Ribbons is a video piece installed across three rooms of the gallery. A solitary, nude male figure demands empathetic connection by singing and addressing us directly. In his attempts to connect, he sings Randy Newman’s I Think It’s Going to Rain Today, Henry Purcell’s 17th century drinking round, ‘Tis Women Makes Us Love and an aria from Bach’s St Matthew Passion. According to the artist, the emotional sincerity of the songs is at distinct odds with the character’s intractable artifice.
Ed Atkins reflects on technologies that seek to achieve realism and a human connection. He sees this piece as illustrating the disconnect that occurs when the desired bond is not achieved: true intimacy perhaps remains an irreplaceable fundament of communication and identification. The figure is animated by the movements and voice of the artist himself, using motion capture technologies.