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Ed Atkins and Naheed Raza, recipients of the Jerwood/Film and Video Umbrella Awards, present their ambitious new commissions in CCA Galleries. The Jerwood/Film and Video Umbrella awards are major new awards for moving-image artists.
Atkins and Raza were chosen to participate in a group show at the Jerwood Space, London, in 2012, alongside Emma Hart and Corin Sworn, receiving bursaries for significant new works. During the exhibition, both were selected to receive a £20,000 commission and support from Film and Video Umbrella to develop their ideas into finished works. The results were premiered at the Jerwood Space earlier this year before coming to CCA. The exhibition considers the artists’ own individual projects for the future against the larger theme of ‘futures past’:
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 60s 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.
A series of events will accompany the exhibition at CCA, including a symposium with an invited panel of guests exploring ‘The Future’ on Sat 22 June.