We want to shed light on Norwegian and international artists experience the current state of exception we all are in. The British artist Ed Atkins has answered our questions in this e-mail interview from March 30, 2020.
Are you currently in Copenhagen? Can you say something about how the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting your daily life?
I am in Copenhagen. We’re fortunate in so many ways. The big things are childcare and job loss for us, personally. Psychologically –– similarly to plenty of people, no doubt –– it’s been paralysing. The idea of being ‘productive’ right now, creatively speaking, feels almost impossible. The interminability of it, the lack of a clear horizon, is hobbling.
How is your work affected? This is a big question, but do you think this experience will change the way you think about working in the future?
Work is directly affected inasmuch as shows are postponed, production involving anyone other than me is impossible. Who's to say how this will change things in the future; the future itself feels so nebulous as to be incapable of holding any speculation.
In the context of the virus, how do you view the mood ofyour video work Death Mask 5?
Ha. Well, I think the mood throughout all my work –– which is more or less concisely represented in Death Mask 5 –– feels salient. But that’s kind of easy. The paranoiac and melancholic stuff is an easy ‘win’ right now. I do, however, think that the persistent purgatorial space of lots of the work is pretty acute right now. So much of the video work lurks in an afterwards like reality right now. Things continue interminably, uncertain of what’s to come and what’s lost. Repetition, limbo, horror, gallows humour, intimacy.