Atkins subverts and exploits the conventions of high-definition moving image and text. Referred to as “part musical, part horror, and part melodrama,”. For Atkins, virtual space is liberating; “you can treat it as a surrogate world – a fantasy, or a hell, or more likely a purgatory”.
The protagonist in his film Ribbons is a white male avatar called Dave, who moans, monologues, sings, smokes and drinks profusely. Dave is often referred to as an avatar, Atkins calls him a surrogate. In contradiction with his hyperreal resemblance, he sits there in place of a human body. His digital self reflects how with online communication we can be present remotely; the body is no longer the bastion of authenticity, our identities now constructed from information.
Both compelling and repulsive, with all the compulsion of a sweet love song, Dave does not so much tell us how he feels but rather goes through the motions, hopelessly performing the act of emotional outpouring on repeat.