Hyperreal poetry from Ed Atkins

Ed Atkins' dreamy and melancholic work 'A Primer for Cadavers' explores complex and challenging conditions of an incorporeal world. Inspiring the exhibition theme, his abstract musings and elegiac strains navigate the experience of living in hyperreality, with all its inhumanity, superficiality and discomforting artificiality.


"[T]he shed skin of the word has drifted up to form a lens over your eyes. Your ears are clogged with same – ambient sound is translated, filtered. Compressed, chorused, distorted, bit-crushed, reverted etc. – The euphoric acoustics of a CATHEDRAL OF THE FUTURE. And everything looks way too sharp, too crisp, too juicy. A lucidity to the visual world that was not there before – everything is now too close, too vivid, as if pressed onto your eye – as if circumventing the whole eye thing and lunging straight at the brain, groping and pummelling its surface with unmediated bluntness. Everything is gratuitously PRESENT. Sound describes itself excessively – too many adjectives, superlatives – a thesaurus superabundance of descriptions, analogues – all the while oscillating wildly between gut-wrenching sub-bass and piercing treble. Parenthetical confusion! Grammatical and syntactical confusion also! – What the fuck to do with a semi-colon? In the sensory confusion none of this matters, and the response is simply to use everything with impunity, fearlessly, expressively! Saturation is the mode, YOU BASTARD!




You left the freezer door ajar. A careless act that forces the freezer to attempt the impossible feat of freezing the entire universe. A cosmic ice age ensues. The subsequent defrosting – the bleeding out ( I discovered this on the kitchen floor when I got back at about seven, seven-thirty) – a symptom of the physical failure of the freezer in its task. Nausea and vomiting brought about by exhaustion. I close the door and mop up the accident.





At night I dream of Pluto, the dejected ex-planet. A sphere of ice, four billion miles away from the bedroom."

(Atkins E., A primer for Cadavers, Fitzcarraldo Editions 2016)