Tomorrow Never Knows @ CCA

Review by Andrew Cattanach | 22 Jul 2013
  • Ed Atkins

Tomorrow Never Knows at CCA brings to Glasgow the work of two artists commissioned by the Jerwood/Film and Video Umbrella Award. Ed Atkins and Naheed Raza received the accolade last year, giving them an opportunity to make new work with the support of the awarding bodies.

The three works on display, two by Atkins and one by Raza, are exceptional. All of them display a near peerless use of the medium. One could go as far as suggest the exhibition contains two of the finest works of video art you’re likely see any time soon - the work of Ed Atkins.

Raza’s documentary, Frozen in Time, takes a look at the cryogenics industry, interviewing scientists and patients who believe that if one has their dead body frozen, future generations may have the technology to bring them back to life. The video is a fascinating portrait of these - more coherent than one might have anticipated – idividuals. Largely, the patients are resigned to the limited possibility that we will ever manage to defy death, but think it’s worth a shot.

The work of Ed Atkins is a tour de force. He uses a mixture of live action video, found footage and graphics to create strange dream worlds and dystopias. In Warm, Warm, Warm Spring Mouths a longhaired man sits alone listening to music through headphones. Over and over he directly addresses the viewer, reciting the same lines of poetry. “The weathers they lived in,” he says sadly, recalling what friends have told him of the past. “Christ, the sun on those Saturdays.”

Likewise, Material Witness or A Liquid Cop – also by Atkins – is a non-linear narrative told in voiceover. The stories are compelling and the visuals are dark and otherworldly. With a playful use of digital effects and exceptional audio, this is indeed the art of the future. [Andrew Cattanach]