Jerwood FVU

Tomorrow Never Knows 2013

7 June – 20 July 2013
CCA, Glasgow

Ed Atkins and Naheed Raza showcased their ambitious new commissions at CCA, Glasgow. Their works were the culmination of the first  edition of the Jerwood/FVU Awards.

Naheed Raza’s commission continues her exploration of the phenomenon of cryonics. This technologically-assisted attempt to extend the span of human life still has its acolytes around the world but also seems strangely dated, like the product of Sixties science-fiction. Raza’s large-scale projection work, filmed at different institutes in the United States, delves deeper into our complex and often ambiguous relationship with death, contrasting individuals’ belief in scientific progress with the age-old fantasy of overcoming nature's ultimate limit.

If cryonics seeks to preserve the body indefinitely, contemporary computer imaging seeks to render it in ever more life-like ways. Although modern motion-capture techniques can seem either cold and clinical, or alien and uncanny, Ed Atkins’ work evokes that spark of vitality and individuality that is often to be found in visceral actions or inadvertent gestures. Where the subjects of Raza’s video are stored, in suspended animation, at sub-zero temperatures, Atkins sets his piece at the bottom of the ocean, as if implying both the murky, latent presence of the unconscious and the way it threatens to surface at any moment.

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