “Warm, Warm, Warm Spring Mouths”", art-agenda, 1 April 2013. Retrieved on 29 April 2015.
  9. Gartenfeld, Alex. "Ed Atkins", Interview Magazine, October 2012. Retrieved on 29 April 2015.
  10. Hans Ulrich Obrist and Ed Atkins, "Ed Atkins; Interview by Hans Ulrich Obrist", Kaleidoscope, 24 February 2013. Retrieved on 29 April 2015.
  11. Ed Atkins solo show press release - Serpentine Galleries, June - August 2014. Retrieved on 30 April 2015.
  12. The Space - Serpentine Extinction Marathon, Retrieved on 30 April 2015.
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