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OPENINGS: ED ATKINS

Ed Atkins, Paris Green, 2009, stills from a color HD video, 7 minutes 37 seconds.

ONE WAY OF UNDERSTANDING high-definition digital video is via statistics: If the pixels-per-image count is anywhere above 920,000, it’s high-def. But a more nuanced characterization, and one less likely to be repurposed for advertising copy, appears in Ed Atkins’s unpublished 2011 text “Some Notes on High Definition with Apologies to M. Blanchot.” “High Definition (HD) has surpassed what we tamely imagined to be the zenith of representational affectivity within the moving image,” the twenty-nine-year-old London-based artist writes, “presenting us with lucid, liquid images that are at once both preposterously life-like and utterly dead.” If this sounds contradictory, it isn’t. Consider, as Atkins proceeds to do, how HD vividly renders the pores, wrinkles, and blemishes of Johnny Depp’s face in Michael Mann’s John Dillinger biopic Public Enemies (2009), and you may find that the

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