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Hartwig Art Foundation and Holland Festival present

The worm

Ed Atkins


A phone call between the artist and his mother, rendered in a computer-generated 3D animation. The two are physically separated from each other but at the same time come uncomfortably close together.

In The worm, visual artist Ed Atkins presents a telephone call with his mother. She is heard but not seen, while Atkins is rendered as a digital avatar who listens attentively and occasionally mumbles in agreement, sympathy or surprise, asking a question only when her narrative falters. The mother sounds close but is physically far away. We see extreme close-ups, odd angles, abrupt cuts, awkward gestures and involuntary tics of the son’s 3D model.

‘The way she (Atkins’ mother, ed.) talks about her mother, Nanny Bea, is how I could talk about my mother, thwarted artists, manic depressives, chronic dysmorphics through and through. All of which is hereditary poison. This “empathy mirroring” was arduous for both parties, a self-conscious performance, but it was also “love”’.

— Ed Atkins

Ed Atkins
The worm
video projection with sound, loop
12 minutes, 40 seconds
Collection Hartwig Art Foundation. Promised gift to the Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed / Rijkscollectie


June 1 - July 1: 14:00-20:00


  • free entry € 0


  • English surtitles: Dutch

  • 13 minutes

  • Ed Atkins, artist

    © Steven Zultanski

  • © Ed Atkins

  • © Ed Atkins

  • © Ed Atkins

  • © Ed Atkins


concept Ed Atkins

This performance is made possible by